I peeked my head out into the hallway, my limbs burning as though they were filled with liquid nitro, and stepped out into the conflict taking place. I saw a woman, about 25 years old, run past me screaming, and she was being followed by two men in black. This is it...I'm officially a part of this thing. Might as well give it my all. I felt my body jump forward and roll down between them, only to hop back up and grab one by the throat. I smashed him hard against the wall while my legs sprung up to tightly wrap my ankles around the other man's neck! My upper body fell down to the ground, and with twist of my hips, my legs still firmly locked, I brought the second soldier spinning to the floor with me. The first tried striking out at me, but my arms blocked every blow, not letting a single punch through. The second I sensed an opening, my fist shot out and connected hard with his ribcage, knocking the wind out of him as he soared backwards to slide across the floor. I spun around to take on the other one, and with a few skillful kicks, I sent him flying backwards towards the wall. It was then that I noticed a smaller figure in the distance...watching me. The halls were dusty with the scuffling of fighters from both sides, and this granulated fog had just begun to settle around me. But as my vision became clear, I saw Dash...standing on the other side of the room. His eyes met mine, and I knew that I was caught red handed. He knew, and there was no more hiding my abilities at this point. I suppose it's something that I'm just gonna have to explain later.

I suddenly felt a hand on my shoulder, gripping me tightly to pull me backwards. My shoulders acted on their own, circling around to free themselves from his hold. Then I was able to grab a hold of his arm, and spin into him to deliver a high kick to his face from over my shoulder! I looked around to make sure that there wasn't anyone else around me, and that's when I saw Dash nod approvingly in my direction. A smile broke out on his face, and he dodged back into the wall, disappearing to rescue more of his precious kids from the battle inside. I moved around the corner, following the long hall to see if I could help out some more. As much fighting as I had done before, I had never felt my senses pulse with such a desperate urgency. It was like they wanted to rip someone's head off, ITCHING to do some damage. It was something that I was going to have to consciously tone down if I wanted to keep from killing anybody. Because the way I feel right now...I'd rip them apart!

Moving swiftly down the hall, I came across another soldier who was grabbing hold of a little boy and using some machine to stab him in the arm with a needle. As though he were taking blood DNA samples or something. Hearing the boy scream was enough to set me off, and I charged ahead! My first punch almost dislocated his jaw! I grabbed the kid and pushed him off to the side and out of harms way before roundhousing the man to the floor. Two more came emerging out of the cloud of smoke in front of me, their green visors appearing out of the darkness before anything else. The first fought me head on, fiercely swinging at my face and my legs, trying to disable me enough to keep me from fighting. My body could duck, dodge, and jump faster than he could even think about it, and after giving him a swift kick in the nuts...I brought down my elbow hard on his back. I wasn't sure if I had really heard any bones crack, or if it had been my imagination, but I had no time to worry about that now. My body was already on its way to target number two.

I ran down the hall top speed, and noticed the guard pull a PISTOL from his side holster! Vampire or not, the human mind is never ready when it comes to having a gun drawn on you. Especially with this being my first time. I didn't feel like testing my supposedly 'near-invinceable' body on whether or not it could take a gunshot at this range. Still, my body kept running in his direction, even faster in fact. I couldn't STOP! And almost screamed when I saw him take aim for my head!

However, an incredible surprise to us both, my feet left the floor and momentarily stuck to the wall on the side of the hallway! Never once losing my momentum! I felt my legs push out and spring forward, jumping from wall to wall, wall to ceiling, ceiling to floor...in a speedy zig zag as he fired five bullets in my direction! It was happening so quickly that I didn't have time to think about what I was doing! I had never DONE anything like that before, and was able to easily dodge every shot while still racing forward! The guard shouted out as I pounced on him with the full weight of my body, knocking him hard to the floor. He dropped the gun, and I yanked him up to his feet. I pushed him against the wall and bean punching him repeatedly in the chest with my right hand while holding him up with my left. I just kept hitting him, again and again and again. My instincts tapping into my emotions and filling up with more and more rage by the second. "...Draw a fucking gun on ME????" I shouted, and angrily kicked him to the ground! It was then that my vision went completely red, my eyes had switched over, glowing hot and shining bright enough to almost reflect off of the walls around me. They blazed brightly as I felt my fangs spike down, and the madness took over once again. My most animalistic instincts came bursting out to the surface...there would be no escape from my wrath, not now.

I sprinted down the long corridors now, not even worried about being careful anymore, and fought hard to protect any screaming man, woman, or child that I could find. These soldiers just stepped into the WRONG fucking church!

Dash did his best to warp in and out of the walls as quickly as he could. Even in a roomful of kids, he could snatch them into the walls two at a time, and be gone before the soldiers could catch a good glimpse of him. He moved strategically, never in the same place twice, playing a chess game that they couldn't keep up with. It was ingenious. I almost took a hit watching him. A soldier kicked out at me, and actually hit me square in the stomach, knocking me to the ground. I held my abdomen in pain, trying to catch my breath. "Is it THIS one???" He shouted out to his 'captain'. "Is this the target???" Target? Me? Is he talking about me?

The captain looked over at me, adjusting his visor to see more closely. But before he got a fix on me, Twilight burst into the room and flew towards him with fighting sticks in motion! She struck him hard enough to shatter his visor completely, causing the glowing green lens to go black instantly. Taking the cue from her distraction, I put my palms down on the floor, and flipped over to kick out at the man in front of me. Then swung my leg around to knock him off of his feet. I stood up just in time to see seven or eight more soldiers flood the room. Something tells me that I miscounted them at fifteen to twenty men. I must have burned through at least half that many myself..and they just keep coming.

"Move! Move!" They yelled at each other. "THERE! Take 'em down!"

Both Twilight and I jumped forwards at the same time, and took the soldiers head on, fists swinging wildly. I grabbed one guy by the arm and twisted it back and forth, keeping him in front of me while the others tried to strike at me. By the time I had let him go, he didn't even know which way to fall. Twilight dived right into the middle of the platoon and began taking them all on from the inside. She was fearless, a blur of forceful motion, hitting them two at a time. Meanwhile, I worked on the outside of the circle, watching them fall one by one as I picked up any spare ones that wanted to keep moving. They didn't stand a chance against both of us. No way in hell.

My body was getting stronger, my reflexes were getting faster. With all of the moves that Comicality had taught me, I had absorbed a lot more. It made me wonder if I could have gotten that 'wall jumping' thing from that brief run in with Cato earlier that evening. Could I have adopted it that fast? It seemed impossible. What's worse, these men were coming at me with such an agitated assault, and I was absorbing that too. They fought like assassins. Swift, cold, effective. The more I knuckled up with them, the more aggressive my own style got. They just kept feeding me wih a more dangerus set of moves. If anything, they were making me even deadlier than I was before.

