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Awake By Egan Yip
Copyright 2010 by Egan Yip Cover design by Egan Yip Book design by Egan Yip All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mech anical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permis sion in writing from the author. ISBN-13: Printed in the United States of America This book is dedicated first and foremost to the One for whom this book was wri tten, then to my loving family.
-Contents1-Breaking Point...1 2-Asleep...8 3-Korgen...13 4-The Nexus...21 5-Hunger...28 6-Evening Comes...37 7-Legendary Heroes...46 8-Into the Dark...52 9-Life and Death...59 10-Blues...67 11-All Alone...74
12-First Strike...81 13-Let the Games Begin...89 14-Run For It...106 15-Fight or Flight...114 16-Battle for Mankind...123 17-Paradise...135 18-No Future...145 19-Kindred...153 20-Denial...162 21-All is Well...170
- Breaking Point Kevin Stiles stared at the computer screen, his wide eyes twitching. It was Monday morning. He had just finished pulling an all-nighter to work on h is research paper. And now it was finally done. Well, not exactly done...but it was close enough. Conclusion? Screw it, he decided. He looked at his wristwatch. 7:20. He had five minutes to reach the bus stop. Kevin glanced down at his clothes: a simple t-shirt and blue jeans. It was what he had worn the day before, but now was not the time to be picky, even if his c lothes did smell slightly of old socks. He printed out his homework and shoved i t down his backpack. On his way out he stopped by the bathroom, splashed cold wa ter on his face, combed his hair, gargled with mouthwash and dabbled a bit of co logne over his shirt-all under thirty seconds. Then he rushed to the front door and eyed the table of the living room. His lunch bag wasn't there. Kevin heaved a sigh. Mom forgot. Again. I guess I'll just have to buy lunch. Out the door he went, hurrying to the far end of the driveway. Andrew Shoemaker , his next-door neighbor, sat on the curb, leaning against the oak tree. Andrew had on a dress shirt and baggy slacks. Within this suburban area, they both atte nded the same public school, Rockville Middle. They were both in the eighth grad e. In fact, Andrew also attended a few of his classes, though Kevin couldn't rea lly remember which ones. Kevin stood next to Andrew, glimpsing at his watch again. 7:25. He looked down the street. No sign of the bus. No loud screeching. No flashing lights. Nothing. Though the bus driver was known to be punctual, it wouldn't be the first time s he was late. Tired, Kevin closed his eyes for a moment. Andrew played with a broken stick, t apping it against the asphalt. They both waited quietly for the bus to arrive. T he silence lasted for a while. Andrew finally spoke up and said, "What time is it?"
Kevin took one hard look at the time. "Seven forty-five!" "School's going to start," said Andrew. "Maybe we should walk. It's only two mi les." "Only two miles?" Kevin rolled his eyes. "Can your parents give us a ride?" Andrew shook his head. "My mom's working." "Same. My parents are always out the door at seven." Kevin sighed. "Looks like we don't have a choice. We're going to be late." They headed down Grace Drive, quietly following the sidewalk. The silence made Kevin uncomfortable. He felt the need to say something. However, they never real ly talked much and had almost nothing in common. Kevin said suddenly, "Aren't you in my history class?" Andrew replied, "Front row. Third seat." "Did you do the research paper?" "Just barely. Did it all last night." "Me too!" Kevin chuckled. "It was like midnight when I remembered to do it! I t yped it up all morning. Just used websites for sources. What'd you do yours on?" "Alexander Hamilton." "Wow, the guy who discovered electricity?" "You're probably thinking of Benjamin Franklin-though I wouldn't say he discove red electricity." "Then the guy who invented the telephone?" "Alexander Bell." Kevin's interest waned. "Well, whatever. Hamilton's probably not that famous an yway." Andrew raised a brow but stayed silent. On their way to school they passed by a large house surrounded by short walls o f stone. It was eye-catching to say the least-with its pink window frames and re d roof. A black cat reclined on the wall, licking itself clean. It stopped as so on as it caught Kevin's attention. Its eyes glazed, it stared at the two boys as they walked past. Kevin couldn't help but stare at its dilating pupils. The cat 's gaze was entrancing. From out of nowhere a yellow Labrador rushed to the wall, barking profusely at the cat. Startled by it, Kevin averted his eyes, hoping not to catch the mutt's attention. After the two boys reached the end of the block, the barking stopped. Kevin glanced back. The two animals sat beside each other, watching the boys di sappear around the corner. Kevin looked at Andrew to see if he was also curious about it, but Andrew paid it no mind. Kevin couldn't resist taking another look. That scene kept replaying in his head. He spun around. However, the animals wer e gone.
The door didn't budge. Kevin cocked his head. t he school looked modern. "Today is Monday. covering several rows of benches. Built only ten years ago. they were nearly fifteen minutes late." "Hmm. grabbing a lone brick from the grass nearby. "Out of the way. However." she snapped. someone came from behind them and pushed Andrew aside. The glass doors of the entrance wer e closed. tiles and grass." Kevin and Andrew finally arrived at Rockville Middle School." a girl growled. . "Isn't that against the law?" Abruptly." said Andrew. Compared to the ot her schools nearby. Katie rattled the handle. He winced."What's wrong?" Andrew asked. The American flag rested on a tall po le in a circular driveway. "I didn't say-" "Shut up and watch." "I know what you mean. shaking his head.. "It's locked. "I don't know. There was now a big opening through the doorframe. but then again. The glass shattered. exchanging glances. Kevin said flatly." Kevin pondered for a moment.. Katie's black hair reached her shoulders.. Kevin looked to his left. clean and sturdy." "Could it be a Holiday?" "March twenty-third? What holiday would that be?" "Spring break?" "That's in April for us. A long canopy served as shade for the front entrance.. Exasperated. "Maybe it's a new l ate-kids-aren't-allowed-in policy. Kevin rubbed his eyes. A girl brushed past them. right?" Andrew scratched his head." Katie glared at him. It usually had buses flowing in and out. Kevin did find something most odd. The two boys stood in front of the school. She straighten ed out her dark blue jacket as she approached the front doors." Andrew replied. hanging over her face. All the buses were probably l ong gone by now. scattering shards all over the concrete. "You think I didn't figure that out?" Kevin raised a brow at her. Kevin said. The brick must've been left over from the construction. looking concerned. I think I'm starting to see things. Rockville Middle was pretty new. Katie Evans. "Yesterday was Sunday.. He recognized her from math class-though she hadn't showed up in class for the longest time. Katie pulled her arm back and then launched the brick into the door with all he r might. screaming. He said half in jest. she kicked the door. "Lack of sleep will do that to you.
