"Oh, jeez!" Bobby shouted, flicking his arm about, resulting in splotches of crimson staining the ugly stone walls. "Oh, man!"
"Calm down!" Alex ordered, grabbing bobby's wrist. Bobby froze, taking heaving breaths. Alex began examining Bobby's arm, and in a moment's notice, had released his drummer's arm from his grasp.
"Chill," said Alex dismissively. "It's not bleeding that badly. Should clot any minute."
From next to him on the couch, Gregg could hear Selina lick her lips at the sight of Bobby's blood. Her hands grasped the couch tightly, as if attempting to hold herself back. Instinctively, Gregg's hand fell on top of Selina's as a precaution. But as Bobby retrieved his sweatband and slid it back on his wrist, Selina calmed, and eventually settled back into the deep cushions of the couch.
"What I'm worried about is why it's bleeding!" Bobby winced as the band rubbed against the open wound.
"I might have an explanation," said Alex, pacing once more. The sweat began to bead upon his forehead. He bit his nails nervously. "It was kind of the point of this whole meeting."
Bobby nodded and sat back down on the drum throne, holding his wounded arm to his chest.
"Now that Selina's got the backstory," Alex announced," I may as well get to the point. I recently learned something kinda, uh, disturbing."
"Do tell," simpered Sam, rolling his smoky eyes.
"You all know the new girl Clarissa?" Alex asked, looking at all the people in the room.
"Yeah, that really hot chick you flirt with at lunch every frickin' day," answered Gregg. Alex nodded, and blinked heavily, as if very tired.
"Yes. She's not what she seems." Alex admitted, shrugging.
"Oh, God," whispered Bobby. "She's a man!"
"No!" countered Alex, turning to face Bobby with a furious look on his face. "If only it were that simple."
He turned back to his audience, crossed his arms, and took in a deep breath. Exhaling silently, he closed his eyes, expecting retaliation for what he said next.
"She's a succubus."
"What?" asked Cooper, hanging his head incredulously to one side.
"A succubus," Selina answered on Alex's behalf. "A female demon that sleeps with men. Usually results in the man's death. The succubus sometimes takes the semen after copulation, and"
"Ugh, stop!" Cooper demanded, poking his fingers in his own ears to stop himself from hearing Selina's oddly mechanical definition.
"Yeah." Alex sighed, sitting on the bass drum of Bobby's kit.
"Well, it's good that you haven't slept with her, eh?" Sam asked, nudging Cooper in the ribs to accentuate his joke. But it was to no avail, as his ethereal elbow went right through Cooper's flesh. In response, Cooper shivered slightly and whispered "watch it with the ice touch, bro."
"That's the problem," Alex grumbled, shaking his head. "She's been given orders by the head honcho to kill me in her usual manner."
"Oh, God," Gregg muttered, sitting bolt upright. "That explains all the recent deaths of Centenary guys in their own beds!"
"Aren't you more concerned about the whole "Clarissa has to kill me" thing I just mentioned?!" Alex growled, glaring straight at Gregg.
"I think it more worries me that it was ordered," Cooper noted, circling Alex like a hungry shark. "That means somebody wants to end our little deal early."
"She explained that, too." Alex sighed, "We never specified how long we were supposed to live when we signed up for being eternally damned. All Buddy said was that when we die, he gets our souls. Clarissa told me he wants them now. And there's not much we can do about it. It's essentially an infernal hit put out on our heads."
"Sh*t." Cooper muttered, shaking his head in disbelief.
"She told me that we've got some sort of aura around us now," Alex continued. "It's like a highlighter on the world map. Every demon can pinpoint us to the exact county we live in."
"So we're being tracked like a damn GPS," Gregg added. It was then he noticed that he had not yet released Selina's hand from his own, and quickly retracted his hand. He didn't want to send any wrong messages. But Selina barely noticed. She was caught up in the drama.
"Hey, look on the bright side," Sam laughed. "Maybe when you get butt-f*cked by a demon, your soul will end up like mine. Wandering Earth forever."
"This isn't a joke, Sam!" Alex snapped back. "We're all in danger!"
