The Westminster chimes rang out over the school, and the
echoing sound signified to everyone that it was mid-day. People,
most of them young adults, walked out from brick buildings and
onto sidewalks. A large crowd gathered, and with some impatient
difficulty, filtered into the eatery, the Cannady Memorial
It was a large, open building, with big windows all along
the walls. It was so bright outside that the interior lights
didn’t need to be turned on to see properly, at least at the edges
of the building. The interior was divided by wooden pillars,
counters, and small panels instead of walls, and you could hear
the sound of several of conversations echoing against the polished
andesite floor. It was designed to be utilitarian, industrial, and
minimal at some long gone time. After years of use, redecoration,
and the wear & tear of hundreds of people, the student cafeteria
now had the feel of a local diner, or a bowling alley.
Kenji sat at a table, in a booth with its back to one of
the wood dividers. Vert walked up to the table from the side, with
a plastic bag. She flopped into the wooden chair, and set the bag
down. There were two to-go boxes inside, and she took the top one
out and handed it to him.
Here ya go.
He nodded. His eyes were heavy, and he wobbled a little bit as he
opened the package that contained the utensils. Vert opened her
own box. It was a fried egg on top of two pieces of toast, with
two breakfast sausages and some burnt bacon slices next to it.
Kenji opened his own box looked and down at it, without
expression. It was white, bleached rice, with some burnt speckles
here and there, far more dry than he’d assumed it would be. Three
dill pickle spears were off to one side. One of them was far older
than the others, wrinkles and dark splotches on one side of it.
Vert peered down into his box, and looked offended on his behalf.
Oh, what?? Is that really what they gave
you? Uhg, I’m so sorry, man. she sighed,
this was, like, the closest thing that they had. No soup, no salad
He looked back up at her
It’s fine. It’s fine, thank you. Don’t
worry. he nodded at her. He picked up one of the pickles and
took an experimental bite out of the end. It wasn’t good, but he
could handle it. He shrugged, then took another bite, and
swallowed. The satisfied feeling of something in his stomach was
short-lived, as an unexpected sensation of nausea and vertigo
washed over him. He grabbed the table to steady himself. He was
hungrier than he realized. He tried to remember when the last time
he ate was.
One slice of cake, and ice cream he remembered.
The only substantial thing I had to eat yesterday was a bowl of
tea-flavored ice cream. He took a deep breath and looked back
up to Vert.
You uh… she’d had her eyebrows raised,
alright? Is it bad? she gestured at the food.
Oh, no no, it’s aah, it’s fine. I just…. Don’t worry, I’m
Alright. she chuckled,
I mean, you say that, a
lot, but you looked like you were about to barf over there. I can
get you something else if you want, it’s no problem.
Hahhah, noo, no, it’s okay. It’s not… that it’s bad,
I’m sorry. I really wish I’d’ve looked at it before I gave it
Really, it’s fine. My stomach is just….
he put a hand to his mouth,
It was just really empty.
Ohh, I see. Yeah, yeah, I understand. My mom gets that way when
she doesn’t eat for a while.
Do you want me to get you something from the lunch buffet
Hmmm… maybe. If it’s not a problem.
Yeah, yeah, no, it’s not a big deal. I was gonna get
something anyway before they closed for the uh,
Mmm. Kenji nodded.
When is that?
Oh, about 1pm, or so. We've got plenty of time to
He nodded again. He didn’t eat at the public cafeteria often, as
most of his food was snacks he bought at the grocery store, or
worse, gas stations. It was often too crowded and loud in the
cafeteria for him to be comfortable eating, and today was the same
So… hey. Can I ask you a question?
Hai. I mean, sure. Yeah.
Why… why did you join the paranormal club?
Oh, haha. he looked off to the side and chuckled, but
A few reasons. Selfish, embarrassing, maybe.
What do you mean?
I… he paused, looked to the side again, and took a drink
from his water.
Yeah. I think you’ve said that much
He nodded again.
It’s just… your friends there are kinda… intense. Too
much, for me.
What do you mean?