I could feel myself breaking arms, legs, dislocating joints, delivering blows hard enough to almost kill a man with the impact. There was no controlling it, no dulling the sharp blade of it. My techniques were going to put an end to their struggle by any means neccessary. That became clear to me when I felt my leg swing down and brutally snap one of the soldier's ankles. His foot was laying on the floor sideways, the joint broken to the point where shards of bone were poking out through his skin. And I didn't feel sorry. My eyes burned even brighter, in fact. When the next man swung at me, I cartwheeled out of the way and wiggled my way around one of his teammates. Then....without a thought...I tilted his head back and took a huge disgusting bite out of his shoulder! I could feel my teeth sink into the nape of his neck and scrape the collarbone underneath as a gush of blood splashed up onto my face. An unnatural scream left his lungs, and I kicked him in the back, sending him flying forward into two of his friends. A wicked grin curled up on my lips as he twitched and squirmed on the ground from my bite. I could feel the warm blood on my lips, and lustfully licked it away with a slow swipe of my tongue. The taste of it covered the roof of my mouth as I stared hungrily at the sacks of meat in front of me. It was taking hold of me again, I could hear those imaginary tribal drums in the distance....bring it down a few levels, Justin. Don't let the animal in you get too much free reign over you.

Twilight took a few hits, and even though she was still going blow for blow with the best of them, she needed my help. I jumped into the fray alongside her, and the both of us began whipping up a cloud of dust from moving so fast. A kick...and one man fell. An elbow to the face...and another one fell. A clothesline sent a third to the ground on his back. The fighting got even more heated as three more men entered the room, concentrating their attack on taking us out. And the both of us wet wild. We were NOT going down! Not today!

My body spun and twisted so violently, dodging and striking at the same time, that it got away from me for a moment. I jumped up with a spin kick and Twilight barely ducked just in time to avoid getting hit. My arm instinctively swung around towards her head, and thankfully she caught it. "WATCH IT, kid!"

I shrugged my shoulders, realizing my mistake. "Sorry..."

But the moment was short lived as they closed in on us again. Twilight began hitting them in the back of the knees, attempting to keep them from being able to stand or press forward. But she was beginning to feel fatigued, her arms becoming weary and numb. She was human, and she wouldn't be able to keep up at this pace for much longer. My sensitive hearing picked up the sound of a clip being loaded into another gun, and I spotted two men in the corner ready to fire on us. Shit! I jumped out of the center of the battle and found myself standing on the wall again. So I DID absorb something afterall! But my grip wasn't NEARLY as strong as Cato's was, and I was already slipping. I only had a limited amount of time before I fell back to the floor. I had to be fast!

I quickly sprung forward with a push, and felt Jun's extra suddenly turn itself on out of nowhere. His complete focus took out all of the noise in the room, all of the fighting, all of the dust....everyhing. The whole universe seemed to go black in that one endless moment, everything slowed down almost to a complete stop, and nothing else existed except for me...and the guns pointed in my direction as I flew towards them. My mind never felt so free of fear, so confident. In that instant, I had nothing to be scared of.

What seemed like an enternity of focus to me, was only a split second to them. And I was able to grab both of their wrists as I flew past them, forcing their first shots up into the air as I rolled behind them! I DID IT! I saved us! DAMN this is sweet! Then, I jumped up to spin around and kick both of them to the floor simultaneously before they could react! My focus returned to 'reality' just in time to see Twilight bring the last soldier down to his knees before giving him a punch that put him to sleep. She looked over at me, breahing hard, not knowing quite what to make of me. She put her suspicions to rest for the moment though, and just walked back towards the door. "Move your ass. If there's a third wave, they'll be here soon." And she left the room.

"You're welcome..." I mumbled to myself, and hurried out after her.

The shouts and cries of the children in the hallways was considerably less than it was before. But there were still a few left, and we had to follow their worried whimpers in order to find them. That DAMN 'Frog' machine! I could sense certain things up close, but my heightened sensitivity was acting faint, slow, and sluggish under the Frog's mind clouding waves. I couldn't reach out far enough to find them, and had to walk through the halls practically blind. "HELLO?" I shouted out. "HELLOOOOO???"

I heard some muffled cries from one of the rooms at the end of the hall in front of me. It was a long, thin, hall...narrow enough to touch both sides with my arms outstretched. And it was smokier and dustier than the others. It must have stretched out for a good 80 feet with no doorways. Still, there was the echo of children coming from the other end. The very air around me was deadly still as I moved forward...the fighting still raging on in the distance. I walked closer and closer towards the dim light at the other end of the passage, but as I got into the middle the light behind me went out. I turned my head for a moment to look behind me and saw nothing. And yet, when I turned back...I noticed the silhouette of a man standing in the light ahead of me. He was not too much older than me from the looks of it, with long silver hair that hung down to his shoulders. His clothes were loosely fit on him, and he had a small cape draped over his shoulders in stillness. But he was not one of the sanctuary's protectors. And what worried me even more than that....was that he wasn't wearing a visor. He could see in the dark just fine.

He was one of US!

I saw a flash of his eyes as they blazed red, and he started walking towards me down the long corridor to meet me half way. "Why are you here?" I asked him, but he said nothing. He just kept walking. "Is it me you want?" I shouted, but he just kept walking. Getting closer to me with each determined step. "AM I WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR, YOU SON OF A BITCH???" His silence enraged me, and I prepared to dig into him DEEP once he got within striking distance! "WELL, HERE I AM!!! COME GET ME!!!"

I jumped forward at him, both hands reaching out for his throat. But this was no human in a black suit, no soldier with a pistol. Whoever it was, he was trained to effectively deal with people like me. He stopped me in mid air with a forward kick, and sent me soaring backwards in the opposite direction. It was effortless, accurate...an execution reserved for a master. He had begun walking forward towards me again before I had even hit the ground, and I had to get up fast. I attacked again, my arms pushing themselves forward with a fury, frantically looking for an opening. Then another kick landed directly in the center of my chest, and he caught me with a forearm that almost broke my nose! I fell back and the pain of his attack stung for a few moments before I found myself struggling to get back on my feet. This was NOT going well!

