Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2130755-WHAT-AM-I--Nephilims-Fall-Chapter-One
by Denine
Rated: 18+ · Chapter · Sci-fi · #2130755
A young man unknowingly makes a deal with a man in black... he changes. What is he now?


Nephilim's Fall

Written by Damon DeMarcus


Taking a few steps back, I stare at the house numbly. "I'm too late." The body lay in a heap a few feet to my left. It is Stella's mother. I know I should feel more than just the cold air, but I don't. Blood drips from my hands. The splashes of the individual drops on cobblestone fill my newly sensitive ears. I wipe them on my pants and glance around. The darkness of the starless night hides the crimson stains. I shudder, still in shock that I have survived. I need to keep running; staying alive depends on it.

I start walking, and against my better judgment, cross the field and enter the woods. The leaves blow in the wind like a girl turning somersaults. The trees like old men just sitting there waiting to die. The rain falls steadily, drenching the plants and trees. I'm warm, yet shivering. I turn up my face to watch the individual drops fall to earth, threads of silver gleaming in the sky.

"They're coming, Kyle." The familiar, ever present voice of Ari rings in my mind; her voice absent of its usual singsong quality.

"You're right, Ari. I need to find her before he does." I lean forward. My wings bristle impatiently under my cashmere sweater and heavy coat, a burning itch that makes me flinch. With that flinch, a sound of cloth tearing fills the too quiet night. Slowly, my wings extend upwards and outwards from my shoulders. They unfold with an almost inaudible series of soft snaps, creaks, and a rumble like an enormous flag being unfurled. They face the sky, spreading wide open on each side like broad black sails, probing the dark night. The jagged tattered tips bobbing in the wind give me a weightlessness that provides some momentary peace.

My wings beat freely, deeply, strong with love and terror and thoughts of her, rippling the water in the lake underneath me so that it shimmers like diamonds. Picking up tremendous speed as I fly back over the crumbled remains of Riverwood High.

Chapter 1

A thick layer of fresh iridescently white snow coats Riverwood Highs red brick campus. Bare, frosted trees scattered about the grounds. I inhale the crisp, clean air; it is exhilarating.

My old silver Mazda skids around the corner and into the parking lot. Thanks to the aging tires and ice on the road, my wheels don't leave a single tell-tale mark. I come to a stop inches from a 1989 Jaguar, backing up into a parking space across the way. Kicking the car door to get it open, I heave my battered blue bag out with me.

The bright red paint of Derek's jag invites the pointy tip of my car key. I imagine the color disappearing from his square face, and his disproportionately small eyes swelling to the size of quarters upon finding my initials inscribed above the gas intake. Alternatively, the crime could be kept anonymous, and a jaunty lightning bolt could go in lieu of my initials. But, as they say: no guts, no glory. After ample pondering of getting back at my tormentor, I decide to postpone my funeral and head into class.

I push through the school doors and go to my first period: health. Ms. Anderson sighs when I come in, but doesn't say a word, as usual. Slipping one earbud in when no one is looking, I turn on my iPhones playlist. Nothing like some good old rock and roll to start your morning.

"For all of you who weren't here the first ten minutes of class.--" She shoots me a glance. "We are going to continue learning about the effects that drugs and alcohol can have on our bodies."

She sets up the projector while a student dims the lights.

"As I'm sure you all know,--" She said, clicking a button so that a picture of a few pills and powders appears on the white board. "Drugs can destroy your lives. They can cause severe damage, and sometimes even death."

Blah, blah, blah.

I doodle a grim reaper on the corner of my notes, scythe raised over the school's principal.

"Now I know you're all young, but a moment of fun isn't worth it."

I don't raise my eyes to the board. Ms. Anderson is right, but not like I'll let her know it. Case in point: My dad. After mom disappeared, he changed. Now he is nothing without his bottle, and that's where all the money goes. The only thing I have left of my mothers is a long metal cross necklace that I keep in a velvet pouch in my bag.