Like… she lowered her voice,
they were all just…
okay with straight up attacking somebody. Like, they
basically killed somebody.
Kenji held his hands up, and lowered his voice too,
Hey, I… I
wasn’t there. I don’t, ano, didn’t know they would do that. I
Oh, yeah, I know, I wasn’t blaming you or anything. It’s
just…. she looked away and sighed,
Like, the first
thought that what’s-his-name, Warren had was straight-up
kidnapping, and then, like, it escalated to killing
somebody? she looked back at him,
immediately? Like, holy shit, dude.
He looked back at her,
In their defense, he was dead
already. A ghoul, remember.
Well, yeah, okay, sure, but like… still. she put her
left hand up to the side of her face, and Kenji could tell from
her expression that she had a hard time finding the right words.
That’s like, movie stuff. Like TV show adventure kinda
malarkey. I can’t imagine something like that in real life. Even
though he tried to hurt us… I can’t not see it as, like,
ganging up on some old guy in a back alley or something and….
she shook her head and looked overwhelmed,
I can’t do that,
even if he was evil or gonna kill us all or
whatever. Call me old fashioned or whatever.
No, no, I understand, I do. My thoughts are… I… don’t know what
to think yet. I feel… as though I’m along for the ride. I think
that’s how you say that.
Mmhm, yeah. Alright. I can’t, I can’t handle that though.
she shook her head.
Sorry, sorry. she leaned back in her chair.
mean to like… talk about this kinda thing, and if I uh… if I
didn't make much sense. I'm… not good with words when I'm stressed
out, or worked up, or whatever. I didn’t mean to get worked up
about it this morning, I swear. I just kinda… had to get it out of
It's okay, I know what you meant.
Kenji took his spoon and scooped up some of the rice. It
didn’t taste like much, and he didn’t think it was supposed to be
crunchy on purpose. He kept eating it anyway. He had to expend an
unexpected amount of force to get it down his throat, and he took
another drink afterwards.
As for the club, why I joined… it’s a few things. he poked
around his rice with the plastic spoon.
Oh, yeah? Sorry for like… kinda changing the subject, right
after I brought it up.
It’s fine, it’s fine. he paused, then looked up at her,
from his meal.
It was dreams, at first.
Mm. Dreams interested me. I did work on that for a
Cool, that’s cool.
But the second thing, it was… he looked down,
to… no, I ah… I need to… he shook his head, then looked
back up to her,
speak to the dead. I need to know what happens
Oh, wow. she raised her eyebrows,
a tall order! Outside of like, a religion or something.
I prefer not to say. Usually. he said, as he looked out the
…I need to talk to someone. In particular. he
looked back over to her,
That is all I can say, for
I see. she nodded, and it was her turn to look away. She
had a feeling about what he meant, but decided not to give in to
her curiosity. She’d noticed the number of times he’d avoided
looking at her.
And the club, they uh, they can help you with
Maybe. We aren’t sure. They’re trying, for me. Helping me find
out if I can. If it's possible.
Alright. That’s cool. That's uh… nice of ‘em, I guess. Were
those the only reasons?
Ohh, he chuckled, and smiled for the first time since he
There is another reason, but, it’s a secret. I've…
found out… things about myself, after coming here.
Oh? You can't tell me? she smiled too.
More that… I don't think… you would believe me. Something
special, that I can do.
Aww now I’m really curious! Well, you don’t have to tell
me, if you don’t want to.
Kenji nodded and smiled, looking down to pick at his food.
Mmm. Well, okay. So… why did you come to Brightvale? If
you don’t mind me asking. You can’t research that kind of stuff in
Well, maybe. But, he shook his head,
not safely, not
these days. Besides, I didn’t go to Brightvale for the
No, I had to leave. It’s… complicated to explain.
Okay. A lot of things in your life are complicated,
He chuckled again.
Hah… yes, unfortunately. Can you tell that
complicated was one of the first words from here I
I spent a long time getting the…
pronunciation on that one right. …I’m not a very lucky person, I
It’s okay. he shook his head, but still smiled.
…So if it wasn’t the supernatural stuff, why here?