I regained my stance, relaxed my shoulders, loosened my limbs, and took a deep breath. My body settled into a whole new focus, and I was ready. The time for holding back was over. I waited for him to make the next move, and this time when he reached out to hit me, I caught his hand in mid punch, and pushed it back at him...almost spraining his wrist. He was caught off guard, but only for a quick moment. He began lashing out one punch after another, and I was blocking and dodging expertly, but couldn't get in a hit of my own. He was too fast, too skilled. And then, even with my mimic ability on full blast, he was able to land a few punches inside my defenses. The hallway was too narrow to really maneuver around him, and I could feel myself getting pushed backwards as his attacks became more aggravated. Finally, I got my opportunity. I saw a quick opening coming up! It was as if my mind reading ability tapped into him and predicted his next few moves a few seconds ahead of time! I didn't know how I did it or how it worked, but I knew that I couldn't let my excitement take away the only chance I had to get out of a severe asswhipping from this guy! I jumped up, and both of my legs kicked forward, connecting with his chest, and knocking him back a third of the way back down the hallway! When my back hit the ground, I jumped right back into my stance and waited for him to get up. I had accomplished one of two things. Either I let him know who was boss around here.......or I had just pissed him off.

From the look in his eyes when he got up, patting the dust off of his cape...I'm thinking I pissed him off. He slowly spread his arms out slightly at his sides, not moving from his position, and closed his eyes. I readied myself, but was visibly nervous. Not knowing what the hell he was up to. I watched him carefully, afraid to move, afraid to speak....and that's when I saw small wisps of smoke rise from his palms. I looked closer, and he seemed to be secreting a heavy dose of sticky liquid from his hands, and it began to slowly drip down to the floor. The liquid sizzled as it hit the concrete below, and it burned little holes in the ground with its acidic nature. I took a small step back from him, and that's when his eyes opened, fixing their gaze directly on me. It was a vampire extra that I wasn't quite ready for. Who would be?

Suddenly, he lifted his arm up, and a long acid web shot out from his hand! It wrapped around my left leg and pulled my feet from under me! As I fell backwards to the floor, I could feel the strand burning right through my pants leg, hungry to eat away at the flesh underneath. I broke free from it just as it started to burn my skin, and I rolled back to get away from him. His other arm raised up and shot out another long web at me, but I rolled to the side to dodge it. It hit the floor next to me, and began to dissolve into the concrete. Fuck! Another strand shot out! And another! And ANOTHER! I got to my feet and was moving from side to side to dodge the attacks. But as the webs began to clog up the tiny space, I was running out of places to move. I had to stop this...and NOW!

I tried charging towards him, his long strings of acid shooting out three at a time, and I had to be careful to stay out of their way. He shot to the right, I dodged left. He shot to the left, I dodged right. If he shot high towards the ceiling, I ducked. If he shot at my legs down by the floor, I jumped. His patterns got more and more complicated as I decreased the space between him and me, and I was surprised that my improvised acrobatics were enough to keep me safe and moving forward at the same time. A few of the drops dripped down onto my shoulders and neck. I could feel the sting of the liquid as it touched me. It hurt a LOT! And that was just a few drippings! I moved faster in his direction. He backed up a bit, crossing his streams into such an elaborate pattern that I couldn't possibly get through. But my feet left the floor and went straight for the wall, soon transferring to the ceiling! My grip on being upside down wouldn't hold though, and I dropped down in front of him. Thank God I didn't slip up before getting past his obstacles.

He delivered three quick punches to my midsection, and I was thrusted back against the wall. I fought back, getting a good chop in at the front of his throat. He recovered much too quickly though and flipped me over his shoulder onto my back. When I hit the ground, my leg shot up and kicked him in the face! Then he spun around and kicked me in the stomach! We traded a few more shots, neither one of us getting the edge. With the exception of Comicality's 'training', I don't think I had ever faced anyone so precise. Even my arms and legs were beginning to tire at this point. I was exerting too much stress on them, I knew it. This was beyond what my muscles were trained for. And even though I was fighting for my very survival...they will begin to tighten up and cramp on me if I keep this up for much longer.

I balanced on one leg, letting my kicks take over while my arms got in a short rest. My abilities brought up memories of 'Sparrow' in the fighting arena, and his swift flurry of kicks were coming in handy against this mysterious stranger. He couldn't possibly block them all, and little by little I was wearing him down. If he blocked one kick, I caught him with another. If he dodged one kick, I caught him with another. And when he was able to figure out the pattern and caught my foot in mid kick...the other foot quickly left the ground and swung over to strike HARD at the side of his head! He went down to the floor, eating dust, the pain of my kick racing through him. What could I say, I was proud of myself. Maybe too proud. His hand came out from under his sleeve, and a large glob of that corrosive substance shot out at my feet. It covered my right shoe, and it started melting instantly. SHIT...I kicked it off of my foot as fast as I could and backed away from him. So much for giving Dash back the pair of shoes he had lent to me.

The man spun up to his feet and sent more webs spiraling past me. I leaned aside to dodge them and began to duke it out with him once again. He kicked me off of him, and then shot out to burn a hole in my shirt. I patted it away with my hand as it began to eat through the material and got some on my hands. God DAMMIT, it burned! I saw him reach his hand out again, and kicked him under his elbow to direct the next shot up above his head to hit the ceiling. It was my only real defense, and I was able to push his arms away everytime he attempted to shoot another web in my direction, deflecting his aim to different parts of the hall before he got the chance to burn me again. It was difficult trying to predict every move, trying to dodge and redirect every shot of his extra...but somehow, I kept up with him. And it was getting slightly easier as I felt pieces of his fightig style being absorbed into me. We fought tooth and nail in that small dark hallway, his hands secreting just enough juice to sting me every time I blocked a punch. But I wouldn't give in. I couldn't. I kept fighting, and he kept right up with me. Waiting for me to inevitably tire out. He kicked me back far enough to get some distance, and started spinning more webs than I could possibly dodge. I flipped backwards, back and back and back...far enough down the hall where the webs couldn't touch me. I could smell the dissolving concrete in the air, hear the sizzle coming from every inch of the hall where his acid strands had landed. I kept flipping back at a dizzying pace, but some of the strands hit their mark and burned me anyway. Even with all of my evasive tactics, he was able to hit me anyway. It hurt like a bitch! And when I stopped flipping backwards, I got into a stance, low to the ground...and my unique extra suddenly started to build up in the front of my mind, ready to fire at will. He want's to play 'special abilities'...we'll play!