Looking out the window, I began to sketch the depressing landscape of leafless trees and snow. A dark haired girl sitting in her desk blocks most of my view. I draw her in with surprising detail.

Forty minutes later, the teacher starts handing back our last assignment. Putting away my note sheet, which is now covered with everything but notes, I pick my assignment up.

"D. How the heck could I get a D in health?"

Ms. Anderson speaks up, "Mr. DeNine, would you please stay for a minute?"

Sighing, I slouch in my seat and give her a roll of my eyes.

She approaches me as the last student leaves.

"Did you see your final grade, Kyle?" she asks, her eyes soft behind her thick corrective lenses.

"Yeah," I say, nodding. "I don't think I deserve that."

"Really?" She says, raising an eyebrow. "Because if I remember correctly, the assignment was to write a paragraph on the adverse effects of narcotics."

"Didn't I?" I ask, tapping my foot.

"No." She picks up my paper. "You wrote: 'Narcotics are wrong. If you use them, you might die. So don't. Or at least don't get caught."

"That was one, two, three, four sentences" I looked her dead in the eye, "I believe that's a paragraph."

She sighs. "I'm going to have to give you detention."

"What?" I jump up from my seat. "You can't give me detention for a bad grade."

"No," she says, clearing up the desk beside me. "But I can give you detention for repeated tardiness."

"Come on," I say, following her. "Do you have it out for me or something?"

"I don't have it 'out for you' Kyle." She sighs. "I have it in for you if that's even an expression. I think you're not taking school seriously. So," She said, turning to me, "you're going to help out the drama club for the last two days of school till summer vacation."

"The drama club? Seriously? That's beyond lame." I sound.

"Well, it's that or flunk health and sit in summer classes during your break." She smiles. "Your choice."


The room smells of fresh paint. I am leaning against the walls behind the stage while the "actors" practice their production of some Shakespeare play. I bang the back of my head against the wall repeatedly. If I hit it hard enough, can I get a concussion?

Out of the corner of my eye, I notice a man in a heavy, black trench coat. He is standing in the shadows of the back stage curtains and appears to be staring at me.

A girl with a clipboard in her hand approaches me from my left. The soft clicking of her heels echoes though the busy theater. Looking around I am surprised that nobody notices the sound, though it is understandable given everyone is busy with their practices

"Hi. You're Kyle right? I'm Stella. Conner and I manage the stagehands." She is cute. Dark, chestnut brown hair. A slim face that still has traces of a summer tan. She is wearing jeans and a plain white tee. I stand there for a moment. She is in my Health and English classes. She isn't one of the popular girls like Rachel Dawson. She is considered a lone rebel, only ever socializing with the drama club and her best friend Conner.

I can see Stella standing there waiting for a response and looking at me with an, are you okay? expression. Great.

Blinking a few times, I shuffle my feet embarrassedly, feeling distracted by the smell of lemons that wafts over me as she brushes her chestnut hair over her shoulder. "Um, yeah. I'm Kyle."

"Ms. Anderson said you'd be helping us out, so follow me." Her lips part in a quizzical smile.

I tail her to the other side of the stage.

"Every once in a while, we need to change things on the set," she explains, pointing back and forth as she talks, trying to introduce me to the other stagehands.

"So you can help out Marty with that." She points to a nerd with suspenders who waves. "It'll be dark during the actual play, but we'll practice in the light, so you guys know where to go."

"Not like I'm going to be here for that long or anything."


One of the actors motions for her. "Hey, Stels, we're doing scene two, come on!"

She pulls out another smile. "Well, it was nice meeting you."

I move the sets and pull ropes for nearly an hour. The stage hands have to put them in place and take them down on cue, making sure the floating ones are secure so they won't fall at an inopportune moment. We don't want to squish the little Shakespearians, now do we?

I find myself casting glances at Stella once in a while. I watch her as she plays out her lines, feeling true emotion come to my eyes at final scenes.

A feeling of being watched grows, causing me to look around and expecting to see the creepy man in black. Derek with the jag is leaning with his back against the gray concrete wall. The red light of the exit sign illuminating his grim features.