The school, the teachers. he said
To study a certain
thing. I want to be a
neuro-surgeon, so I came to this
school. That’s also when I found the Paranormal Club. It was a
Oh, wow! I didn’t know that’s what you were going to school
for! That’s pretty cool. Also… sounds pretty hard.
Yeah. It will take… a long time. I‘ll try my hardest.
She smiled again.
Cool, cool. I hope it all works out! Even the
whole, uh, talking to the dead… thing.
Thank you. And ah, thank you… for getting me out of there. The
library, I mean. I just realized that I never thanked you for
that. I’m sure that a lot of people would have just run
Of course! It’s… it’s no problem, it’s uh… it was really scary,
but like… I had to, you know? I couldn’t live with myself
if I’d just left you there. I wouldn’t want to let anyone down
I understand. Kenji nodded again.
Sechson turned off his security system, and unlocked the
door. Warren and Rei walked in from the sunset outside. They both
took the time to take off their shoes, though Warren looked
uncomfortable doing it. Rei’s face was blank. She had a white
dress on, instead of her normal orange, and round black sunglasses
that he couldn’t see through. She had no expression on her face,
and she didn’t take the glasses off as she entered.
Hey Warren, happy Poogle day!
It's uh… the Poogle Parade is happening today. You're a
Oh. Yeah, I guess I am. Nah I don't… he shook his
pay attention to that kind of stuff. Thanks
Sechson nodded, then turned to Rei
Oh, hey! You look
Mmmmhm. she walked over to the wooden table, sat in one of
the chairs, then she leaned back with one arm on the table.
Sechson could tell something was wrong just by the way she moved,
and the tone of her voice.
Are… are you alright? Is everything
His expression changed to worry, and he looked at Warren.
Warren stared back.
Whaddya lookin at me for?
W— he raised his shoulders,
I’m— I mean, I’m just
curious. he swallowed and put his hand to his neck,
wanna make sure everything’s okay. I thought I might’ve done
something wrong. Was it uh, maybe I said something…?
Rei spoke, but didn’t change her expression:
You’re fine. You
didn’t do anything. I’m not mad at you.
Kenji walked in with his gaze on the ground. He took off
his shoes and left them at the stone step, then looked up. He saw
Rei wearing her sunglasses indoors, her white outfit, and her cold
expression. He raised his eyebrows, then looked away. Sechson
could hear him mumble
himself, as he fast-walked around Warren, to the other side of the
Okay… I— I gotta know. Sechson shook his
What happened? I mean, if that’s uh, okay to talk about.
Somebody I like died.
Oh… oh my God, I’m so sorry! I thought you were
angry. Are you okay?
I am angry. she paused, then turned her head towards
I’m only sad for a little while. After I’m done bein sad,
I get pissed. she turned her head back to look out the window
to the front lawn,
That’s pretty much all there is to say on
Ahh. he nodded and shuffled a bit, and slunk away to sit in
the chair next to her.
Well. Warren sighed,
Everybody’s either pissed off or sad about something. Great for
the meeting. I’m marinating in the atmosphere.
Mmmmhm. Getting a nice patina? Rei asked.
Oh, hush, you. He frowned at her and shook his head. He
couldn’t tell if she had looked at him or not, her glasses opaque
from his angle.
Warren looked around at everyone.
Yeah, no. I’m skipping the
whole he said,
welcome to the paranormal club intro,
it’s starting to annoy me.
I like hearing it. Rei spoke in a flat tone.
Too bad, it blows. Besides, it’s not like everyone hasn’t heard
Rei turned her head to look at him without any ambiguity.
For a moment he stared back, then rolled his eyes, enough that his
whole face followed along. He sighed, again.
Fine, alright. Warren pulled out the laminated
sheet from his jacket, and inhaled:
We now open this meeting of
the Paranormal Club. Lucid dreams, tulpas, ghouls, super powers,
and psychic phenomena. Things the wider world of Neopia dismisses
as fantasy. But we know better, that these things are real,
ordinary, even. This is where us students of Brightvale University
of Magic come to talk, learn, and experiment with the unknown.