My mind took all of my emotions and compiled them, concentrated them, into a blast so strong that it could no longer be held back. That immense hatred, that sadness, that fear, that guilt...every sickening ounce of that emotional POISON...it all circled itself around my head like a dark halo, and the adrenaline rush inside of me forced it forward into a concussive blast with enough power to rattle the walls of the entire sanctuary!!! I screamed outloud, feeling the rush of intensified madness leaving me all at once. The explosive repercussions of holding back everything that I felt, all of my secrets, all of my problems...a life of tragedy and pain released in a focused laser that could not be escaped! The silver haired man was pushed back to the other end of the hall, laying on the ground holding both sides of his head and twitching in intense pain! I feared the walls themselves would crumble from the impact, as they seemed to crack and blister with the force of the blast. I stood up straight, relieved from that explosive release of power, and readied myself for more. I had plenty more tricks where that came from. After regaining his senses, however, the stranger decided not to continue fighting. Instead, he got up and moved back around the corner where he came from. I chased after him down the hall, but when I got to the end...he was gone. As a matter of fact...ALL of them were gone. The soldiers, their vampire assassin, the whole lot. Gone twice as fast as they had dropped down on us in the first place.

"HELLO?" I shouted. "Twilight? Dash?"

"Justin!" Came a voice from right behind me, scaring the living SHIT out of me! It was Dash, and I almost lashed out and hit him on reflex alone!

"Jesus! You startled me!" I told him. But he only grinned in response. We looked around at the slightly damaged, but still strong surroundings of the place. Nothing that couldn't be fixed in a few days time. "I think...I think they're gone."

"I'm not picking up any traces, but we're gonna check all of the rooms just to make sure. Can't be too careful. Whatever it is that the scouts were looking for, either they found it or they didn't. I'm thinking they didn't."

Twilight came from inside one of the walls and was talking into a walkie talkie to her guards. She hardly noticed us, she had business on her mind. "Calculate our losses. See what's missing and what isn't. We're on high alert from here on out, got it?" She turned it off and asked me and Dash, "Are you two alright?"

"I'm fine." Dash replied.

She lightly rubbed at a rather large bruise that she had gotten on the back of her shoulder during the fight. I could see her twitch a little from the pain, but she remained stone faced, ignoring it as much as humanly possible. "They knew that our machines were set to detect vampires in the area. That's why they deployed human soldiers in the first wave to get past our warning signals. But this wasn't a random hostel raid. They were sent here for something." Twilight's gaze turned to fix itself on me. "Or someone..." I looked away, as though that could protect me from her stare. It didn't. It burned through me whether I was looking back at her or not. She had had her suspicions about me from the moment I got there, and with my recent display of special abilities while fighting alongside her...I'm sure that it had only made things worse. Comicality warned me, Tim warned me, they said that I should keep my powers under wraps. They told me I shouldn't let anyone know. That I was going to need protection from the powers that be if it ever got out. I was beginning to wonder if this was the beginning of a much larger problem. Something that even Com himself told me that he'd be unable to help me with.

Twilight walked over to me, her eyes slightly squinted as though it would aid her in analyzing me. "Exactly...what kind of trouble led you to this place, Justin?"

"I'm just here for my friend to get well. That's all..."

"I mean before you brought him here. What reason did you have to come knocking at our door?"

"I...I told you..."

"No. No you didn't." She persisted. "Tim told you about us, is that what you said? He had to have had a reason to offer you possible sanctuary here without there being any kind of sudden emergency. Why did he give you the location of this place..'just in case' something happened?"

I didn't answer, and she didn't back down. To dig myself deeper, even in a secure place like this, might turn out to be a mistake that I wasn't willing to repeat. It seems no matter where I go, or what I do, or what life I lead...there's ALWAYS a secret. Always a torment. Always some reason to keep everyone at arms length. I'm destined to fail at every life I lead, and it's times like this that I wish I wasn't leading one at all.

"Twilight...take a look at this." Dash called from a bit further down the hall. It was the only thing that saved me from her line of questioning. Not that I could ever expect her to forget. She slowly peeled her eyes from me, and looked over in Dash's direction. He was crouched down, rubbing his fingers in the small grooves in the walls and the floor. "A Hunter was here. I can tell." He stood up as Twilight walked over to join him. "There's a corrosive substance covering the walls and floor. And look here..." He pointed to the footprints left on the dusted floor. "This is a military fighting style. This was no scout mission. The Elders sent out an assassin. A particularly nasty one too, from the looks of it. Whoever he was, he was here to take someone out."

"It was a Hunter?" I asked. Hunters are...other vampires?

"Yep, no doubt about it." Dash stood back up on his feet.

Twilight got a signal on her walkie talkie, and received a damage report. Then looked back at me. "We've got 4 dead. Fourteen wounded. No other sanctuaries in the area were hit...just this one. This was a strategic attack, they PLANNED for all this to happen. But they didn't find what they were looking for, evidently."

"So...if he were looking for somebody...that is...if he had found him..." I stopped for a moment before letting the words leave my mouth. "...Then his orders were to 'kill' him?"

"As quickly and efficiently as possible, yes." Twilight answered. "Targets don't get second chances. Hunters kill without explanation, they simply follow orders."

"Actually...this assassin was here for someone, but I don't think it was our friend, Justin here." Dash added. "Did he draw a skiv on you while you were fighting, Justin? A long round silver blade, used to puncture the heart?"

"I...I don't know, everything happened so fast."

Dash looked at me for a moment, then back over to Twilight. "I can't be one hundred percent sure about it, but I don't think our attacker was here for him."

"How do you know?" She asked.

"Because if he had been...Justin would be dead right now." The words echoed inside of my mind, never fully coming into a form of concrete reality unti he said it. Dead. Someone, somewhere...might have wanted me dead. Dash said he didn't think he was there for me, but how could he be sure? Did that mean that he was looking for someone else, and I stopped him from finding him? Or did I just get lucky enough to survive my own demise with the abilities that were given to me? Maybe he WAS after me and I fended him off...for now. I didn't know what to believe. I did know one thing though, if all that mysterious man was doing was trying to get around me without me really being his target...then God help me when I really DO become his target. Or anyone elses for that matter.

Suddenly, all three of us jumped as three teenage kids came loudly crashing through the ceiling and landed on the floor behind us! They fell pretty hard, and were moaning as a ton of dust came falling down on top of them, almost painting them grey. That's when we looked up and saw a small kid, about eight years old, look over and say he was sorry in Spanish. Dash shook his head. "Ok, I've got to get the rest of the residents out of these walls and passages before the youngsters go hitting anymore buttons." He said, and as he passed me, he smiled wide and put a hand on my shoulder. "Thank you." I nodded, and I heard another wall start spinning in the background. "Don't touch the buttons! I'm coming to get you out." Dash walked off to free the rest of the kids, and Twilight merely gave me a satisfied look before walking out to finish her checks on the damage done.

Damage....I might have caused for all of them.