Derek Walker has dark hair that's long for a man, a square jaw, and really pushes that mysterious vibe. He is known as a bad boy, though I'm sure some girls like that. Which is more than I can say. I'm, well, no one really knows me as anything. I fly by under the radar. My dark brown shaggy hair and matching eyes don't exactly make me a model. I wear a cheap pair of boring round wire glasses that resemble Harry Potter's and, thanks to puberty, have a fair amount of acne. Thus the reason why always walk with my head down and my hood up. My dad used to always tell me lose the hood and stand up straight.

"Kyle, girls like it when guys walk straight; it shows them you're confident."

I don't listen. I know, one look at my face and a girl will be disgusted. Sometimes I consider wearing a paper bag over my head, thinking I'll have better luck.

Derek looks at me with a manic grin that doesn't reach his eyes. I know that face and feel my stomach turn. I stare back under my hood in defiance, knowing there is nothing I can do to escape my daily beat down waiting for me. He will wait for me by my car. After about three seconds of eye contact, I see another man approach him.

Conner is tall and lean, his golden curls bob to his stride as he makes his way towards Derek, venom in his eyes. "What are you doing here?" Conner demands.

Derek smiles lazily, feigning nonchalance, "just coming by to support our schools spectacular drama program." The sarcasm is his voice palpable.

"I told you to stay away from Stella, she's told you she's not interested. She told me about you grabbing her arm. If we see you standing outside her house again we're going to the police." Conner's voice is too loud and the whole theater goes silent, as if frozen in time.

Derek pushes off the wall, his eyes shoot to where Stella stands, frozen mid-line, and walks out of the theater. A few snowflakes drift in before the door slams with a thud. I watch them as they hit the concrete floor, disappearing.

Eventually, almost everyone is gone. I have to stay and help put props away. Stupid, conniving teacher. I've underestimated her for the last time that's for sure.

Stella walks up beside me, a bunch of scripts in her hand. "You did well." She smiles, "What'd you think of our production of A Mid Summer's Night Dream?"

"Eh." I shrug.

She laughs and punches me on the shoulder. "We're excellent, just to let you know. We won last year's contest."

"What, the weirdest dialogue contest? Or was that yesteryear's?" I tease dropping to one knee pretending to tie my shoe so she can't look at me under my hood.

Her face falls, and she turns away. But she stops halfway across the stage and turns back to face me, her eyes on fire.

"What do you know anyway? I bet you couldn't tell a comedy from a tragedy."

"Uh, this is a tragedy," I mumble under my breath, still on one knee.

Stella shoots me a death glare. "You're just jealous because you can't participate in any of our plays. You obviously have no imagination."

No imagination? Hah! In fact, I can imagine the moon piece that is hanging above her falling on her right now.--Wait, that isn't my imagination.

In the split second it takes for the rope to come undone and the full moon to fall on the ground with a crash, I jump forward and push her out of the way, sending us both rolling on the floor.

A white chalky smoke fills the room, causing us both to cough. Pieces of the once full moon lay strewn about the stage. Stella and I stare at the spot she had stood seconds before. I look down at her small frame pinned under me. I can feel my face began to flush and attempt to quickly push myself up.

"Ouch." I squeal, holding my wrist. "You okay, Stella?"

Her hair looks as if covered in iridescently white snow. She pushes a piece of it out of her face and looks at me; her jaw hanging. "That was close."

"Ha, okay don't get carried away. You wouldn't have died or anything; it's made out of drywall. It probably wouldn't have fallen if I hadn't been tying the knots. You can let Ms. Anderson know I'm a safety hazard." I try to push myself to my knees but let out a moan when I put pressure on my right hand.

"Are you okay?" She sounds on edge.

"Yeah," I say, standing. "Think I just sprained my wrist."

"I should take you to the doctor's office. The school's infirmary is already closed," she says.

"It's fine. I can go there myself." I began brushing myself off with my good hand.

"Oh yeah?" she asks, grabbing my wrist.

"Ow! What's your deal?"