"Wait, how does this explain my sudden bleeding?" asked Bobby from behind the kit.
"Clarissa explained that, too." Alex grumbled, standing up from the bass drum. "Apparently, sometimes people who sold their souls pick up a little piece of the demon's saliva. It got caught in your tattoo, Bobby. When it bleeds, it means something infernal is nearby. You're uhwhat'd she call ittheBearer of the Beacon or something?"
"Wait, so something's near us now?!" exclaimed Bobby, jolting up from the drum throne. He began to look around nervously, clutching his still-bleeding wrist to his chest.
"No, you're picking up Clarissa's lingering scent and such on me," explained Alex, hoping to calm Bobby down. "I saw her earlier today in school. God, that was awkward."
"Wait, if she's been told to kill you, why the heck did she tell you all this?" asked Sam curiously.
"I don't think she wants to kill me," replied Alex.
"So what the hell do we do now?" asked Cooper with a slight whimper in his voice.
"Duck and cover, I guess," answered Alex, shrugging once more.
"Keep your head down," Selina chimed in. "They can pinpoint the county, but last I checked, Sussex is a huge county. They'll never find you at this rate. And they have to stay incognito until they find you, right?"
"How do you know all this stuff about demons?" asked Gregg. He turned his head to look into her vibrant blue eyes.
"You act like I've never encountered one," Selina responded blandly with her usual thick-toothed smile. "A life as a nightwalker brings some strange bedfellows."
"Wait, what? Bedfellows?" questioned Gregg whilst making a strange, confused face.
"Nothing." Came Selina's curt response.
"Either way, we have to be ready for them," said Cooper. "Do research, stockpile some sort of defense. Come up with a plan."
"Don't worry," replied Alex, smirking smugly. "I've got it all under control."
The walk home from Alex's meeting meant walking through the woods in the dark. Selina wasn't nervous, but she never really liked Ganton's abundance of forest. Everywhere she turned, there was just more woods to traverse through. Now floating along the side of the river, she was constantly vigilant. Several steps ahead of her, Gregg was muttering things to himself; probably a difficult math equation or riddle, Selina presumed. She floated forward, coming to land next to Gregg and matching his stride.
"So if you all sold your souls," she wondered, poking him in the ribs with her bony finger, "what did you sell yours for?"
"Let's not talk about this now, please" Gregg begged, putting a thoughtful hand to his chin. He now appeared as the famous Thinker sculpture, lost in his own thoughts. Selina sighed mournfully and hopped back into the air and continued floating next to Gregg as they made their way back toward his house.
Selina began to wonder about what Gregg could possibly sell his soul for. He obviously hadn't resurrected his parents, and he wasn't rich in the slightest. He was naturally smart, and it seemed to Selina that he always had been. So what could he possibly desire out of life?
There came a ringing from Gregg's pocket. He paused for a moment, looking down at his pants. Giving a heaving grunt, he removed his cell phone from his pocket and looked at the screen. He nodded to himself, flipped the phone open, and put it to his ear.
"Heyyeah, just got outnah, something about a girl, I think"
As Selina listened to Gregg's conversation, she began to shift her pondering from the nature of Gregg's soul to the person to whom he was speaking. It couldn't have been one of the guys, as they had left ten minutes prior. As she thought, Selina unconsciously began tilting backwards, doing a slow backflip in midair, a reflex of her thinking phases. She kept her eyes on Gregg as he spoke. He smiled softly.
"Of courseyeah, come over tomorrowno, we can watch SVUokay, cool"
And it was Gregg's final statement that finally let Selina know exactly what Gregg had sold his soul for.
"Rightlove you toobye"
He hated taking this way home. But with construction on 206 marring his usual highway route back to his house on the other side of Ganton, Bobby had no choice. He would have to walk through the old middle school's parking lot.
Being 9:00 at night, the darkness had long since overtaken Ganton. The streetlights brought a sort of comfort to him, but walking alone at night, having just learned about his possible upcoming demise, Bobby couldn't help but feel exposed and frightened at every squirrel that darted around in the bushes. As he approached the school, he could smell a rotten scent looming from every inch of the parking lot's blacktop.