I walked back to my room, hoping that Gyro was still safe. Coming in through the doorway, I noticed that all of the other boys and girls had left...except for Kyra. She sat silently at Gyro's side, holding his hand underneath the blankets. She looked at me from accross the room, her face never using a single muscle to change her expression in her angelic, but deadened, image. Her eyes were surrounded by a thin layer of black, almost looking like make-up, and her lips looked pale and cold. Gyro was still breathing shallow, his body shivering every now and then as a cold sweat ran down his cheeks. But he seemed to be ok.

"Thank you, sweetheart." I said, but she stood up as soon as I spoke, and walked right past me. Out of the room as though her job was done and it was time for my 'shift' to begin. There's really something troubling that girl. Something no one would ever be able to reach until she deemed it time for them to do so. It reminded me of Kid back at the lot, and I wondered if her life, her personal history, was as horrific as his was. Such a young girl to be lost in this world of darkness.

I sat down next to Gyro on the floor, and fixed a small pallete of blankets to sleep at his side for that night. I figured the dawn was about an hour away, maybe less. But somehow, even in his unconscious haze, I was sure Gyro might appreciate the company. I leaned back against the wall, just thinking. Just letting my mind travel over all that has happened. And how much worse it could get. Maybe running away from the lot wasn't enough. Maybe I needed to go further. Were no one could find me. Not even Taryn. If death and destruction of this magnitude is following me everywhere I go...then no one is safe around me. What if he comes back? What if he...hurts my friends?

"You seem troubled." As always, Dash knew to come find me before bed. It was like he always knew.

"Is everybody ok?"

"Everybody is fine, and don't change the subject." Dash told me as he came to sit on the floor next to me. "No matter what it is that's going on, you can't blame yourself for what happened here tonight. The reason this place even exists is because things like this happen. It's not your fault."

"Twilight seems to think so." I said, "Actually...I think I'm beginning to believe it too." The sadness fell over me, and I could feel it creeping into my voice, my posture, my every emotion. It takes over so fast, always faster than I can catch it.

"Justin...I could ask you how someone so young into his crossover could have possibly done what you did for us tonight. I could ask how you were able to defend yourself against a well trained Hunter when there are vampires with ten TIMES your experience who couldn't have done so. I could even ask you why I happened to see 'your' footprints mixed in with the tracks on the wall, as though you were walking on it with little to no effort. A talent reserved mostly for 'Mafia' element. I could...but I won't." He said. "What you did out there may have saved a lot of lives here tonight. Your path is going to be an interesting one indeed over the next few episodes in your life. I'm just grateful that your path happened to cross mine when we needed it most."

"I don't think Twilight would agree with you."

Dash sighed. "Twilight...she has her reasons for being as cautious as she is, Justin. She has been through enough pain in her life to warrant her almost obsessive need to run a tight ship." He shifted over to sit closer to me, until our shoulders were touching. "Years ago, Twilight and her parents came to a sanctuary much like this one to find her sister Amy among the inhabitants there. Amy had been turned into a vampire by a former boyfriend, and he met up with a group of scavengers before he got the chance to teach her much of anything about her new life. Somehow, she wound up there. And her parents came to find her after she had been seen wandering the streets in town after her first feed. I was hiding there myself, and I had just met Hamish, so I was never quite sure what tipped off the soldiers that came looking for Amy that night, or why. What I do know, however, was that it was a slaughter. A complete bloodbath. An army of Hunters swooped down on all of us so fast that we didn't even have time to react, killing anything that stood in their way. It was basically Pearl Harbor without the planes. Hamish and I were safely hidden away under the floorboards of the old place, but many others weren't so lucky. The raid was taking out vampires by the dozen. Such carnage. When I peeked out to see if I could do anything...I saw a little girl crying in the corner. I didn't know what to do, but I HAD to do something. So I ran out for a second, and I grabbed her, pulling her into my safe haven and trying to keep her safe."

"Twilight?" I asked.

"Yes. She was only 9 at the time, but she remembers everything. Every rip, every shred, every bite. Her sister was murdered during the conflict, as were both of her human parents. She screamed uncontrollably, wanting to save her family. But there would be nothing for her to do except to die along with them. She didn't sleep for weeks after that." Dash said. "I took her in, as an adopted daughter of sorts. Taught her as much as I could, and once this sanctuary was built, traveling vampires taught her the rest. That girl pushed herself beyond any limit we could possibly set for her. Always training, always perfecting, always improving. There were times when I thought she might actually kill herself pushing so hard. But this is what she wanted. She wanted to be better than the people that took her life from her, and she swore that she'd be able to defend herself against ANY attacker, no matter how strong they were. No matter how skillful. I think she's gone beyond even HER expectations sometimes." Dash leaned back a bit. "She never asked or wanted to be changed though. She wanted to keep her humanity, and I was more than happy to respect that. So...she got older, stronger, and now here she is. Defending this place to the fullest every single day."

"Keeping it secure from people like me, no doubt." I said, feeling my heart drop.

"Keeping it safe FOR people like you, Justin." Dash wasn't getting through, not tonight. Not with me falling into that pit of self pity where no one else was allowed to intrude. He looked over at me with such concern. Then he leaned over to hug me closely to him. "You're a very special young man, Justin. And that's because of who you are, not what you can do." That said, he stood up and told me to get some rest. He'd have his medics look me over in the morning in case I needed any attention. After that he got up to his feet. "Again, Justin....thank you." He said, and walked out of the room to let me sleep. The dawn was coming fast, and we were both shutting down anyway. There was just enough time to cry myself to sleep that night. Just enough time to wish for something better.

Just enough time to realize that no answers were coming. Not for me. It doesn't necessarily make for a restful slumber.

The next evening I woke up on the floor alone. I sat straight up, wondering what had happened to Gyro, but Dash had left a note on the wall saying that they had taken him to another room to try and purify his system to speed up the process of his recovery. Funny how taking care of him was the first thing on my mind. The second thought, however, was that I hadn't woke up screaming this time. No sweats or shivers or nightmarish images lingering past my eyes. This...'Beast'...hadn't been up to it's usual tricks. It should've made me feel good, but it didn't. I would have loved to have been lost in the idea that I had beaten it during our last encounter. That I could sleep peacefully and never again worry about it coming after me. But somehow, I don't think it was going to be that easy. And whether I was prepared or not...it was definitely going to come back at me. And next time, it'll come full force.