"How are you supposed to drive there if you can't move your wrist?" She raises an eyebrow.

"Uh, with one hand," I say, annoyed.

"Please just let me drive you to the doctors," she pleads. "I can take you back here after so you can get your car."

I think about Derek waiting for me. "Fine."

"Good." She flashes a smile at me. "This way."

I follow with my head down, feeling both irritated and delighted to spend more time with her. As we walk out the door, I notice the man in the black coat standing, unmoving in the shadows of the stage curtains, just watching us.


We are standing before a blue Civic with a worn beige interior. "Let's go," she calls, getting into the driver's seat and patting the one next to her. "It's starting to rain."

And so it is. I sigh and slip in. We drive in silence for a few minutes.

"So, uh, thanks again." She looks over at me.

"No problem," I reply, looking out at the glum weather.

"Really, though. And--" She bites her lip for a moment. "sorry about yelling at you. That wasn't very nice."

"It's all good," I say casually. "And I'm sorry too, but you guys do sound funny." I laugh.

She smiles a little also. "Mm, maybe. But only to the untrained ear."

"Oh, sorry." I attempt to wink at her, but end up awkwardly blinking, luckily with my oversized hood still up, she doesn't see it.

We reach the office, wait a little while, and finally get in to see a doctor. He tells me about what I expected. It is a sprain, and I have to wear one of those Velcro casts for a couple weeks. Awesome.

Stella drives me to my car, the only one left in the lot and is luckily, absent of Derek.

"Well, I'll see you tomorrow," she chirps

"Yeah, can't wait," I chuckle.

I watch her drive off. Maybe pushing her out of the way of that moon wasn't such a bad idea after all.

I get into the car and coaxed the engine to start.

By the time I reach home, it is nearly eight-o-clock. But of course, Dad doesn't care, or notice.

He is sitting on the couch, nearly in a stupor. Half a dozen empty beer cans surround him, and the smudges on his face indicates he'd been crying.

"Hey, dad." Pulling my backpack off, I stretch, making a few audible cracks in my neck.

I gather up the cans and toss them in the kitchen trash. A sickly sweet smell fills the air as I open the refrigerator door, a sandwich four weeks out of date, covered in green mold sits in the center. Making a mental note to buy groceries tomorrow, I grab a large mixing bowl, two ibuprofen, and a bottle of water and go back to dad.

"Drink this." I motion for him to take the water. "And these," I put the pills and bowl on the coffee table, "are for when you wake up with a headache and feel the need to throw up."

"Thanks, Nancy." He slurs, and his head falls to his chest.

I sigh again, then use the remote to turn off the TV.

"Night," I whisper to myself.


Ignoring my alarm on the chilly September morning is easy. The dream I want to remain in is far more persuasive than the squawking on my bedside table. After the sixth snooze button option, I decide I can still be on time for class if I skip my shower and breakfast. That plan goes up in smoke as I dash into the yard in time to remember dad is using my car today.

Snowflakes contrast against my thin, black hoodie. Each flake turning it whiter. I focus on the ever falling flakes as I walk. It helping pass the time.

I arrive hooded and shivering, in time for second period English. Stella comes in soon after, joined at the elbow with her friend Conner. I notice I'm not the only one staring, when I look over to see Derek giving them the death glare.

Ms. Mitchell starts the lesson. I find it hard to pay attention with the sent of lemons in the air and Stella scribbling in a notebook. I lean forward a bit pretending to stretch. At the top of Stella's notebook is the date followed by a sketch of a man shadowed in black. She keeps scribbling, overlapping the black parts, darkening them more and more.

At the end of class, Ms. Mitchell calls for attention, and everybody goes silent. "You guys need to pair up. You and your partners will have to write a short story about 5 to 6 pages long; it will be due in two days." Ms. Mitchell announces excitedly.

The classroom explodes with shouts as everyone calls out to each other, hoping to get a friend as a partner. I sit with my head down and my hood up.