Setting foot in the empty parking lot, he took a breath of relief. The parking lot's streetlights were on, and he could see everything across from him clearly. The school had burned down about 6 years prior, in 7th grade. Someone had torched the place in the middle of the night. Now, all that remained was an ashen skeleton at the end of Marlboro Street, watching over an eternally empty parking lot.
But as he rounded the corner of the parking lot, Bobby's heart skipped a beat. There came a number of figures from the darkness of the school's side alley, and Bobby recognized them immediately. It was the Corner Boys, the local gang. They were all dressed in black and white, with buzzed haircuts and ugly faces. One of them shoved Bobby backward into the parking lot. Bobby stumbled, and soon found himself right on his back. Before he could even sit up, he felt the poke of something in his throat. "Well, well. Robert McEyre, been a while." Said a voice from above. Bobby looked up to see the familiar face of Todd Langley, the leader of the Corner Boys.
Bobby had known Todd Langley since kindergarten. Even then, he was a sick child, tearing the legs off of spiders just to watch them squirm. In third grade, he had taken Bobby and a number of boys to the creek. Bobby, being the smallest, had been forced onto a plank of wood and sent down the creek on it as Todd and the other laughed at his vain attempts to swim to shore. By fifth grade, Todd was a terror, blackmailing girls into performing sexual acts with him. When the school burned down, Todd had shown up the next morning to see it smolder. All through high school, Todd was known as a monster, dealing drugs and assaulting teachers. He eventually dropped out junior year, but not before beating the principal into a bloody pulp. He had never been arrested due to his silver tongue and gang mates, who always prepared an alibi for him. He was evil incarnate.
"Haven't seen you since junior year, bud," Todd snickered, his dark eyes gleaming with a dark hatred. Bobby could now see the object poking him in the throat was Todd's signature kendo stick, still as sturdy as the day he had bought it.
"What do you want, Langley?" Bobby asked with disdain in his voice. The rest of the Corner Boys began to form a circle around him as he lay on his back on the cold concrete.
"Nothing much, really." Todd said. Then, without warning, he wound up and smacked Bobby across the jaw. Bobby heard something crack and rolled onto his side as the rest of the Corner Boys began taking turns kicking him in the kidneys and ribs. Repeatedly, Bobby felt things break or squish, his fragile form turning into a bag of meat for the Boys to ravage.
In desperation, Bobby began to crawl, and for a moment, the Corner Boys let him claw away for his life, snickering at the pathetic hunk of flesh attempting to get away.
"How cute," one of the Boys said, "he thinks he can crawl back to his mom."
But Bobby had a different plan in mind. Having put about fifteen feet between himself and the gang, he reached his broken hand into his pocket and withdrew his iPod. He began fumbling through his library as the footsteps behind him approached. Finally, he reached what he was looking for and pressed play. The opening chord of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" rang out.
Bobby curled into a ball and closed his eyes. There came the sound of a massive pair of wings flapping in the night, followed by a yelp, then another.
SQUISH! SNAP! SLINK!
One after another, the disgusting sounds rang out around him. Tears began to roll out of Bobby's eyes. I had no other choice, he kept reminding himself, I didn't have a choice. The chaotic sounds around him began to slow, and as Bobby opened his mouth, he heard the words he was about to say sound out from someone else.
"Quantum sanguinis fratris praecipio tibi reduces olla!" a deep voice boomed. The sounds of madness suddenly went silent. Bobby opened his eyes and looked over his shoulder. The dark parking lot was a scene straight out of a war movie: there was blood and human viscera lining the aged parking spots. Scratch and burn marks littered the landscape like craters. Bobby suddenly felt the sting of something hit him in the right eye, and he fell back onto his side, groaning in pain. A pair of footsteps walked around him, and the figure to whom they belonged squatted next to Bobby, so that he could properly see the figure out of his left eye.
"Ah, McEyre," said Todd Langley, completely unscathed, holding his kendo stick across his shoulders. "Soon you will learn. We greatly outnumber you."
And with that, Todd stood back up, cracked his neck, and walked away, leaving Bobby quivering in a pool of blood.