Warren put the sheet back into his jacket, then sat down at the
That reminds me… Kenji.
He looked up. Kenji had one of the library books open as
Warren had read the club’s introduction speech.
Yeah. I completely forgot to ask you this yesterday, but uh… how long do
we have these books for?
Uhm…. Kenji looked down, reached into his backpack, and
pulled out a thick piece of paper only a little larger than his
hand. The stationary on the back was of a yellow and green color
scheme, and emblazoned with the solar crest of Brightvale.
expires in… one week. From when… I got them. Next Saturday… ano,
Okay. That works. Warren looked over at Sechson,
there ya go. Better get to readin. Sorry to boss you around, but
you’ve got homework to do.
Yes, I understand. I’ve actually finished one
Sechson lifted up a book, titled Odontomancy & Tooth Magic
Throughout the Ages.
Hmm. Tooth magic? Didn’t think you’d be interested in that kind
of thing. Well, that’s something at least. Warren
turned to Rei again.
What about you?
She looked back over at him.
Hm? What about
Oh. she looked away again.
That. That’s not
Sechson tried to put on a friendly tone as he spoke to her,
Warren gave you homework too?
No, no. she said,
Not for the club. College. I was
supposed to do my destruction magic homework today.
Your thesis. Warren reminded her.
She turned to Warren,
Yeah, I know. then to Sechson,
Brand new spell. Fire and light magic combined into a big
fuck-off explosion. I mentioned it yesterday I think. I don’t
Oh, wow. That sounds pretty cool.
Thanks. But uh… she shook her head,
I’m way too pissed
off to be workin on somethin like that right now, I’ll prolly kill
somebody on accident.
Warren crossed his arms,
Sure, maybe. Just make sure you get it
in on time. It’s really important to your grade.
Yeah. Thanks for the reminder, dad.
Warren scrunched up his face in annoyance. The corner of her mouth
tilted up into the smallest smile she could manage, and she let
out a chuckle.
There was a sound of metal, a slide into place with a
click, like a lock being turned somewhere. Sechson’s ears perked
up, and he looked around. No one else had heard it. He shook his
head, and he assumed that he’d just imagined it.
Well. Warren brought up a silver suitcase from
under the table. Sechson blinked and shook his head, as he was
sure that there wasn’t a case under his table before, and Warren
didn’t have it with him when he came in,
I don’t really have an
assignment, or anything, for y’all to do next. Lucine
hasn’t contacted me yet with any new information, so all this in
here is still the same as last time.
Sechson pushed aside the book in front of him, and leaned closer
to the suitcase full of ghoul sightings,
Oh, wow, we’re
bringing this out already?
Yeah. I feel like we’ve dropped the pretense of this being a
normal club for a while now. Plus, the mood in here is friggin
dreadful. he turned to Rei again,
I don’t suppose you’re in
the mood for poker?
Well, alright th—
There was a knock at the door.
Everyone’s attention went to it, and no one said anything
for a few seconds. The sun had gone down, by now, and there was
nothing but darkness outside. Warren pulled the briefcase back
under the table. He broke the silence, and glanced at Sechson,
…You expecting anybody?
No… he shook his head and looked just as concerned,
I’m not. Sechson scooted back in his chair, stood up, and
walked to the door.
Did anyone invite anyone? Warren looked around,
Kenji shook his head.
Rei turned to Warren
I didn’t see anyone walk up.
Warren gestured at Sechson, who’d already gotten to the door,
So we’re just gonna open the door for any asshole that walks up
I mean… yes? It’s a free country.
Not as free as you think it is.
Look, I just wanna know who’s out there.
Fine, whatever. he threw his hands upward and looked away,
It’s not my house.
Sechson turned and opened the door. On the other side was
a Kyrii, tall, with speckled white hair. He wore a suit that even
Sechson thought was expensive, black covered with small accents of
gold. The stranger bowed his head.