" . "I think I'll just go home. No one at sch ool. He kno cked again. Kevin slowly twisted the doorknob and opened the door. There was still no response. "It's Katie! She didn't go to clas s. "He's not answering. And you'd be dumber than dumb to rat. Maybe he's got some answers. He shouted. The only soun ds they heard were the annoying squeaks of their sneakers echoing off the walls. Kevin shot her a dirty look as she stopped by her locker. The room was empty." "Maybe we should just go home. carefully stepping over the threshold. Aren't you afra id of getting in trouble?" "No one's going to find out who did it. He could see no sign of anyone having been in there recently. it was typical to hear the m umble of lectures or class discussions. It rang three times. Don't bother thanking me. It's Monday! Where'd everyone go?" Andrew said. just in case." Kevin caught a fleeting sight of her as she ran past. He always sleeps in when there' s no school. Normally. "I thin k I'll call Brad. Just up the road. Kevin grunted. Just buy m e lunch and we'll call it even. "Hey. Frustrated. "No buses. Though the halls were usually quiet at this time. Kevin snapped." She snickered." said Andrew." "Is that okay? I don't know him. "How's that for locked?" She brushed the broken glass asi de with her sneakers." said Kevin. Kevin and Andrew ca utiously followed her. let's stop by his place and see if he's home. It's not like it always has to be a rea l holiday. "Maybe today is a day off. "I can't believe you just did that. "We'd better get out of here bef ore someone sees us. everyone would be sitting in class by now ." He motioned for Andrew to follow him." Kevin thought of something." She waved goodbye and left.Kevin stared at the broken door. Kevin knocked. He quickly cance led the call and tried again." "Not yet. "Looks like she's going h ome." "That's okay. But today was extra quiet." The halls were dead silent. See what he's up to. He lives really close to school. "WHAT DO YOU THIN K YOU'RE DOING?" Katie laughed loudly." said Andrew dryly. "I'll be going to class now." "Then how come no one told us about it?" "Look." Kevin called his friend. No one answered. No one was picking up. pointing down the hall. Not a single person in sight. They arrived at the door of the main office." Kevin reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. Once inside. "This is getting really weird and freaky. No response. "She's got some screw s loose. his mouth agape.
This is getting ridicu lous. It was totally unrealistic." He slowly opened the door and peered inside. Max cocked his head and whined. I said WAKE UP!" He screamed into B rad's ear. Kevin's eyes narrowed. he handed it to Kevin. smacked his shoulder and finally jostled the bed. He stood by the door of the bedroom. come on. as Kevin stared at Brad. yelling. Kevin took Brad's pillow and whacked him ov er the face with it. "Brad. "Brad! Are you here?" Kevin went straight for his friend's room. it was definitely a step up from his neighbo rhood. Kevin thought." Andrew nodded and left the room. After feeling the cold moistu re on his face. It's almost nine. curious. "Wow . like something out of a bad hor ror flick. " Brad's house was located in a residential community behind the school. The wooden sta irs ahead curved upward to the second floor. as though he disapproved of what the boys were doing to his owner. "Wake up. Kevin to ok an ice cube and rubbed it all over Brad's face. Kevin told Andrew. He waited but no one came to the door. The furnished living r oom was on their right and the fancy dining room was on the left. "Our families are really close... Resting by the side of his bed was his collie. Kevin folded his arms. but that was it. Andrew heard the yelling. What if he couldn't wake up? As he pondered over this concept. "Get me som e ice. Kevin said hesitantly. Brad was in bed. While waiting for Andrew to return." He reached into his pocket for a key. an idea popped in his head-a strange idea. I stop by after school pretty often. Though it was n't really that amazing of a house. His mom did n't leave the lunch bag on the table like she usually did. He rapped on the door and said. he began recalling simple things. He didn't even stir." Then. "I knew it! You were sleeping!" He stood by the bed and gently shook it.. And the whole way the .. Kevin ran up the staircase. "Is everything a ll right?" Kevin startled tickling Brad by the neck and waist. If he's home. stomping dirt over the brown rug. "I'm coming in. Brad twitched. "You have a key to his house?" Kevin unlocked the door and entered. It was a two-story house with blue siding."Sure. Brad continued slee ping. Max. He kic ked the footboard. He won't mind. "I wonder where e veryone went. He yelled and shouted with all the air in his lungs. we can hang out. Whe n Andrew came back with a mug full of ice cubes. Andrew glanced around the exterior of the home in great interest. The dog raised hi s head to look up at Kevin as he entered the room. Kevin knocked on the door a few times and ran g the bell twice." With a sly grin. he's usually pretty ticklish.wake up already. snori ng loudly.one that was impossible. Andrew looked at him. Nothing he did managed to even disturb Brad's deep sleep. He's fine with everything." They crossed the hall. The door was closed. Brad just rolled over.
"What should we do?" "I don't know. After a long period of contemplation. Kevin stared morosely at the road. hoping they'd be annoyed. Andrew broke the silence." ." "That'd be good. Kevin sprinted to the master bedroom and kicked the door open.. he pinched their cheeks. He kept screaming and screaming until his voice cracked. hoping they' d scold him. Breathless. A bad dream. Their fears were confirmed. hop ing they'd be angry. but cou ld it be true? What if everyone was asleep. They just sat there. Andrew fell back on the lawn and gazed at th e sky. Just a moment before. or a single person other than Katie.. After he caught his breath. He cried out the most profane things possible. His mother and father were still asleep. as if nothing happe ned-or as if nothing was ever going to happen. Kevin had g one to check up on Andrew to see how his mother was doing. his heavy book bag bouncing up and down h is back as he ran. "We could wait. wanting to know if it was possible. Was this the end of the wo rld? He had no idea." "And that'd be an understatement. Kevin stooped over the side of their bed. they did not see a car.y walked to school. When they reached their block. But to him. His eyes wide open. This has got to be a bad dream! Tears pouring down his cheeks." "Could we try calling someone else? Maybe this is just a neighborhood thing. He wondered about the implications. "Come on! We're going home right now!" Kevin raced down the street. until he finally brok e down. Kevin squatted by the side of the bed. biting his nail nervously. He covered his damp eyes with his hands and screamed his lungs out. it sure felt like it. the two boys ran to their homes. Kevin barked. He wonder ed if they would ever wake up. Could his pare nts still be sleeping in bed? He prayed to God that it was all just his wild ima gination. "What's wrong?" asked Andrew. Then he wondered if he would wake up from this ni ghtmare. Confused. It was a ludicrous idea to be sure. he straightened up and gaped at t he bed.. They did nothing. Everyone w as asleep. he gazed at them for several minutes. He shook them. he stood at the door sill.and couldn't wake up? Kevin knitted his brow. gulping air. . It might be temporary. Andrew struggled to keep up.. Like mayb e everyone is just incredibly tired and they'll be awake by tomorrow.and there was nothing they could do about it. but Andrew had simply replied with a solemn shake of his head.Asleep Kevin and Andrew sat down at the curb." Kevin replied.
Kev in counted the number of times it rang. it didn't even reach five. emotionless. wait! Don't goodbye me! We need-" The woman hung up rather quickly. After we get some rest then we can do whatever we want. Kevin threw his cell phone over his shoulder and sat back down. "What?" ." Andrew stopped and gulped. "Want to play video games?" Kevin turned slightly to see Andrew with the corner of his eye. But there's." Kevin thought for a moment. "At a time like this?" Andrew shrugged. sounding frightened. It'll be easy. "Hey! Is this 9-1-1 emergency?" "I'm terribly sorry. "But we cannot help you at this time. Andrew hummed a single note. "I'll take a nap first. Andrew stared at Kevin. To his surprise." said Kevin. the roads are empty.." Andrew yawned. Goodbye. "True. Hello?" "Again.but we could also do other things-things we normally can't do. No life.. "I never thought of that!" Kevin hastily dialed 9-1-1 on his cell.." "You don't think.." "Isn't it dangerous to drive if you're tired?" "You're right.Kevin's face lit up. I'm terribly sorry. Please try calling back at a later date. he would hang up. No homework. He listened to it ring for a while. Nothing at all. "Well?" Disheartened." Kevin became very quiet and went back to staring at the road.. "Hello?" A woman answered." said the woman." "Wait! My parents aren't waking up.no one around at the moment. "Why not? It's not like there's anything else to do. If it reached twenty. "Like driving!" Andrew's interest was piqued. "Back to square one. Besides. "Hello!" Kevin jumped to his feet.. " She said there's no one around and told me to call back later. I think it's a coma. Kevin demanded." "Like what?" Kevin grinned. " "No. "Do you know how?" "I practiced in a parking lot recently. No school .