Ms. Mitchell snaps, "quiet! Obviously, you guys are too immature to pick your partners, so I'm going to choose for you. "

Everybody groans. Ms. Mitchell begins calling out the pairs. "Rachael and Cory, Conner and Derek, Stella and Kyle..."

I look up, my eyes widening. Stella and I look at each other, and I expect her to look annoyed, but instead all I see is a small smile that crinkles the corners of her eyes. "Guess we're partners." She says.

"Y-Yeah," I get myself to say, looking down.

"We should meet up after school in the library," she proposes, tilting her head to one side in a question.

"Yeah, sure. That's fine." My voice sounds weak to even my own ears.

"Okay, see you there." She grins before turning back in her chair.

"Why am I so shy around her?" I can't help but get a feeling in the pit of my stomach.

The bell rings snapping me out of my thoughts. How long had I stared at Stella?

I continue throughout my day with a toothy grin. Walking with my back straight as I go from class to class. All I can think about is Stella and I, alone together after school. I wish I hadn't worn dirty clothes, I wish I tried to look good today, but it's too late to think about that now. It's not like she will get a good look at me under my hood anyway.

I'm in my last period counting down the seconds for the bell to ring. When it does, I jump out of my seat and walk as fast as I can to the library. Cutting through the snow covered field to make better time. I make it, but Stella isn't here yet.

The library is beautiful. Tall wooden shelves line the walls and floor. With multiple sections and rooms, it has an almost maze-like quality to it. The smell of old books reminds me of my grandmas house. Pulling up a chair to a light wooden desk in the back section, I get my books out.

A few minutes pass. Shouts fill the quiet library. Two people arguing. I can hear a panicked librarian shushing them and telling them to "please take it outside."

Stella comes into view, walking fast, her eyes sparkling with tears. She turns on Derek. "Please just stop following me! I've already gone to the principal once. I don't want to have to go to the police."

Derek looks sullen, his head down in defeat and his hand holding his elbow. "Fine. Don't go to the police. I'll---" he catches my eye. Letting go of his elbow, he steps towards her, his face getting redder and redder.

"Why the hell are you hanging out with Mr. Hoodie over here!" Derek barks coldly. Hooking his thumb back at me.

"He's my study partner!" She crosses her arms and backs up a step.

"Riiiight," Derek says, shaking.

"Listen kid--" He gives me the manic smile that I know so well, his eyes ablaze. "You're dead. Stay the hell away from her."

Stella scoffs "I'm not yours! I don't even know you! Stop following me!" Tears roll down her cheeks.

Derek puts his head in his hands, looking like he's trying to pull his own hair out, he sputters, "I just want you to like me!" The clank of a chair he kicks followed by the slam of the library door echos in the now, dead silence library.

Stella breaks the ice, "Sorry about that."

"Don't be. I know how he is," I whisper.

"Well let's not let him get us down! Let's get a move on this project!" Her voice quivers and I see her clasp her shaking hands behind her back. She can only manage a tentative smile. I nod in agreement, noticing her eyes still welling with tears.

I look at her. "So, I have a confession, Stella---"

She looks up, her eyes still glistening. "Mm?"

"--This will be the first English assignment I'll have done this year." I grin.

She chuckles softly and I can see her tears begin to dry up as she smiles a bit deeper now. "Tomorrow is the last day of the school year, and this is the only assignment you've done in english?" Her mouth is hanging open in a disbelieving smile.

"Yup. So, let's just say, We Ned to write a damn good story. Oh, and you will need to spell check all my work." I tap my notebook with my pencil and smile.

Stella laughs and grins widely now. For the next few hours, we are bouncing ideas off each other for our short story. I notice her voice getting stronger as we laugh and her once tentative smile turning wide. We write, erase, and write some more, as we change our minds. It takes time, her correcting my grammar, and me perfecting our plot. We will be getting an A+ on this, we both know that. Getting up, we silently push our chairs in.

"Thanks for helping me. There is no way the story would be this good if I had to do it on my own. Usually, Conner helps me with English assignments, but he has zero imagination." She chirps.

"There's no way it would be this good if it was just me doing it either." I say with a chuckle, looking down.