Evening, he looked around the room,
Uhm. Sechson put his weight onto the back foot, and looked
the stranger up and down,
Hello, sir. May I help you with
Mm. Possibly. he stared back at Sechson, then looked over
everyone else. His eyes met Warren’s, then Warren’s clothes, then
his hands. He did this for every one of them, over the course of
six seconds, looking over them the way a chess player would scan
the opponent’s side of the board. Warren’s gaze went downward, as
the Kyrii’s attention went back to Sechson. The stranger had a
sword on his belt.
This wouldn’t happen to be the
would it? Am I in the correct place?
Before Sechson could answer, Warren spoke up, and gripped the
table with one hand in panic:
Close the door.
Hm? Sechson turned,
The Kyrii leaned his head in to get a better look inside. His eyes
drifted over to the empty fireplace. Above the mantle, the shoddy
banner that proclaimed
Welcome to the Paranormal Club still
Mm. he began to take off his jacket,
The tone of Warren’s voice rose, and so did he out of the chair.
Sechson, close the door. Close the door
The stranger had folded his jacket, and tossed it aside onto the
bench by the door. Warren watched it flop down on it through the
window, illuminated by the inside lights. Sechson saw the fear in
Warren’s eyes, and turned back around. Under the jacket was a
transparent plastic suit, and under that, a striped white dress
shirt. He raised a scarred and wrinkled hand above the Bori’s
head, digits positioned to snap, and pointed them towards the
Oh fuck. Warren mumbled to
himself, as he gripped both hands to the table.
Scatter! he yelled,
Everybody get the hell out of here!
as he flipped the table onto its side, using it to shield Kenji
and Rei from whatever was about to happen.
Tariq snapped his fingers, and magical lightning lept from
it. The bulb in the fixture exploded, and there was a flash of
light. Power surged through the copper in the walls, and the wires
singed the wallpaper with black & brown lines. Lights throughout
the entire house blew, electrical outlets snapped and crackled,
and for a few moments, it sounded like they were all inside a bag
of microwave popcorn.
Warren seized up and shouted in pain, as magic had leapt
from the wires in the wall to his body. He fell with a heavy thud,
like a statue hitting the ground. There was a muffled sound of
glass shattering, and of things falling out of his vest pockets
and onto the floor. It went from flashes of light, to darkness, as
all the lights inside were broken.
Sechson had obeyed Warren’s command without a thought, and
ran out of the living room, through the door opposite to the
kitchen. On the other side of the threshold was a nook where the
landline telephone sat. He picked up the phone and started to mash
on the buttons to call the police. There was no dial tone. He
pulled it away from his ear, and he realized that it was warmer
than it ought to be. His eyes began to adjust to the dark, and as
light shone in from a streetlamp outside, he saw there were black
stains on the speakers.
He turned his head over to the door. Tariq closed it
behind him. Sechson bolted away, and a moment later, electricity
shot against the table he had been leaning against.
What’s going on?? Who are you? Why are
you doing this? Sechson shouted.
A cyan streak of magical lightning exploded from Tariq’s hand, and
hit the wall.
Mmmm. he grunted after he realized that he’d
missed. He began to walk deeper into the house.
simple. he spoke into the dark,
You all kill ghouls. And I
happen to be one of those. Therefore, I have come to kill every
single one of you, before you can do the same to me and my
The stranger had walked down the hall, followed Sechson,
and fired magic into the dark. Everyone’s eyes were beginning to
adjust to the darkness, as light from streetlamps came in through
the windows. Warren shook and began to pull himself up, still next
to the upturned table. He looked over, and saw Kenji and Rei were
still hiding behind it. He scowled.
Hey. he whispered at them,
What are you two still doing
Kenji shook his head,
We won’t abandon you.
Don’t give me that cartoon hero shit, that’s not what I told
you to do. I appreciate it, but I’m gonna be fine, you need to get
out of here.
You didn’t sound fine. Rei frowned back at him, as
she took off her sunglasses,
You sounded like someone cut your
Doesn’t matter. If I tell you to run, you run. You’re
lucky he didn’t check here first. Warren wobbled to his feet.
I’m going after him. Don’t follow me.
Electricity. Rei stared at him.
Warren looked back.
What? Yeah? What about it?
That hurts you doesn’t it?