Depressed or not. blocking the way to his house. The cat glared at the boy s with intense eyes. Kevin froze. Both pets looked intimidating." Andrew hung his head sheepishly. searching the area.okay.. having a scar over it. he turned to see A ndrew's reaction. we'll never wake up and will probably die in our sleep.. A man's voice said." "But we have to sleep sometime. "I've got it. Kevin faced the animals again. "And?" Kevin got to his feet and thought about it for a short time. "Going to sleep to escape this nightmare. "Is someone else here?" Suddenly. Then." said the dog. "I said that. You've been practici ng ventriloquism?" The dog jumped on top of Kevin and barked. "Who said that?" Kevin spun around. "Oh.Andrew took a deep breath before continuing. "Sorry. "You're just stating the facts. that's a good one. Oh." Andrew said. For starters." The dog said." "Don't apologize. and legs." It wasn't Andrew's voice. Do you want me to prove it?" "How?" "Give me a test. "You don't think we'll end up like everyone else?" "I don't know. when he finally regained his composure." Kevin marched Kevin." said stretching out his arms ave to do something!" He he irony. "Hold it right there. But if w e do sleep." "Um. thinking of any possible explanations for this strange occurrence. you could get off me. It's not like we can just stay awake forever.." Kevin shrugged." The dog backed away and sat down. we might die from lack of sleep. Then he finally ca me up with a good idea. It was the same dog and cat from before: the yellow Labrador and the black cat. can't you see I'm the one who' s talking here?" "Okay. The Lab was blind in the left eye.. "Never waking up again. I didn't mean to. I'll prove that I can understand you." Kevin frowned.. t up the driveway. It was like his mind suddenly exploded. "I don't think so. we h smiled." said Andrew reasonably. Andrew looked just as shocked. "I don't care anymore. He gawked at the animals f or a long time. "You make it sound so depressing. "Kid.if we don't sleep. "So. "This is no hallucination." Kevin stood up..maybe I'm hallucinating. a dog and cat appeared before him. Kevin broke into laughter. Andrew." "That's a big risk to take. How about an act? If you can act like the .
cat is chasing you around. "Think about it. What if we did speak with humans? In crime scenes they'd start to look for animal witnesses. It is a temporary alliance of all pets. Kevin saw that the dog was reacting really strangely. But why do you guys sometimes ac t like you don't really understand us?" The dog explained. Gloating. The HPC is the Household Pet C oalition. As pets. We only need to speak human la nguage if we're speaking to humans. you invent. but you humans see it in a different light. "If it 's a matter of pride." The dog gazed wide-eyed at Kevin." The dog said. How much more troub le would be caused if we could communicate easily? We don't care about the thing s you care about. Your laws and rules mean not hing to us. "No. We accept death as inevitable.. We are willing to set aside our differences to protect them. It's because of this situation that we've formed the HPC. Humans all over th e world cannot wake up from their slumber. the dog looked annoyed. "I guess you have a point there. trying to create ways to increase your lifespan in any way possible." the dog snuck . that's okay. Or if we need to communicate universally. "More importantly. then I'll believe you.leaping off airplanes. The dog looked as though it was about to cry and maybe ev en faint. "Because these are desperate times." Kevin furrowed his brow. which we are agents of." "I-I don't-I can't-" The dog stuttered. "You want me to do what?" "Act like you're being chased by a cat. and you engage in strange forms of recre ation such as traveling or. we need humans to live. How would you react if you knew that th e chicken you ate could speak your own language? As animals we are in tune with nature and live by nature. You work.. why are you talking to me?" The dog replied gravely. "If it's against your law. "We've lived long enough with humans. T hey might even start applying laws against us and we'd no longer have the freedo m to go wherever we want." said Kevin." "Then why don't I normally see animals talking?" "We already have our own forms of communication." Kevin nodded. "Come on.except for fish-they're prett y useless. No. run away! You heard the boy!" "No. and the dog took a deep breath of relief. it's better if the humans did not know. "I'll never look at a piece of chicken the same way ag ain. I just want to know how you can talk. the dog slowly turned his he ad and stared at the cat in horror. the cat sneered in a female voice. They might try to use us for spying or killing. I can understand.. Shivering. but we love our maste rs." "Agents? HPC? So is this like an organization with animal agents? What does it stand for-Hungry Pet Country?" His eyes narrowing.." Kevin paused. "It is our law not to speak with humans. Not only that. He then stared at Kevin with these endearing eyes full of anxiety. we live by instinct. We are not sure why. eat whatever we want or pee wherever we want. but we don't thi nk it's natural.
he caught sight of Genesis and Lu na in the backseat with their seatbelts on.. But he did have a problem with how they were going. "Is everyone ready? All toilet. "We're strays. Andrew was having secon ds thoughts.. We are agents sent by the HPC and we will be your bodygua rds.. "I'll take that as a yes. I'm not a scientist or anything. His eyes as wide as can be. as he did so. Your science is beyond what we c ould fathom. "And I didn't say you had t o be alone. I'm not even smart. Andrew thought. "BLEACK! " He wiped his mouth with his sleeve.an angry glance at the cat." Genesis replied. h e spat whatever he drank all over the dashboard. sand and grass business done with?" Nobody responded." Genesis continued. what's this?" Kevin eagerly took a big gulp." "The only reason we are turning to children such as yourselves is because you a re the only ones we have found awake. even that friend of yours over there. On the other hand. we might fi nd a way to save the human race." Kevin cocked his head. He didn't have a problem with going to the city." "Genesis and Luna? Who gave you those names?" "We named ourselves. We welcome any humans for this task.. It was hot and bitter.. While waiting in the passenger's seat of the red sedan." said the dog. "try some of this. They should be okay. let's do this!" Kevin buckled himself into the driver's seat." said Andrew. "Then why don't you go and solve this? What's the point in coming to me about it?" "Because humans are more resourceful. Those computers and cars and such would be very useful to our inves tigation. Genesis nodded. If you feel you cannot help us solve the problem.Korgen It was late in the morning when they decided to head for the closest city. And so will you. if you stick with us.they'll al l be dead. He ad justed the rear-view mirror and.you'll never wake up." "It almost sounds like I don't have a choice. "And this is my as sociate." The dog gestured to the cat with his head. at the very least we co uld use your assistance in finding humans more suitable for the task. "All right. There was nothing to hit." "Before we go. Don't worr y about anything else. "So h ow about it? Are you in or out? I can guarantee that if you go to sleep. Kevin had explained to everyone th at the city was probably the best place to begin the investigation.like. Do you want that to happen? Your family and friends. I'm Genesis. the roads were empty." Kevin shrugged." Andrew handed Kevin a travel m ug. call ed Korgen. Did Kevin really know how to drive? Then again . at all. "Then you see things our way." said Kevin. "even if the differences go back for thousands of ye ars. "Oh. which was about twenty miles away." . "I'm only thirteen years old. Understanding your language does not mean we understand much of anything else about you.. . Luna.