"Well, I'll see you tomorrow, Kyle." She walks away waving goodbye.

"See ya," I say quietly.

"And Kyle--" She turns back. "Thank you for making me feel better, you're a good friend."

"Anytime." I smile, feeling my face grow warm at the word, friend.


I tug my hood down further and began to trudge home, hearing the gravel and ice crunch beneath my feet with each step.

I take a different route in an attempt to make a shortcut. Narrow, back alleys between old warehouses, all have crumbling red brick and smashed windows. It is dark, about 6:30 judging by how the sun is completely out of sight, except for the small and fading line of light coming from the horizon.

I watch the moon slowly make its way up the darkening sky. I know I have a little more than half a mile to go. I try not to think about it.

Four silhouettes are up ahead. Their laughter makes its way to my ears. Getting closer, I see it is four guys tossing a football. I don't look up as I make my way past them. The laughter of the boys stops and silence fills the air. As I look back, all I see is a spiraling football growing in size as it closes in on my face. Instinctively, my body attempts to move to the right, out of the way of the incoming object. It nails me on the left side of my face knocking me back to the harsh gravel road. I lay there for a second feeling dazed, knowing that was no accident.

Looking up, I see Derek standing above me, his three friends flanking him. The manic grin spread across his face. I shudder. One of Derek's friends picks up my binder that I was holding and stares at it with his mouth hanging open.

"Um, Derek, you might want to take a look at this."

"What?" Derek barks as he walks over and rips the binder out of the boys grip.

I know what he'll find on the binder. It will be the sketch I made of a girl sitting at her desk in front of a window in class. The girl in the drawing is Stella. Derek's reaction is quick and immediate. His normal, pale complexion burst with color. Veins stand out on his forehead, and his fists began to shake. Even his nose starts to twitch with fury.

"I'll kill you." His cold voice shakes.

Everyone knows Derek has a bad history of violence, me better than most. Memories flash through my mind. Memories of Derek, of the kids he's hospitalized. My heart races, a tingly sensation filling my body as adrenaline flows through me. I jump up and run as fast as I can. Taking a right on the first street I come to, in hopes to find an adult.

I run through the darkening street. The pavement passing soundlessly beneath my feet, blurring at the edges of my vision. My pulse beats erratically in my eardrums, filling my head. My chest burns as I drag breath after protesting breath into my screaming lungs. An grunt comes from behind me, alien in the surrounding gloom. My sneaker drags at the concrete below me and I stumble, shock paralyzing me momentarily as I suddenly remember why I'm running; who I'm running from. I catch myself before I fall, the sounds of running feet behind me ring hollowly in my ears.

I push forward with a new found urgency to put as much distance between myself and Derek's footsteps, but they ring out clearly, again and again as he pursues me. My muscles burn with each step that propels me forward, but I push myself harder. The air seems to pull at me, and each step comes up shorter than the last. The steps behind me continue, hammering a relentless beat, and I know that he is drawing inexorably closer.

My head is full of the sound now, all others drowned out by the rhythmic pounding. I glance at the ground below me, and I realize in horror that it's moving past in slow motion. Terror rips at my chest, threatening to overcome me entirely. A brick wall looms suddenly out of nothingness in front of me, blocking my escape.

I open my mouth to scream, but the only sound I can hear is the pounding from behind me, terrifyingly close. Suddenly it stops, and a hand snakes around in front of my face, clamping my mouth shut.

Derek shoves me hard against the red broken brick, holding my throat with his right hand.

"What shall I start with?" His eyes sparkle as he pulls out his pocket knife and flicks it open with a click.

Holding my throat, he pulls my head a couple of inches away from the wall and bangs my head back against the brick with so much force my vision temporarily goes black. A feeling of wetness slowly streaming down the back of my neck is all I can think of as real fear grips me.

He brings his knife to my neck, and slices downward. The sing of the blade paralyzes me. He continues, doing to more slanted cuts in quick succession. I can feel blood drip down my neck.