What gave you that impression? It’s not gonna kill me, it just
hurts like hell. he pointed at them.
I’m gonna be fine. I
need everybody but me out of this house, he jabbed his
finger towards the door,
I’m taking care of this.
Absolutely yes! Get out of here!
The sound of Sechson’s bare feet came from down the other
hall, and Warren looked over. He hadn’t been deep enough into the
house on his own to realize that the hallways on opposite sides of
the house were connected. The Bori came in, and skidded to a halt
when he saw everyone.
W- what?? What’s everybody still doing in here? I led
him in a circle!
They’re being morons, that’s what’s happening.
Rei stood up from behind the table.
Can it, Warren, we’re
taking this guy out.
No! You’re not listening to me! Just get out of
the house! I will handle this!
What, the same way you handled that other guy?
Yes, actually. Now get out of
Uhh… that might be a problem. Sechson looked around.
What? Warren looked exhausted,
When I was leading him around… I checked a bunch of the
windows, and the back door. It’s locked. Everything is locked. I
can’t get any of the windows open.
More magic. Rei crossed her arms.
When the hell did they do that?? Warren
I don’t know. he shook his head.
Maybe even before they
got in here.
Looks like we gotta fight back, then. Rei said.
We are doing jack shit, everybody hides, and I take care
of it. You, Sechson, you go off and make shitloads of noise so I
can sneak up on him.
The Bori ran past, mumbled
us…, and back into the same doorway that was next
to the broken telephone. As he ran, he stomped on the ground, and
hit the walls, in an attempt to draw the intruder away from
See? Does what he’s fucking told. Not that
difficult! Warren gestured over at where Sechson had run off.
One perk of him being in a cult, I guess.
Warren shut the hell up. Were doing this together.
No, we are not! Next, you, the two of you—
Lightning shot out from the kitchen, and through Warren.
He yelped as he was thrown off his feet.
Too much cooperation. Tariq shook his head. As he
walked out of the kitchen, his hand went into the left pocket of
his black slacks, and pulled something out. It was a small orb,
only a little larger than a pea, and black as the night sky
outside. He lifted it above his head, and crushed it between his
thumb and his fingers.
A sphere of darkness spread out from his hand, and wiped
away all the light in the room. Rei readied a spell of light
magic, but something was wrong.
It pains me to waste such an expensive item on this, but…
clearly, it is not dark enough in here. the intruder
said to himself.
She couldn’t see the light from the spell, its light didn’t hit
anything but her own arm. She released it where she thought the
ghoul was. Nothing happened. Missed.
She felt lightning magic hit her. The electric shock
pushed her back, painful at first, then replaced with a
disorienting numbness. Rei hid back behind the table, which she
could no longer see. She blinked in confusion, as she looked at
her hands. They were lit just the same as before. She looked
around, but there was nothing but pure black, except for herself.
Kenji could only see himself as well, and could hear Rei as she
shuffled behind the table. He tried to follow, but tripped over a
table leg in the process.
Hmhmhm. From the way the Bori spoke, you’d think you
were all hapless bystanders. I know otherwise.
Warren lifted his head up, and pointed it at the sound of Tariq’s
What the hell do you think you know?
I know enough. You are the warriors who have slain
…What? I’m sorry, who?
The scholar. Worshipper of Adzrameiuch. And an employee of the
same master I work for.
Scholar… you mean…? Warren’s mind went back to the first
ghoul they’d fought.
Oh. That guy. I… we didn’t get very many
You killed him before you even knew who he was? Who he was
looking for? Mhmhmhm. Idiots. Knuckle-dragging brutes.
Well, it doesn’t matter, anymore.
Mmhm. I’m going to find what Alder found first, and the
lot of you are not going to get in my way.
What did he find?
If you don’t already know about it, why do you expect me
to tell you? Hell, why do I even bother talking? I don’t have to
explain myself to peons.
Rei fumed from behind the table.
Did he just call me a
Warren didn’t reply, and struggled to stand back up.
You, though. Tariq pointed at Warren,
what you said. You were going to face me alone.
Warren looked up.
You’re still talkin to me?