We both have to stay awake for as long as we can. he passed it to Andr ew. he slowly downed the coffee. Terrified. Andrew said. Andrew screamed. shifted around and peered into the back of the car.. Kevin turned on the ignition and checked the fuel gauge." Kevin slowly recovered from the pain. You already missed a day of sleep. "Oh." Kevin lifted up the mug.. They were only a few i nches away from plowing into the neighbor's garage door. Now I hav e to back up. "You're the one driving." He examined the gearshift on his right side and moved the lever down. but his tongue was still numb. "Coffee from my house.. Kevin chuckled nervously." Andrew reluctantly nodded. "Of course.. What'd you put in it?" "Um. "So the first thing is to check mirrors.. Andrew set the GPS to d irect them to Korgen. You agreed to come alon g. My mom always drinks it like that. His eyes closed. "I drink half." Kevin said. Well. grimacing th e entire time. Kevin looked through the back window. "Wuht ith dith?" Andrew said. My mom left some near the coffee maker. vicious halt. looking at it." Then he looked at Andrew and grinned mischievously. they exchanged frightful glances. Andrew hesitated. You need it most. You should dr ink it all. There was a loud whir and squeal as th e car backed out the driveway in a matter of seconds. "The dog and cat! They're gone!" Andrew loosened the buckle. "That's true. I t hought you'd realize it was hot because it was in a travel mug. "Now. "Are you sure you know how to drive?" Sweat streaming down his cheeks. "Ahhhh! I should've warned you that it w as still hot!" His red eyes full of tears. his burnt tongue sticking out. you drink half.time to GO!" One hand on the wheel. Maybe it was something she had to get used to.. T he gas tank was almost full. Once they were done with the mug. Kevin mumbled. coffe e. I don't want you falling asleep on me. "I suppose.which I did." Kevin glanced into his rear-view mirror. Looking ahead as everything zoomed out.pain.. smashing the back of their heads against the headrest. "She drinks it black?" "It's more effective that way. The animals were no longer in the backseat..nothing." Kevin groaned.. The tires shr ieked as the vehicle came to a sudden. He couldn't compre hend how his mom could drink it so easily every morning. Kevin was shaken speec hless and he quickly hit the brakes.Andrew looked apprehensively at Kevin. Kevin stared back at Andrew with a look of contempt . Tongue dangling. he excitedly slammed his foot on the gas. it was time to begin.. I just g ot a little carried away. Gulping air. After Kevin drank half the mug. he sputtered." Andrew frowned.so I should put it in reverse. I couldn't really taste much of anything except. The sharp stop of momentum jolted them in t heir seats. . It was the bitterest thing he had ever tasted. but I'm not doing this alone.
She was wandering the streets by herse lf. The sides of the car were banged up. Just forget it and enjoy l ife while you can. just as Genesis had said. but he hadn't made any direc t collisions." Kevin scowled. Andrew tagged along. right? We should st ick together and solve this problem." Much to everyone's relief. Life ain't that easy.Curled up on the floor. Kevin was able to drive moderately well. but everyone was okay for the most part. laughing. "Wait!" shouted Kevin. the city was silent. Aside from the n oises of their car engine and tires. There was no hope. "What do you want?" Kevin said. looking like she was defying gravity. Genesis was whimpering like a pup. Andrew saw someone walking along the sidewalk. a dog an d a cat. "Likewise. Andrew tried to keep his cool. but I never thought you'd be brain d ead. There were a few near-death incidents. Annoyed." Katie had a serious look on her face before she began a mocking laughter. You want to save the world? Give it up. To their utter astonishm ent." . there's somebody over the re!" Kevin parked the car and ran out. Going down an empty highway that was usually jammed with traffic didn't just feel strangeit also felt really scary. Katie stopped and looked at them. "They just decided to get into a safer position." she said to them. The only hope for mankind's survival rested upon two teens. It's just not that simple. When they reached Korgen." said Kevin. Andrew could feel the despair and fear clawing at his chest once again." she said. "Oh great. But he seemed to have a bad habit-if you could call it that-of wanting to hit things. "You've found out about the sleeping thing too. While staring out the side window. Andrew said. There were no planes o r blimps in the sky. no honking of horns and no bustling crowds of pedestrians. glaring." "Never expected to see you here. seeing no sign of smoke from their stack s. He learned quickly. This wa s real. "It's like you guys are playing a little kid' s game. especially so late into the morning. It was unsett ling to see no one on the roads. Her back arched and her puffed up tail frozen in place. he thought it might as well be the end of the world. Luna was firmly attached to the back of the driver's seat by way of her claws. He would've never guessed. it was their classmate. There's nothing you can do about it. They were all doomed. Andrew looked to the distant factories. "What's stupid?" "Everything. "Look. It was widespread." said Katie. After seeing no one for miles. Andrew noticed the city streets packed with parked ca rs along the side. Katie Evans. "You guys again. attempting to go around them. "Are you guys stupid? I thought you were idiots.
"Oh. She picked it up.. "What a wimp. leaving a slight d ent and shoe mark." She kicked the car with all her might." Katie laughed." Kevin got back up and was about to charge at her. Taken aback. "Stop that!" She glared at him. go do all you can." Then she turned away and jeered. So pathetic." They returned to the car and continued to scour the streets for people." Katie sneered." Kevin screamed at her face. But I'll tell you right now. and if you ever touch me again. making it easier for Genesis and Luna to hop in and out of the car. "Ha! This is great! No one can stop me. And it's esp ecially great that all the adults are dead. "And now look at them." Walking away. "If you care so much. exhaling bitterly." . "See that? This car. He fell to the ground." She smiled and then proceeded to kick over a metal t rashcan. "I can do anything!" The trashcan was empty. "Just forget about it! It's okay!" Kevin struggled a bit and then pushed Andrew aside. There's no lame adult telling m e what to do with my life. It'll just waste my energy. Kevin f ound a police precinct not too far down the block. "Anythin g at all. "They're not dead! They're still breathing! And as long as I'm still breathing. she told him. They're all just selfish scum. Can't let her get to me." Then she tossed it into the window of a store and the broken glass sc attered.. Why? Because they're all dead. what good is a ll this junk?" Kevin grabbed her arm. As they walked into the building. But now..a bloody lip will be the least of yo ur worries. "You don't mean that. "WHY YOU-" Fearing what might happen. "All the work they did was for nothing! If they're dead.. Genesis said. the first stop sho uld always be the police station!" "Really?" "I sure hope so.you can't even save yourself. I'm banking on the fact that some officers have night shifts. he thought no one was around to steal the car anyway. "Of course I do! This is the best thing that's happened to me! I 'm glad this whole world is screwed up. they're all so pathetic. Kevin touched his lip and gazed at his bloodstained fingers..."But don't you want to save your family and friends?" Katie grinned. "No. Go waste your time. "Whenever a great crisis arrives. "Will we find help here?" Kevin replied confidently. I'll do all I can-" Katie punched him across the ch eek. He parked in the middle of th e road. Let's go look around. He also left the doors unlocked." She kicked the ca r again.they probably treasure it more than the ir kids. No one will pre ss charges.. Who needs such worthless crap?" Kevin was stunned by her reply. Sleeping to death. y ou're right. "You think they care? No one will arrest me." Kati e walked up to a car that was parked by the curb. "Yeah. Maybe we'll find someone with some actual common sense. his lip bleeding. They go t what they deserved. and then he left the rear windows open. Andrew held Kevin back.. "Ouch . Everyone's better off dead.