I hear running feet approaching, one of his friends speak up, "bro, what the hell are you doing man! Are you carving your name in him or something?" My vision starts to return and I see his friends are backing up now, looking freaked.

"I'm just carving a 'D' in his neck so he remembers. If you guys want to go then go." Derek tells them, ice in his tone. They all take him up on the offer, first backing up, then running off into the night, turning down a dark alleyway.

Derek lets go of my neck as he watches them. Turning back to me with a hard right hook. I hear my nose make a wet crunch and I'm thrown to the ground. My body reverberating with pain.

Looking to my right, I notice a board missing from the brown wooden fence a couple yards away. "I can make it," I think to myself as I crawl for it. Derek scrambles after me, grabbing my ankle as I lunge through the small gap. I struggle trying to pull my foot free. My shoe slips off and Derek loses his hold. I arise to the ice covered woods and begin to run as fast as I can.

A curse escapes my lips as my body begins to plunge towards the forest floor. My hands instinctively reach out to catch myself. My left wrist rolls, causing my arm to lurch awkwardly to the side.

"Damn," I cry quietly into the damp earth. My pain is met with frustration as my bag flys several feet in front of me. The soft thuds of my possessions rolling across the pine needles arises further panic.

"Mom's necklace!" Ignoring the pain, I crawl forward; darting my hands in the dark, my fingers desperately searching for the small velvet pouch. I nearly shout with relief when the pouch connects with my palm; only the thought of the impending danger keeps me moving along quietly.

As I continue to run forward, I begin to wonder if I am going to get myself lost. What a predicament, I think; to die at the hands of a deranged bully, or of exposure out in the middle of nowhere?

"What can I do to survive this?" I pant, holding my hand over the pouch and closing my eyes. I feel something reach out to me as I open my mind. I gasp, my focus returning to my surroundings. I look up at the sky, the moon is off to my left. Following my instincts, I run in the direction of the moon. This might be risky. There is a good chance that veering left can lead me closer to Derek. My instincts seem to think it an escape route this way, and that is enough for me. They have never let me down. For good measure, I quicken my pace, rushing through the trees as swiftly as I can without damning myself to a second fall.

A loud hoot of an owl rolls through the air, causing me to take pause. I hear the sound of branches snapping not too far from my location. My heart lurches and my breath quickens. He has almost caught up with me. I have to hurry, or I am going to die. I take off into a sprint, missing solid trees by mere inches. My vision blurs for a split second, I shake it off in time to dodge another tree.

"Help," I gasp, bolting towards the sound of the hoots. The branches breaking behind me are getting closer, the rate at which they're snapping increasing rapidly. Derek can hear me; he is officially on the chase now. I stifle the panic rising in my chest. Now is not the time to let it slow me. No hesitation.

"You can't outrun me much longer freak!" He shouts.

His voice sounds close, it sends ripples of fear through my body. I can hear his breathing now, even over the labored sound of my own. The air is knocked out of my body as my feet plunge into cold, dark water. The water. Pushing forward, forgoing any hesitation, I continue my path into the icy lake. As the water comes up to my hips, I hear the splash of his feet behind me.

"Shit," I hear him gasp as he trudges after me. My feet can no longer touch the bottom of the lake, and I lose my pace. I know he is taller than me, using his footing, Derek can quickly close the distance between us. I feel his hand grab my sprained wrist as he yanks me back through the water. My cry of pain is interrupted by the lake water filling my lungs. The water burns my nose and chest as I sputter helplessly.

He mercilessly raises me out of the water by my injured wrist. I see him relishing in the unexpected advantage he has gained. He has plenty of height on me, lifting me to face him with ease. The bright radiance of the moon cast a light over the lake, illuminating his face. His eyes are cold as always; cold and cruel. They have always looked this way.

"I didn't want to do this," he growls angrily, his blame thrown at me fiercely. He submerges my head just under the water, my eyes still able to see his in the moonlight. I struggle, trying to tear his hands off of my neck.