I got up and dusted myself off before walking out into the hallway. With a stretch, I moved a bit forward and joined some of the others in one of the larger community rooms of the sanctuary. I figured that it might be good to stay around other people for a while. If nothing else, it would keep my mind occupied with other things until Taryn came to 'collect' me. Knowing him, he was probably already on his way. People were talking and involved in their own little world, some writing in notebooks, some just keeping to themselves in order to find time to think. There were different reactions to me, however, as I walked through the halls. More eye contact...they knew who I was. I got smiles, pats on the shoulders, even some of the teenage girls looked me up and down as I walked past. Evidently, what I had done last night was no secret. Not by a long shot. Entering the playroom, where Dash had dispensed a healthy dose of candy to the kids each day, I noticed even more heads rise up. Some of them whispering to each other as I entered through the doorway. There were a few of the young ones play fighting in the corner, reenacting the conflict from the night before. It was so cute, watching them tumble and make silly sound effects with their mouths as they put on a play depicting one of the most epic battles of all time. At least to THEM it was. It made me smile to see two of them argue and fight over who gets to be 'me' in their little game. Me...a character in their exciting fantasy. How strange is THAT? I don't think they had any idea of how serious last night's raid was. It seemed blasphemous to tell them. Better it all remained a game in their minds. Such serious things, why plague them with it before they're ready.

Then, I sensed something. A pair of eyes that had fixed themselves on me. A little bit harder than the others had. The sensation caught my attention. Looking over to another side of the room, I noticed someone staring at me from one of the tables. He had brown hair, kinda long, and was maybe a year or two older than me from the looks of it. He started to really stare a hole in me, and when he caught a glimpse of me looking back, he smiled warmly in my direction. As though he had confirmed whatever it was that he was looking for in my eyes. He got up from his table, and walked over to greet me.

"Well, I'll just be damned..." He said as he stood next to me. He reached out a hand and touched my arm, feeling my muscles and just seemingly amazed with how I looked.

"Excuse me?"

"I can't believe it. YOU'RE the 'Justin' everybody has been talking about around here? The champion fighter from last night? You've got to be shitting me!" He laughed, and then gave me a big hug around the shoulders. "I never would have guessed! God DAMN, boy, how are you??? You're looking a HELL of a lot better than the last time I saw you, kid!"

I stepped back a bit, out of his embrace. "You...you know me?" I asked, puzzled.

"Ohhhh....of course. You don't remember me, do you? Nah...I guess you wouldn't. Your mind was too far gone from the thirst to take in details the last time I saw you." He said, and that's when he really did start to look familiar to me. I couldn't remember where I had seen him, but something about his face...I remembered that face. "Try to think back about a month ago. That night in the city? You were hungry, almost starving yourself? I came across you and your blond friend, Trevor, in the street while you were all cramped up and crying from the pain. Remember?"

My mind started to clear a bit, the fog lifting slowly, small details coming back into focus. "You were there that night?" I said, and more of my memory came back.

"I most certainly was. And you were really in bad shape, kiddo. You know, you really shouldn't wait that long to feed. It messes with your head something awful. It's a good thing you had your friend and me there to get you situated."

"It was you..." I said. "You were there. You helped me up to my feet. You and Trevor took me into that 24 hour Kinkos..."

"That's right. I helped you nab your first kill, buddy boy." He grinned when he said it, but the words were more abrasive to me than he could have imagined. Flashes of the whole terror filled evening exploded in the back of my mind like some old horror movie. I relived the whole thing all over again. The thirst, the manager, the images of his life as I attacked him. The scissors, the chase...and ultimately...the last few drops of his essence as I sucked him dry in a dirty old alley. To believe that, until this very moment, I had been able to successfully block that night out of my mind without thinking back to it once...incredible. But it happened...didn't it? It happened. And he knew about it. "I guess you're feeling a hell of a lot better THESE days, huh?" He smiled. "The name's Jarrod. In case you can't recall."

"Hey...hi. Yeah. I'm sorry. It's just....that night wasn't one of my favorite memories."

He slugged me playfully in the shoulder. "Don't go fretting over that. You'll get used to it. Hell, you'll be looking forward to perfecting your technique after the first few times." He was evidently 'used to it' himself from the sounds of it. "Besides, it sounds to me like the good ol' midnight snack did you some good! I hear you're a regular super hero around here after last night."

"They're talking about me?"

"How could they not? You made one heck of an impression with the way you fight. I'm kinda sorry I missed out on it, I wish I could have been here to see you in action." He patted his pockets down, and reached in to pull out a business card. "Listen, I do a little underground radio program on small select frequencies around town. Something for us vampires to get up on what's happening out there on the streets. It's small, but I can't make it too big or regular 'human' radio stations might pick it up by mistake. We can't have that. Still, I DO have regular listeners and I'm sure they'd love to hear a little bit more about how you do what you do. Why don't you stop by sometime?" He offered.

"I don't think so. Actually...I'd appreciate it if you didn't...talk about what happened here last night." I was already exposed, and now people were talking all around the compound...this was getting out of hand. AGAIN. It would spread soon like wild fire, and I'd be in even more trouble than I was before. The more I wanted to keep a lid on everything, the harder it was to contain. Let's face it, I was making a ton of stupid mistakes and I don't know how to get back to just...being that weird kid that lived in life's shadow. Oh how I missed that kid.

"Suit yourself. But if you change your mind, come see me. I'm sure you've got people that are just dying to hear what you've got to say."

"I might be one of them." Came a voice from the doorway. It made my heart weak to see Taryn standing there to greet me with a change of my own clothes and a new pair of sneakers from the trailer. He must have waken up pretty damn early to have gotten here so fast. "You didn't think I was gonna let you stay here without me, did you?" He smiled.

"No, I knew better." I grinned. "It's so good to see you, sweetie."

He was ready for me, freshly showered, his black eye almost non existant except for a slight discoloration on his cheek, and as beautiful as he was the first night that I met him. Maybe even more so. I've never been so in love. "So....you ready?" He asked shyly.

"Yeah...I'm ready." I looked back at Jarrod, and he simply ruffled my hair as he walked away.

"I think I'm gonna be hearng a lot more from you, kid. So you come see me if you change your mind. Ok?" He said. Then he grabbed his backpack from the table and walked out.

"C'mon. Let's go home." Taryn sid, and gave me the sweetest kiss on my cheek as he wrapped an arm around my waist.

Walking out of the room, I bumped into Dash. His pockets filled with candy as always. And seeing the two of us together, made him smile. "I take it you two have some catching up to do? Huh?" Dash said.

"A lot of catching up to do, yes." I giggled. And then I looked down as Dash extended his han in friendship.

"It has been an honor and a pleasure...my friend." He said. I reached out and shook his hand, but he used it to pull me in for a loving hug. "Thank you, Justin. If you ever need us, for ANYTHING...you know where we are." He said.