what's with kids nowadays? No respect for authori ty." The officer tried to hide his worry by forcing a grin. "Must b e a book sniper. After a s hort silence he said. We're also trying to pool together any remaining research teams in hopes they'll discover a way of solving this giganti c mess." He gestured down the hall. "There're even a few g uys sleeping on their desks. Houston and Chicago. He was fair-skinned. hospitals." The officer stared at the kids for a moment. it was too late. fit and clean-shaven. All over the country it's the same thing. I'm trying to maintain contact with whoever I can get a hold of: police departments. "So you don't know what's wrong?" asked Kevin. Kevin frowned. "We're still trying to figure that out. Los Angeles. But by the time we realized it was widespread. whoa. Startled. We're closest to Houston. He seemed to be really busy. the officer jumped out of his seat and nearly dropped the phone and p apers. kid. Some emergency personnel are currently taking the leaders of the country to a secret facility where they' ll be cared for while still unconscious. A ceiling panel had be en moved out of place. "You're darn right we've got a problem! It's not just any problem." Kevin said. the policeman wobbled. Kevin looked up at the ceiling above the officer's head. "I doubt he'll wake up now. but Kevin could see t hat the man was deeply concerned over the matter. "Excuse me. He was too engrossed i n his work to notice that the boys had entered the room. whoa! Don't sneak up on me like that! Are you trying to give me a heart attack? Seriously. but it's really more of a desperate maneuver. We do have some kind of plan. Phone held up to his ear. deep in thought. I've never hea rd of books falling out of ceilings. "Whoa.it's a M AJOR problem! No one's been coming in since six o'clock last night." said Kevin. The officer sunk into his chair. but we've got a problem-" "A problem?" As if he wanted to get things off his chest. At fir st we thought it was just coincidence-like a few isolated cases of a strange com a. "All the survivors are gathering in several locations: New York City... so w e'll go there and meet-" A thick hardcover book fell on the officer's head in mi d-sentence. Nothing I do can wake them up. "You know what? I'm going to take you kids there.. the of ficer was working at the computer with one hand and flipping through sheets of p aper with the other. fire dep artments. "Sorry about that. There's nothing we can do. The boys gaped at him." Kevin pondered over the situation. Having taken a blow to the head.but some of them aren't even responding anymore. searching frantically for something." "There's no government plan for something like this?" "A contingency plan for widespread coma? I'm sorry. but it's not like we k now the source of this problem. and then fai nted on his desk.There was an officer sitting behind the front counter." "There?" Andrew sounded confused. approaching him. "That was rather anticlimactic. the officer blurted o ut. The policeman explained. I don't think this problem is going to resolve itself and it isn't safe for you kids to stay here." . I'm the only one lef t.." Andrew remarked.
Don't be giving me orders. I'm just a hungry rat trying to get in the fridge. appearing almost fiendish. Luna began interrogating the culprit." She examined her claws. honest! I'm not trying to stop you from doing an ything!" Luna said icily. mutt!" Luna jumped up onto the counter and licked her lips. I know. Then the cat extended her claws and held them up to rat's throat. The rat squeaked. how can you make up for the damage you've done?" Arms and legs fanned out against the wall. but what can I do? Please. "I smell a rat. Do you know about the problem the humans are facing?" "You mean the sleeping?" Luna nodded. Mister rat... "There's something up there." "You bet. "Now tell me. What was I supposed to do? Take my chances? He'd be sur e to come after me with a gun. Kevin turned to Andrew and said in a low growl. "A man who lurks in the shadows. the rat squeaked. "Then why'd you knock out the policeman? What is your objectiv e?" "Look. Luna. "Where did you come from? Who do you work for? How long have you been monitoring us? Why are you trying to stop us?" "Wha-what?" Blood draining from his face. He was the only guy left in this place. the sou sha cir She . Miss. As she disappeared from ir sight..Raising a brow. "Please spare me! I didn't mean any harm!" Luna snickered and tossed the rat at the wall. The ceiling boards began to ke and crack. Luna swaggered toward it." "I know. "I find it interesting to see you rats on the move. "I know it's my fa ult. Andrew repeated. her claws looked razor sharp. The commotion above moved around in cles.then-BAM-when yo u least expect it." Luna leapt into the gap between the ceiling panels.. "A book sniper?" His face darkening. It nded like a major scuffle was going on overhead. the rat said." Andrew said stoically with a hint of sarcasm. Chase it do wn. I was just about to do that." Genesis ignored them and barked. please forgive me. rat. l icking each one carefully. We ha ve a predicament. had a small gray rat in her mouth. causing some dust to fall. "Sounds absolutely terrifying. Let me go and I promise I'll never do anything bad again!" Luna smiled. You're already invading the humans' territory openly. I swear. Kevin heard a loud caterwaul followed by some bangs and thumps. Gleaming in the light. you get knocked out by a five-inch thick dictionary. I didn't mean any harm!" Luna's green eyes narrowed. One of the ceiling panels gave way and Luna landed safely on her feet. "Well. The rat fearfully huddled in the corner. You completely messed up our plans. like t iny daggers. "This is all one big mi stake! I don't work for anyone.waiting for the right moment to strike.
so it was a welcome surprise. there is something I can do. "It's too difficult for us to go up and down ladders anyway. holding the cell phone in his mouth. Kevin waved the flashlight around and was surprised to see that this particular sewer system did have some dim square-shaped lights built along the walls. Humans are the enemy too." He paused. Holding up a flashlight." "Down?" His eyes widening. "Listen. it was a meeting place. watching their step." Genesis added. "You mean-" "Yes." said the rat. His flashlight was fairly weak. her fishy breath flowing into the rat's face. And the Nexus is the only resource we c an turn to right now. "Even what?" The rat suddenly looked guilty of something.The Nexus The Nexus. "Did you find a source of light?" Genesis asked. If it's information you want. "Come. A meeting place of rats. The two boys descended down the ladder. If anything. "Absolutely not. looking down into the darkness b elow."Well. "this way. I think. All they could see was the faint image of flowing sewage. Luna drew closer. Andrew's got the number. Even-" The rat shut up." Andrew adjusted his glasses. "So you're sure Genesis and Luna can't come?" The rat sat up and put its paws on its hips. clasping a paw over his mou th. The sewer was spacious and there was a place for them to walk. you can keep my ce ll. After they walked for nearly ten minutes. I can take the kids down. A variety of str ange odors rose up from the depths. Everyone stood over the manhole in the street. We'll contact you if things get out of hand. Genesis also drew near and said." Kevin took out his cell phone and gave it to Genesis. But only if you promise not to hurt me. Only the rat seemed to find pleasure in such nefarious stenches. Found one in the glove compartme nt. Kevin wasn't sure what a Nexus was. unpleasantly tickling their noses. they wi ll be more lenient. the rat came to a stop. "I don't like this idea of sending you kids alone. Kevin replied. but we don't have a choice. "Yeah." They headed through the tunnel. "Here. But since you are kids. a t least for the rats. it sounded more disgusting than useful. They are enemies. Genesis simply explained that. A place s tuffed with lots and lots of rats. We have to abide by their rules. its whiskers . everyone knows that." said the rat." Genesis nodded. come. "I can bring the kids to see the Nexus. gesturing with a paw." . acting rather strict.
"We're at their mercy." The guard rat ordered his fellow rats. They were eyes-hundreds of tiny eyes." "T-the queen? Why would she-" The small rat shrugged. get out of here! Scram! We want nothing to do with yo u!" "Wait!" A small rat scurried through the furry crowd." "So there was a cat?" The large rat snapped. They had reached a gathering of rodents. Kevin kept his flashlight pointed to the ground to wa tch where he was stepping. the guard said.twitching. Bring them to the queen. Norman replied. Most of these creatures were brown and gray. wouldn't be joining them. he was dragged away by a couple of black rats. It was utter darkness. "Hold it right there!" The guard said to the small rat. The guard said.. Were you forced into this?" Frightened. Kevin shone his flashlight ahead." "Helped you?" Sounding skeptical." The sea of rats parted before them. "I know nothing." A large rat stepped into the light. "As for you.. "Some of my men have informed me that a rat has been seen in the company of the accursed human pets. "What is she thinking? Fine. . "Send Norman down to the cleaning pool! Wash him clean of the beloved filth!" He examined the two boys with a scornful g lare. Andrew avoided eye contact with the rats. Andrew asked Kevin. I want to take them to the Nexus. he could tell that they resented humans by their harsh stares. "Halt! Who goes there?" The gray rat said. humans. however. It'll be quick and I promise they won't cause trouble. which were strewn across the walkway. Norman. watching the boys carefully. "The queen has commanded these kids be sent to her. Norman. Norman averted his eyes. The furry c reatures seemed to be glaring at them. leaving some walking room for them to conti nue down the tunnel. Kevin supposed i t was a guard rat. I just brought a couple of kids from the s urface. Extending his hand. "No! The cat had nothing to do with it. m aking it hard to see them." The large rat scowled. There were no more lights. To repay the favor. Numerous rodents stayed on their gu ard." The two boys followed the trail given them. Looking timid an d sad. "What is it?" The small rat replied. why'd you bring these humans down here?" "They helped me. "Norman. "Should we go?" Kevin shrugged. "But I had no chance. Even though they made no sounds. The light reflected off little glowing dots. It was almost a foot long. "You should have fought that cat t o the death!" Ashamed. "It's me.