I muster my strength, and think through my next move, trying to hold on to consciousness. I release my hands from his fingers and let my body go limp. I hold on, remaining perfectly still until I can feel his grip loosen and his guard lower. With one calculated swipe, I rip my hand through the flesh on his face, digging my nails deep when I feel the socket of his eyes as I kick myself off into his stomach with all of my strength. As he falls backward in shock, I fling myself deeper into the water.

I know it isn't the wisest decision, plunging deeper into the unknown lake as weak and dizzy as I am. I only know I want to be further away from him, for him to lose track of me. I am unable to take a breath before diving under the surface. I need to swim as far as I can underwater until he loses sight of me.

My body keeps moving, struggling to keep moving forward. I can feel my lungs giving up, refusing to put up with any further abuse. I need to breathe. My body begs for me to resurface, but I know I can't risk it. Further and further out I swim. I can still feel him floundering around in the water, searching for me. No distance feels safe enough. Time suddenly feels like it's slowing down. I can no longer feel him disturbing the water. Have I swam far enough? Am I safe now?

My heart begins to freeze with despair as I realize how deep in the water I really am. My fear has turned me completely around, I have no sense of direction under the water. I can't see the moon shining from above. The only thing around me is darkness and the cold. My body begins to slow, my energy levels now completely depleted from the struggle.

I am going to die here after all. My brain begins to calm itself, accepting my fate. So I'm not going to make it out of this. That is okay now, I haven't given him the satisfaction of killing me himself. Maybe if I am lucky, my body will never be recovered, and he will live in fear of my return and vengeance for years to come. My thoughts drift away, replaced by empty nothingness. The lake remains still and undisturbed. I relax, submitting fully to the lake and its claim on my life.

I don't register the feeling of someone pulling my body to the shore at first. It feels dream-like, unreal and irrelevant. It is the wrist pain that draws me back into awareness. The person dragging me out of the water is not gentle, yanking me up the shore with strength.

I have no energy to open my eyes, but I can see moonlight through my closed lids. When the movement stops, my arms are dropped carelessly to my sides, slamming the wrist into the rocks beneath me. I release a small whimper of pain, catching the attention of whoever stands above me. The sound of my rescuer's steps are light, quiet, and calculated. I feel them kneel near me, their breath warming my cheek. I strain with every remaining ounce of energy to turn my head. I want desperately to open my eyes.

Derek's voice is cold and filled with malice, "Did you really think you could get away from me, freak?" He lets out a soft dark laugh as his fingers close around my throat. "You're mine to kill." His voice shook, reveling in this moment.

My eyes open. Derek's eyes are cold, one bloody. He's smiling, his lip quivering as he reaches for a rock. I notice a man, about ten feet behind him, watching from behind a tree. The man is wearing a long, black coat.

"Help," I whisper. Derek's left hand still a vice around my throat, his right hand comes back from his side with a fist size rock. My eyes go black from the impact of the first hit.

More hits continue, I can't feel them anymore, only the dull jerking of my skull from one side to the other and the splash of each impact tells me he's not stopping.

Time passes, I vaguely make out the crunching of gravel under Derek's boots as he leaves my body to die in the now crimson snow.

I can feel my consciousness going.

My throat feels like it is collapsing and I can tell I am drowning for a second time, this time in blood, my mouth full of it.

At this moment I am filled with hatred, not for Derek, but for myself, because I am skinny and weak and useless. I can feel my mind let go. I am lying in the snow. My entire body reverberates with pain. I can feel my legs folded under myself unnaturally. With every breath, I seem to get colder. My body shudders. Ice in my bones. I know I am in serious trouble. If I don't get help soon, I will die.

Every breath is a little harder. My shivering is filled with pauses now, and the breaks are getting longer. Above, over hanging branches form a canopy. I can feel my body shutting itself down. Slowing breath and heart rate. My muscles are becoming rigid. At least I no longer feel cold. There is a vast sense of relief for not having to move. I am getting so tired. My body has began the process of dying.

"I'm in trouble. Somebody, please. Dad?"

My last thought is, "it's just like going to sleep." Then all at once, there is no rigidity, no discomfort.

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