I am. You’re the vice president, aren’t you? The one I was told
wears metal? Didn’t work out too well against lightning
Warren smiled, and let out a breath, half laugh, and half wheeze.
Yeah. Sure. That’s what it is. I’m him alright.
Well, that’s why I bothered talking. I assumed you would be
smarter than the rest of them. If you’re the strongest, then,
unfortunately… I’m just going to have to kill you
Warren had no time to react, as magic leapt from the
ghoul’s hand. He writhed in pain and screamed, and fell again as
electricity crackled across him. The air itself trembled as the
spell finished, and another spell already began to be charged.
Warren’s hand slipped on something. Some kind of powder. His eyes
widened. He bent down and began to gather up as much as he could,
forced to rely on the texture of it alone. Another volley of
lightning charged through him, and he clenched, putting his muzzle
into his elbow to muffle his own pained shout.
Kenji. Fuck. Kenji I can’t see. Rei turned
to where she thought he was,
Can you see?
Damnit. That was… that had to be…. Rei’s train of thought
was interrupted by more of Warren’s yelps. She cringed and
shuddered from the empathic pain.
That was a magical item. A
stored blindness spell….
Magic. Kenji said, and nodded out of habit, even though he
knew she couldn’t see him.
That’s right. Illusion magic. You know what that
Sechson held a busted electric lamp in his hands, and
smashed it over Tariq’s head. He stumbled, and turned. Sechson too
was blinded, but had followed the source of the electrical sounds
from behind. The ghoul put his hand onto Sechson’s face, and
shoved him to the side, where he stumbled over a chair and into
the wall with a loud crash. He turned back and began to
electrocute Warren again.
Hmm. You’re still screaming. Why? Tariq asked him,
his voice flat and without compassion.
Warren panted and continued to pull himself back up.
I’m not dead yet. Idiot. He had scrounged up something off the
floor, black dust that used to be in now-broken glass vials,
pulled it towards himself, and up against something else in his
right hand that he kept hidden. There was a sound of metal
twisting and bending.
Tariq assumed he held a dagger, and stepped backwards a
You should be dead, vice president. Flesh would have
melted from bone, by now. You’re not normal, are you?
Warren said nothing.
Tariq shrugged, and raised his hand at Warren. Another blast of
lightning came from it, and Warren screamed again. The magic
stopped, and the ghoul sighed in irritation. He unsheathed his
sword, a curved black blade with cyan engravings in the shape of
This is getting stupid. You’re wasting my
magic. Whatever you are, I doubt you’ll survive a
You think you can do it? Rei whispered to
I… I think so. It ought to count as an illusion.
Fyora's name, it’d fuckin better. Give us some room to
Kenji shaped his paw flat, all his fingers straight
together into the shape of a hand-sword, pointing downward at an
angle. He stood up, and aimed his arm in the direction of Tariq’s
voice, over the table. Kenji’s hand bent upward, in a motion
reminiscent of a light switch being flicked on. Without a sound,
and with a small spark of blue-colored light, the illusory
darkness parted, split into two perfect halves that moved away
from each other and vanished into the edges of his vision.
Tariq stood and watched. He flinched when Kenji had moved.
To him, nothing seemed to have happened.
…What was that? What did you do?
Kenji said nothing, and stared at him from the other side of the
Tariq narrowed his eyes. Warren shifted beneath him. He looked
down. He stared back at him as well. Just as Tariq realized that
they all could see again, Warren pulled a silver gun out from his
Warren fired three shots into him, and he lurched backward
with each impact. Everyone covered their ears in pain except
Warren who was only able to cover one ear. His hand loosened on
the inexplicable firearm, and it fell to the floor, twisted and
bent as though it couldn’t handle the mechanical stress of being
fired. Everyone’s ears were ringing too much to be able to hear
the gun squelch instead of clatter, and it melted into a puddle
of silver-colored liquid and spent gunpowder on the floor.