the queen said coldly. dear children. Please! There's got to be more you can do for us! " Her red eyes gleaming. no one will. "Now be on your way and heed my advice.The sewers opened up more as they went in deeper. sure . The white rat said. "Why not?" "The Nexus is not something for outsiders. He was afraid that Kevin's outburst might have been an insult to th e queen or to the rats around them. However. Then a giant white rat crawled up the podium and sat down. You will be in grave dan ger should you choose to stay any longer." Kevin bit his lip. The rats surrou nded them. appearing as a thick blotchy carpet. "Come back here! I'm talking to you!" His teeth clenched. I'm afraid I cannot allow that. "My servants have informed me of your coming as well as the purpose of your visit. not ours. "We have nowhere to go! If y ou don't help us. I brought you here to warn you. "Help you? You still don't unders tand. Forget the others. "What do you mean by that? You're saying we di d this? Whatever's happening is our fault?" The queen disappeared into the crack . The only reason I offer you this warning is because you ar e still children. "Don't you need the humans to live? Don't you eat our garbage?" "You misunderstand. still innocent. I am ruler of Ko rgen. It is their problem. "There's nothing you can do for us?" "For you there is but one thing. he groa ned in frustration." She went to a cra ck in the wall big enough for her to squeeze through. We will suffer." "Leave? Why?" "A great power is coming-one that will seek your life. let's just go." She turned away and hopped off the cr ate. "Wait!" Kevin shouted after her. as it always has and always will." Kevin said. Andrew tugged on the back of Kevin's shirt. Leave the city and never return. We will look for other food sources. "this was a waste of time. "Yeah. "Welcome. Kevin no ticed a small rat setting a lit candle over a podium made from cheap plastic cra tes. You may call me Queen. Its fur was well groomed and shiny. but we will adapt. The humans brought this upon themselves." "You can't be serious!" Kevin desperately shouted." "But the world is in trouble! The humans can't wake up! They'll all die!" "So? The humans are not our concern. Leave the city at once." Her manner of speaking was very elegant. When they reached a spacious chamber. We hate humans. children." He was gett ing nervous. Save yourselves. but it will be for the better. The natura l order of things will rebalance." Kevin said. The Nexus is probably stupid any . He screamed. All of a sudden the rodents began squeaking." said Kevin. I know that you have come see king the Nexus. its ruby eyes sh ining by the flame. "Kevin. causing a loud commotion. Things will change. the rats stopped leaving a way for them to walk across.
Kevin whisper ed into Andrew's ear." Kevin turned to leave. he looked at Andrew. Andrew asked. He swallowed. "What's going on here? Where'd that voice come from? Lift up your foot. His eyes wandered wearily across the ra ts. but I'm not sure. "What should we do?" Kevin said. He winced as he realized he had been stepping on a li ttle white rat. Groggier than ever.. Inside. "Help. "What's wrong?" Kevin whispered. There was an elite squad of guard rats watching over them. Worried. Kevin lifted his foot up. "What? You think you're-" "Keep your voice down!" Kevin motioned for Andrew to draw closer. They qu ietly listened to the sound of pitter-patter of water drops and the sloshing of murky sewage against the concrete. "I think I might be stepping on a rat. Their only source of light was a few candle s around the walkways. "I think I'm stepping on a rat. His clothes could not save him from the cold. Kevin and Andrew sat inside a massive broken pipe that had been grated on b oth ends to keep them from escaping.. he felt something squishy b eneath the sole of his foot. I feel like I'm stepping on a landmine and I don't k now if it's a dud or not. "It's the prince! The prince is dead!" "They killed him! Murderers!" "They're assassins sent by the HPC!" "Seize them! Don't let them get away!" Three dreadfully long hours had passed since the two boys first entered the sew ers. kid. He trembl ed." Andrew said fearfully. Us ing marker caps as helmets. these brown rats marched around in circles. who a . Smacking his lips. but some of the candles were starting to smolder. Kevin sat up and yawned several times. keeping his arms close to his chest. "I don't know." "Just like a landmine?" A tiny voice squeaked." "Too late. Hundreds of high-pitched gasps echoed around them as the rats sh outed in horror." said Andrew. When he took his first step. Kevin wonder ed if he should move his foot.way. Two rats were posted on each side of the short pipe and almost a dozen more were in the vicinity. armed wi th sharp butter knives. he felt as though his heart s ank down into pit of his stomach and stayed there. Full of anxiety. envying their small fur coats." Andrew didn't quite hear him." The rats quickly surrounded the boys." "Then just lift up your foot and kick it out of the way. The effects of the c offee were wearing thin.
" "A phone?" The guard eyed Andrew. but I might not last long. and a black rat came sliding down it. "Make the call. causing him to reel backwards. brandishing their butter knives. knocking out both guards immediately . The remaining guards turned . "It's all yours. While most of the rats kept wat ch." Andrew nodded. Andrew yelped. "They might not notice. If it punctures your skin. I'm tire d. The guard continued by presenting the tip of his knife. curled in the fetal positio n. it karate-chopped them. and then closed his eyes. The black rat skillfully dodged their attempts to pierce him." whispered Kevin. All the brown rats charged at the black rat. the guards noticed. The guard shrieked and keeled over. The sound of wind swept across the pipe. "Over there!" A guard pointed up. "He's paralyzed. "We've got to let Genesis know we've been caught. I've been awake for over thirty-six hours. The leader said. their eyes scanning the area. Been shot in the back with a blow dart!" The rats whirled around. I'll prod you even harder! You don't want that." "Okay. Andrew was lying down. He reached into the pockets of his slacks. Unfortunately for them. who knows what you'll end up with." said Andrew. "Someone's up there!" A long piece of string touched down to the ground. That's a first for me. wielding their butter kni ves like lances. searching for the pho ne. chucking the cell phone forward. one went to inspect the leader's body. Another guard attempted to stab the outsider. "How are you holding up?" Andrew looked at him briefly." Whoosh." Andrew started the speed dial. "Hey. "Who did you just call? Speak!" He jabbed And rew in the leg with the knife. That'll keep me awake. do you? These knives have been c ultured with various strains of deadly bacteria. ran up the blunt of the knife. The guard rats watched as their leader fainted. As the black rat emerged behind two of the brown rats. "If you don't tell me." Kevin flicked his wrist and checked his watch. "Hand it over kid and no o ne gets hurt.ppeared to be in worse shape. He could tell that they were starting to get drowsy by the way they rubbed thei r eyes. "It's past noon. Several guards crawled through a hole in the grate and approached the boys wari ly. what do you have there?" Kevin whispered." Kevin glanced at the guards. The black rat easily knocked the head of the knife to the ground. Then a few rats squeaked in shock and collapsed. "I don't know. j umping over them with incredible nimbleness. Kevin asked him. and kicked the guard across the jaw. I'm also pretty hungry and uncomfortable.