I hugged him back as his embrace tightened around me. "Thank you for everything Dash. You've been the best."

Then, Dash stepped back slightly, and gave me a serous look before letting go. "Justin....you realize..." He paused, before starting again. "...The path you've chosen, the one laid out for you...it won't be a pleasant one. A majority of our resident psychics here...they have forseen it. In the days to come...you are going to have to be stronger than you ever thought possible. You know this, right?"

"I...um...I had an idea. Yeah." I said, worried how much of this prediction was true.

Dash then reached in his pocket, and pulled out a small thin string necklace, and on the end of it, a cross. "I want you to take this with you, Justin. It belonged to Xairen before he passed away. I'm sure he'd want you to have it."

"Dash. I can't. I don't..."

"This is not about belief, Justin. It's about faith. Just...consider this a reminder of the strength and courage you're going to need to get through the hard times ahead. Ok?" He asked, his eyes pleading. "Take it."

I reached out my hand, accepted the gift. Putting it around my neck. Then I hugged him tightly again. "I'll be back here. I promise you." I said. "You take good care of Gyro. And don't you let him give you any lip when he wakes up. He can be quite a handful."

"Yeah, well...so can I." Dash smiled, and it was the most genuine smile that I had seen from him since I came knocking on that door a few nights ago. It looked like he was really, truly happy. It was all I needed to say goodbye.

The kids followed me and Taryn down the halls as we headed for the front entrance. They were all saying bye and waving at me to give me a proper send off. All except for Kyra, who stared on blankly. If anyone knew what was lying ahead of me...it was her.

We had reached the door, and Twilight stood there to open it for us and send us on our way. Her look was still as military and unfeeling as ever as we approached her, but when I stopped in front of her, it softened slightly. Not MUCH, but slightly. "I suppose you can take it from here?" I said, a playful smirk on my face.

She almost let a smirk appear on her own face, but it didn't quite make it. Instead, she straightened the arch in her back, lifted her head, and gave me a firm handshake. It felt almost like a soldier's salute in its delivery. "You did well. You came here, and you helped us with everything you had to give. I can respect that." She said, and that was it. The look in her eyes told me that she was finished, that this was as 'soft' as she gets...and I took it as a huge compliment.

"Thank you...security officer Twilight." I said with a nod. And, that sid, Taryn and I left the walls of the sanctuary behind. Back out into the night. Back...'home'.

My reception back at the lot was a quiet one. Almost a silent one. But hardly the backlash that I was expecting. Jenna was the first to greet me at the gate, and all she did was give me a hug. Her face was back to being as flawless as ever, and I hope that I hadn't bruised it too badly in my outburst. Jun and Dion were happy to see me rejoin the rest of the group, but didn't say much outside of "Welcome home." Dylan, shy as ever, was pretending not to see me and didn't really make eye contact as I walked passed, but he was happy to see me back anyway. I could feel it. The only thing was, there was no sign of Michael or Trevor. From what Doc told me, they had gone out for a little getaway that evening. Probably wouldn't be home until dawn. Was it relief that I felt? Maybe I was glad to not have to look at them that night. But...Michael was quickly becoming a menace, and they had to be told. They HAD to be.

"Hey fuck face!" Came a shout from the other end of the lot, and as Taryn and I spun around to see who it was...I saw Max start walking my way. I froze, my heart started pumping...geez, I swear he gets bigger every time I look at him. He approached quiety, wiping his oily hands off on an old rag, looking like a strong armed mechanic in a cut off sleeved shirt. I saw Kid peek out from behind one of the trashed cars in the distance to watch, and I got nervous as hell. I braced myself for Max to get his lick back. But when he got close enough to me to strike....he put a hand on my shoulder instead. "Good hit." He said.

My eyes were closed so tightly, my muscles so tense, that it took a second or two to realize that he wasn't going to hit me. I opened one eye first, and then the other, wondering if it was some trick. I half expected him to tear me limb from limb after what I did. "What?"

"Good hit. You got me. End of story." He said. "What the hell are you flinching for? RELAX!" He patted me hard on the shoulder, and then turned to walk away from me. "What's everybody staring at? Mind your business!" His attitude as cranky and abrasive as ever, he walked back over to where Kid was and went back to fiddling with the car. I felt as though I had just used my one 'get out of jail free' card, and was thankful that he didn't rip my throat out. Because that's what I was preparing for. And although they did't say anything, I think everyone else in that lot was preparing for it too.

"I told you, they're ok." Taryn said softly in my ear.

"I think it's just gonna take a few days to stop feeling bad about it." I said. Looking around, realizing that I knew every nook and crany of the old place. It was true. This place really was home. "I suppose that I'm going to be on punishment for quite a long time after this little stunt, aren't I?"

"I don't know. Bryson hasn't said much since you left. To any of us. But....it won't be so bad."

"No, I think it will. I really fucked things up this time. I'm probably gonna end up under 'house arrest' for the next few MONTHS or so before he decides that I'm ready to function outside of the lot again."

Taryn took a hold of my hand. "He just wants what's best for you hon. He understands."

"I know he wants what's best for me Taryn. I know that. But...I'm trying to LEARN things here, and all I get is sheltered and protected and nobody wants to tell me anything. I NEED to know, Taryn. Because I'm confused, and I'm scared, and I just don't understand why he won't let me learn. Why can't Bryson teach me what I need to know without all of this clandestine bullshit."

Bryson's voice came from over my shoulder. "Because having too many questions at once, can lead to easy answers, Justin. And trust me, there are NO easy answers." He walked over to join us, and I instantly expected a lecture. Our father figure was going to give me pure hell for what I had done. I was SURE of it! "There is so much that you need to know, Justin. So much that there is to learn. I know that my methods seem to be putting a stranglehold on your knowledge and need for experience...but your development requires time. And more importantly...wisdom.

"It was an accident, Bryson. I SWEAR to you, it was just a stupid accident..." I pleaded, but he put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed tenderly at it.

"It's not the incident that I'm worried about, Justin. It's what you learned from it, what you take from every triumph and every mistake that you make....THAT'S my concern. The deeper you get into this world, the more careful you're going to have to be with your own personal perspective of reality. The line between being a philosopher and a madman, a vampire and a bloodthirsty savage,are a lot thinner than you would like to believe. The choices you make now may, in fact, determine the rest of your existence. No matter what you build, no matter how incredible it may be, without a stable foundation it is sure to come crashing down around you." He said. "It's my job to see that that foundation is built strong. Because....some mistakes can't be taken back. Do you understand?" I nodded, and he came close to give me a hug. "Good."