Oh, fuck!! That’s what you were hiding
from me! Gods, it stings! What is this made out of? Where did you
get…? How did…? the ghoul looked down at himself. Black
stained holes dotted his shirt and punched through his transparent
Silver… silver bullets! Unbelievable! You…
you…. He looked back up at Warren with wild eyes.
have any idea how much this dress shirt cost?? You piece of
shit! Tariq yelled as he kicked the Poogle in the head,
the force enough to heave him off of his hands & knees and into
Rei put her hand on the Kyrii’s right shoulder. He jumped
reflexively from surprise. His head turned to look at her, slow
and deliberate, his anger evaporated and replaced with confusion.
She was wearing the dark glasses she had on when he entered. His
face twisted up in bewilderment. He looked down to her hand, as
light began to pour out of it. His eyes widened, and he realized
why she’d put her sunglasses back on.
I’ve underestimated all of you. he moved to
back away from her,
I’m not going to be making that mistake
There was an explosion of yellow light. The force of it
made the windows shatter outward, and flung the door open. A
bright yellow flame engulfed the living room, fire and light magic
combined into a singular force. Even with sunglasses on, Rei
couldn’t see anything but magical fire, as she threw the full
force of her destruction magic thesis at the ghoul. The roar of
flames and the reverberations of light pounded against the walls,
as Kenji grabbed the unconscious Sechson. He couldn’t see
anything, for the opposite reason as before. As he stumbled to
where he assumed the door was, he noticed that he was
uncomfortably hot, but not in any pain. He shook his head, and
didn’t stick around to see if it would stay that way. They both
tumbled out the door, and almost fell onto the stone porch. The
yard in front of them was illuminated like the daytime sun.
Sechson woke up as Kenji carried him out to the grass, dropped
him, and turned around to go back into the house.
Kenji? Kenji!! What the…? Sechson watched on as the
living room, the entire front of his house, was in flames. He
stood up, and continued to stare into the inferno. Kenji was
visible again, and drug Warren behind him by an arm. He struggled
and heaved, not even past the doorway, like he was trying to pull
an anvil across a beach. Sechson ran forward and bent down to grab
another arm, and they both pulled. Warren was just as heavy as
Kenji had made him look, and the two of them strained to lift and
pull him from the fire.
Good God what does this guy eat, lead? Is he smuggling
weights under his shirt or something?? Sechson panted as they
managed to drag him over to the threshold. The Poogle under them
lifted his head. He looked around, fear in his eyes, then up at
the two of them.
F… fuck. Fuck! Get off of me, go! I’ll be fine! I’m good!
Just…. Warren pulled himself to his feet.
Sechson looked confused.
Just go! I mean it! he stood up.
Kenji nodded and backed off, and Sechson looked into the flames.
Rei stood there as light poured from her hands.
Hey. Hey! Warren called out to Rei, as Kenji
and Sechson backed out of the house, and into the grass.
Rei turned her head.
Are you good? Warren shouted over the flames.
Rei nodded once, then closed her hand into a fist. The light that
poured from it ceased, and the fire’s light lost some of its
intensity. Warren turned away, stumbled, then leaned against the
threshold to steady himself. Warren stopped just outside the
doorway, and turned to look at the bench beside the door, beneath
the window. It was empty. He furrowed his brow, and looked around
into the night. He shook his head, and kept moving.
Kenji and Sechson watched Warren plod out of the house and
onto the porch. Rei followed, then turned around as she exited the
door, and made a dismissive motion with her hands. The fire looked
like it sunk into the floor, a large portion of it snuffed out.
Parts of the fire continued to burn, and she paused, then made the
same motion with more force, pushing down and to the sides with
her hands in the air. There were still spouts of unnatural yellow
flame. She made an even greater effort, but it made less of a
difference than last time. She stumbled backward a step, shook her
head, and turned around. She stepped off the porch and onto the
grass with everyone else. She took off her sunglasses, hung them
on the neck of her shirt, dangled at the center by one folded arm,
and sighed, looking up at Sechson.
I’m… I’m sorry… that was the last of my magic… we’re…
someone’s gonna have to call the fire department….
She stumbled down into the grass, and Sechson caught her
before she could hit the ground. They all watched as the fire
snuffed itself out, as she lost consciousness.