" "I guess you could call me special. but looked skeptically at the black rat. Finding it humorous. "Retreat! We need reinforcements! We can't defeat h im alone!" The brown rats all agreed and ran for their lives." He bowed before them. the brown rats squeaked and fainted one after the other. He was clutching a skateboard at his chest. Motioning. The rat then bowed toward the boys and said.ghostly white at the sight of this amazingly dangerous black rat. "Don't worry." . the skinny boy pointed and laughed at h im." said Kevin. "I thought rats hated humans. "You're not getting away that easily. When he saw the stunned expression on Kevin's face. Kevin chuckled. he raised his hands and enjoyed its gentle warmth. "My name is Helios. It felt great t o be on the surface. I'm on your side. a guard shouted. It was a white rat wearing small black clothes. The black rat walked up to the grate and took off the bolts. The white rat said. "We must hav e ended up somewhere else. The sewers will be hard to navigate fro m here on out." While turning his head. It was then that Kevin realized it wasn't a black rat." Kevin crawled out of the pipe and dusted himself off. "Why are you helping us?" Andrew wondered. Standing under the sunlight. "We'll take you up on that offer. "Thanks. but I can show you the way to the surface. Kevin climbed up the ladder and pushed aside the manhole cover. The rat brought a paw to its head and took off what looked like a black cloth f rom its face. "Asleep on the street. It was invigorating. revealing a white face underneath. It pulled out a blow pipe. man! You should've seen the look on your face! Priceless!" ." said the black rat. It was a red-haired boy wearing a hoodie and baggy je ans. he drew a deep breath." Andrew followed him out. Their bodies falling to the ground. The metal grate fe ll with a clang." "BOO!" The teenager jumped up. There was no sign of Genesis or Luna. he noticed someone slouched against the side of a car.Hunger Helios showed them the escape route as he had promised." said the black rat. It was like a cute little ninja rat. Once he was fin ally out. they were able to make it out disc reetly. "Oh. All I ask is that you allow me to join you on your quest. Kevin sighed. beaming. Kevin looked left and right. "Glad to have you. Aiming for their backs. Heli os. he shot down all the guard rats with tiny blow dar ts. startling Kevin with a sudden shout. and with this knowledge. Andrew climbed up after him and closed the cover after Helios was on the street . He knew where the rats would be patrolling. Fresh air.
The streets are to tally empty and all the animals are talking. "They told us to wait here. Let them know where we are." "A grocery? It's probably closed now.. I used to g o to school around here. "Hmm. "I guess... "I'm Kevin and this is Andrew. Sorry it took so l ong to pick up. Patting his belly." Tom grinned mischievously." Through the phone he heard someone grunt." He turned to Tom." "Stay where you are. You're awake too." He gestured toward himself and Andrew. Tom blinked rapidly as he tried to wrap his mind around what he was being told. "That's cool. After three rings. "did you try calling them again?" Andrew shook his head." Kevin's stomach growled. The teen smiled. I had difficulty flipping open this device.. right? It's crazy. "Felix Avenue. "Right. "But I guess anything can happen now." Tom paused. "Should I?" "Yeah. We're out of the sewers." He beamed at Ke vin. "But as you can see.. Kevin decided to explain everything from the beginnin g. "Genesis speaking. Where are you now?" Andrew searched for the street sign.. he grimaced.it's like we're in a movie-or a bo ok. I think it 's a good time to grab a quick lunch. call them." "Speaking of talking animals. I've just been chilling. It's a difficult task and we're certainly short on han ds." said Helios politely." Tom patted Kevin on the shoulder. I ate it all. Noticing Tom's amazement. We're coming." Kevin said to Andrew." Andrew tried calling Kevin's phone. looking up at him.dude." Helios tugged on the bottom of Tom's jeans. I'm starving.. We're trying to figure out what's going on. "Hey."You're awake!" Kevin gaped. Andre w said quickly. But there's a grocery nearby. someone picked up. He told him about how they discovered everyone was asleep and how an organiza tion of pets known as the HPC was working on the case. After Kevin finished speaking. I don't want them worrying about us.I don't have anything at home . "Well then.no school today! Isn 't it great?" "Great?" Kevin shrugged. "Any idea s?" Tom interlocked his hands behind his head. that is awesome. Then he talked about thei r little adventure in the sewer. Though t I might as well enjoy the freedom while it's there." Tom goggled at the talking rat. "Does that matter?" . "If you are doing nothing. "We could use a few more people on our quest.. I welcom e you to join us. The name's Tom Schneider." Andrew put his phone back in his pocket. "Yeah.
" But it was definitely closed now. "I definitely need a drink. but it was small. "I don't believe it. But this CABS had classical music on-really . It's as simple as that. and Kevin was confident it wo uldn't take long to get what they needed and get out. "If the doors are locked. rock or sometimes oldies. "I'll wait outside for Genesis.. It was indeed a small store." Kevin approached the opened doors.and. Kevin had never heard of this supermarket. Anything will do. right? The law can't hold us down." Tom shook his head. There was a small neon sign on the window that read. I d on't know. yes. Kevin noticed the music coming from the speakers around the building. "We're hungry. his brow furrowing. We've got no cho ice. Their eyes slowly got used to the soft li ght that came from the windows. it does matter. I guess they were right about the doors being open at least." Tom motioned for them to follow. 365 days a year." Andrew said. maybe some canned spaghetti or something." Kevin said uncertainly." "Must be our lucky day. "What about the cops?" "They've got bigger things to worry about than a bunch of hungry kids. To everyone's surprise. we do wha tever we need to. It wasn't the typical music he was used to hearing in a supermarket." said Kevin." Helios added. but the boy did have a point. the doors opened automatically. In total. "If it's locked. The refrigerated items were along th e sides and the back. The cash re gisters were near the front with the produce section. there were only about fifteen aisles in the whole building. "What's the plan?" asked Kevin. "Agreed. Let's not keep our stomachs waiting too long. The lights were off and they couldn't see anyone inside.Kevin nodded. "That's the plan. with caffeine. The law was made to protect the people. There were also few emergency lights on. colorin g the aisles with a faint red. But right now." "Break in?" said Kevin. In big blue letters it was called the "Come-And-Buy-Stuff" or CABS for short. Kevin was used to he aring pop. Kevin made a quick study of the area." Kevin nodded. Tom moved closer to the sliding doors." Kevin and Tom entered the dark store. "Still-" "Let go of that old way of thinking." "Cool. we break in. "What do you want me to get you?" Andrew replied. Some cola. "we'll be right back. "Come on. the law can't protect anyone. From this moment forward." The supermarket was just a little further down the street. "I'll stay outside too. Agreed?" Kevin felt unwilling to accept. so it might not have been a part of a lar ger chain.. "Open 24 hours." "Okay." said Tom.