"So...does this mean that I can't leave the lot anymore?" I asked, both me and Taryn wondering what kind of ordeal he was going to put me through before I had learned my lesson.

"Most definitely. I don't want to see you step a single foot out of this lot until I say otherwise." He said sternly. But before my face could drop completely, he added, "Because you've got some training to do."

Taryn and I both looked up at him at the same time. Bewildered, Taryn asked, "Training? Really?"

"Sigh...Justin's abilities are already in motion. His extra has already presented itself numerous times..." Bryson then looked me warmly in the eye, "And he's shown a great consideration for his friends. It would be wrong to restrict his growth at this point."

"Are...are you saying...that I can learn extras and everything now???" I said, excitement jumping up into my throat and shining brightly out of my eyes.

"A LITTLE bit at the time...yes." He aggreed, still trying to control my excitement. "As of tomorrow...I'll make it official. Ok?"

I didn't know what to DO! I didn't know what to SAY! Oh my GOD...this was it! The end of me being a toddler as far as teaching me was concerned. No more chasers, no more lock downs, no more anything! Finally, he was going to teach me to be as independent as I wanted to be! I rushed Bryson and hugged him tight around the waist! "THANK YOU!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I shouted.

"Hey now! Don't get carried away! It's going to be a lot of hard work, and focus, and I'll be giving you books to study from EVERY night so you can..."

"He's gonna TRAIN me Taryn! I'm finally gonna be one of you guys!" I said, kissing him again and again on the lips, not even paying attention to Bryson's attempt to downplay the moment. I think he gave up.

"Sighhh...kids." He said, and turned to leave Taryn and I to truly 'catch up' on our date. This time...it was going to go as smoothly as we had planned it to. Once we got into the trailer, we didn't come back out. It was a sexual interlude that we had been craving for almost a week now, and nothing was going to interrupt us this time. The taste, the feel, the scent, the sight, the sounds of his boyish whimpers, they danced throughout that abandoned lot for the rest of the night. And when we were done, we only had a few moments of talking and smiling before we were at it again. The good thing about being a teenager forever....three times in a row is no big feat for us. And it never will be. Hehehehe, but that's another story altogether.

We bonded again, reminding our spirits just how special we really were to one another, and reconnected with a passion that vowed to never be broken again. Not ever. Hours later, as the dawn crept over the horizon, and Taryn wrapped his naked body around mine to hold me tght throughout the approaching day...my mind began to wander. For even in pleasant times like these, when everything seems so right, so real...I knew that my life was never one of bliss. There were problems lying ahead. Dash told me so. Kyra told me so. Tim told me so. Comicality told me so. It was as if I could see the dark clouds rolling in. Every so slowly. They were getting closer and closer, every single day. There was nothing I could do to stop it.

The Beast was still out there somewhere....lurking. And even though I had dodged them tonight, I heard both Trevor and Michael return to the lot late that night. Once Michael realized that I was home, that Gyro would soon return...he'd try harder to get rid of us. Our absence was the only insurence he had on keeping all of Trevor's attention for himself. There's no telling what he might do next.

Dash spoke of hard times ahead...and I wondered exactly how hard those times were going to be. What they meant. How they would affect me in the long run. I couldn't be sure. But I did know this...

I was ready...


- Monday -

It's time. This vault of mine has been locked and sealed for far too long. So long that I had almost lost the key to uncovering the many secrets that I had locked inside. I didn't want Justin to know. I couldn't tell him for fear that he'd...see me differently. Think of me as just another boy, with the same evils and hang ups and psychosis as anyone else on the planet. I just...I figured that if I could JUST keep that part of myself secret, if I could JUST stay quiet and keep some mystery about who I am...then he couldn't find all of the dirty things there are to not like about me. He couldn't find those many reasons there are inside to hate me. But...I guess that things are working out like I planned.

Justin has his secrets too, secrets he doesn't feel comfortable telling me. Secretes that I need to know. And for me to even have the audacity to ask...I suppose that I'm going to have to offer up some of my own. In doing that...I remembered how hard it was. Showing your imperfections to the one you love can be a frightening experience. I only hope that I can work up the courage to do it before it's too late.

I've noticed a change in his confidence, despite his hesitation to shareit with the rest of us. He's different somehow. While going to retrieve Gyro from a rather sinister situation, he seemed to jump into an entirely different mode. He can fight EXTREMELY well for a newblood. Extremely well for ANYBODY! And there's no real explanation as to why. Not even Dion will tell me what's going on anymore. I saw Justin fight last night after the fire escape collapsed. He doesn't thik I saw, but I did. Whatever it is that is possessing him, it has him just as baffled as it has me, and I don't know how to help him. I just wish to God he'd let me help him.

In the meantime...I'm searching my soul for ways to tell him about me. About who I am, and who I was. About my stepfather, and the sickening way he used to touch me. About leaving my mother and Alec behind the way I did. And...the reason as to why I'd know the exact location of a 'spice shack' flophouse on the south side of town. I was different then, dealing with a brand new world that I had no business in. I acted on the one impulse that I hesitated the most with...and regretted it more than he'll ever know. I pray that my need for him, my undying love for him, my obsession with finding a soul to match my own...didn't somehow force him to make a decision that I once felt so bad about. A decision that, even now, I sometimes wish I could take back.

Times will get harder, and whether Justin has felt yet or not...he'll be getting hungry again soon. They say that the first kill is the hardest, but it isn't. It's the realization that this is going to be your routine for the rest of eternity that makes it hard. He'll have to go through that pain again soon. We all will. I only hpe that my love and guidance can help to ease the pain.

If only for a little while.

Either way, my boyfriend is back in my arms. And we are prepared to face whatever it is that is coming our way. I won't leave him. I'd die for him.

I'd die for him....

I want to thank you all so much for being patient with me on this chapter. For all of you who had to suffer through the entire month of October as I posted small pieces of it on the website, bit by bit up through Halloween, and had to wait for it to be re-written time and time again. I thank you for your input and your feedback on this chapter and all the others. Thank you. It's your encouragement that inspires me to make each chapter considerably better than the last, and I will do my best to never let you down. Ok? If it weren't for your emails and guestbook sgnatures and involvement in the messageboards, I would have dropped this story a long time ago. It's been your constant support and love that has acted as the fuel to keep this series going, and I appreciate it wholeheartedly. You're the best! Thank you! That said, please feel free to send me an email and tell me what you thought at Comicality@webtv.net or feel free to drop by my website at http://comicality.gayauthors.org (Don't forget to sign the BRAND NEW guestbook!) Take care, and thanks SO MUCH for reading! You guys have made this story number one!


"Gone From Daylight: Pride And Prophecy"!!!