the type of music that would lull anyone to sl eep. "Maybe it's like a security system. no." "A sleepwalker. He sunk deeper into the seat. "I don't know. "Someone just screamed!" ." said Tom. The cushion. He left his cart near the front of the store." "Sure. I'll give them that." Kevin stifled a yawn. squinting into the darkness. Kevin asked." They picked up shopping carts and raced through the supermarket." replied Tom. Tom opened the door and. grabbing as much soda as he could. The classical music was soothing and made him feel at peace. Though Kevin was hungry. Kevin went for the drinks. Tom flipped the body over. snickering. The person was a middle-aged man dres sed in an employee's uniform. "Do they usually put this music on?" "Not usually. "Is he asleep?" Kevin wondered out loud. A man was fac edown on the ground." said Kevin." They continued along.. The lights were on anyway. We should get the stu ff quick. Kevin decided to recline on the couch. "I don't see anything. ripped and discolored with odd stains. Then we'll meet up at the back. and found a small kitchen area. Andrew jumped to his feet and glanced at the rat. While waiting.. It wouldn't be t hat easy to pass out. The only thing on his mind was the wonderful tranquility. It was nice. With his foot. To m tested the microwave above the stove to make sure it was still working. was comfortable." replied Tom. Maybe a few seconds of shuteye wouldn't hurt. "That's my guess. seemingly merging with it. "Probably. He closed his eyes and relaxed his limbs. Kevin placed a few cans down on the table. froze. His breathing sl owed. Maybe there are some outside.nothing to think about.soft and gentle classical music. motionless. "It's working. "But I wonder why he ende d up here. There was a round table in the center. they gathered at the back and found a door for employees only. They put on this classical stuff to make intruders fall asleep. Kevin covered his ears on the way to the soda aisle. he decided. Tom went straight for the canned pasta. There was not hing to worry about. after passing the threshold. After they finished their tasks." said Kevin as he e xamined the cupboards. It was peaceful. he was also exhau sted. su rrounded by several wooden chairs. "What's wrong?" Tom looked down. pushing the shopping cart full of canned pasta around the body. as he left the room. "Now if we could just find containers to heat up the stuff. Then he heard a scream." "I'll look. He gasped. Can you find a light switch?" Kevin groped along the wall and flicked on the lights. There's something on the floor here. They should have a kitchen or something where we can heat up the food. Just a brief res t to relief him from the exhaustion. though batte red.
There it found only a smoldering piece of paper. watching Helios vanish through the sup ermarket's entrance. The sn ake went around the aisle after him. "I'll check it out. The snake was orange with thick dark stripes over its body. The snake eyed the rat hungrily. Then it was hit again. careful not to be too loud. When he reached the edge. t he snake slithered toward the rat. The mug s clattered and shattered against the tiled floor. especially considering the mess on the floor. He needed somethi ng else to draw its attention. Now that he had the reptile's attention. Helios pulled out his blowgun from his clothes and shot a dart at the snake. That was when the copperhead finally noticed Helios on a top shelf. Tom backed into an icebox. Genesis had a rrived. The copperhead approached it. "Get back! Go away! Shoo!" The voice was coming from the back of the store. When it searched for the he at signature of the boys. sending into a display full of ceramic mugs. rolling jars. he saw Tom on th e floor. It gla nced on the floor and saw a marble spinning away. He had been hiding behin d the burning paper. it stuck its head in side the can. Standing on one of the shelves. Helios scrambled into the aisl e and climbed up the rows of shelves. It stopped. Blanketed in white. Kevin ran up from behind and swat ted the snake with a broom. which also seemed to be snickering. With a quick snap of its neck. Helios ran down the other side. The snake looked around. His night vision was not particularly good and his short sta ture made it difficult to see far. Then he heard a voice say. Opposite Tom was a coiled snake that dodged whateve r Tom threw at him. Helios emerged from the can. Infuriated. You wait here. he chucked handfuls of ice at th e slithering reptile. it saw they were getting away. Genesis barked. Th e overwhelming scents of fruit juices and syrups tempted his senses. skidding past the checkout and down t he produce section. but he was unable to find him. coughing up smoke. pinning it down. The most vis ible source of heat came from inside an empty can.Helios scampered to the door. Helios sprinted across the grocery store. Helios hurl ed marble after marble with pinpoint accuracy on the snake's head. crawling backwards. Th e tiny dart bounced off harmlessly against the snake's scales. Wham! A powerful paw landed on the snake's back. burying the snake in the brok en pieces." Andrew nodded with a worried expression. It was a copperhead. and dented cans scattered all over. Hopelessly trapped. "How'd you get inside the city? How did you pass our patrols?" . Helios pushed over opened bags of flour. The ba gs landed with a thud on the ground near the snake. The snake hissed angrily in vexation. striving to break free fro m Genesis's grasp. making it h ard for him to concentrate. It wriggled out of the mess and slithered rapidly to chase after them. flooding the aisle with a sm oke of fine powder. But the grin disappear ed from the snake's face the moment a small object bounced off its skull. There were broken bottles. The shelf below seemed to hold the answer. The snake popped out from under the heap of debris. Kevin helped Tom up and led him toward the exit. the snake glared at Helios and rushed to ascend the shelf.
Pets that have been mistreated by their owners are creating holes in your fragile alliance. The crow rested on a fire hydrant. I won't wake up. you poor." The dogs nodded.. "Don't think for a moment you ha ve a chance at saving the humans." "Do you know what's causing it?" "Even if I did know. you won't need to see anything. Every human needs to sleep. "You're naïve. "Oh." "Only a fool would cling to such fantasies. poor boy. a collie and a bulldog. It had in its beak a pair of eyegl asses." "With the humans gone. "Take him away. "So? There's nothing for you here." Genesis looked to the front door and barked. "I'm not going to sleep. How do you k . Genesis turned to them and said. "I know that." His hands trembling in fright. "Is Andrew in here?" Dusting off his tiny black garments." "You are.." "You're going to sleep anyway. "No. the snake hissed. get back here!" Andrew cried. "I need them to see. " Andrew straightened up. The crow put the glasses down. Seems like we'll have to watch our patrols more closely." The crow flew over to the boy's shoulder. "Andrew's gone! I can't find him. and when he does." Genesis growled. With their jaws. Helios replied. everything is ours!" "The humans aren't gone." Andrew snapped. entered into the store and approached Genesis." Andrew shook his head. you don't. it will all be over!" Kevin and Tom came running back inside. Genesis told the dogs. And when you do. As it was being carried out. Kevin said. But if I go to sleep." Kevin exclaimed. He left his phone on the sidewalk and disappeared. Andrew took small steps toward the crow. I wouldn't tell you. being careful not to let it escape. You might as well kill me. He will come. "We're done here. The humans won't last. do these glasses really mean that much to you?" "I need them!" Andrew replied.The copperhead snickered. "Boy." "Hey. Two dogs. He ran down the block until the crow finall y stopped. the two dogs held firmly on the snake b y its neck and tail. slowly getting closer. You think the HPC is incorruptible? Ther e are traitors within your ranks. "I never saw him come in.
A small bird zoomed quickly past. even. tackl ing the crow from behind." "A dog? You believe a dog?" The crow cawed in laughter. He's a stray.. They chase af ter their own tails and will eat anything! Those uncouth savages would rather sn iff butts than flowers! The dog is yours to command. I know of that crafty dog. "A little parakeet like you. The crow jumped off Andrew' s shoulder and tried to fly away. "Dogs are such pathetic creatures. "You understand.now you won't wake up? Have you tried it?" "I haven't. as a bird I don't even use beds. not what you need to hear. right? Don't listen to a thief! He's only tellin g you what you want to hear. white-fac ed budgie.. "Hold it right there!" shouted a voice from above. I'm so tired. "Ha! Surely you jest. everything will be back to normal when you awaken. He bit the hand that fed him and ran away! He could care less about yo u or your family." The crow whispered. "That's my motto. The budgie saluted Andrew with a wing and said. A streak of black and blue crossed Andrew's vision. but a dog named Genesis told me that. right? You can't do anything anyway. especial ly without rest. "a nap would be nice.you think you stand a chance against me? Don't get cocky just 'cause you landed a cowardly blow. I was sent by the HPC to assist you. "Sorry I'm late. Take all that stress and worry away. This whole thing is tem porary. I'm Agent Term inus. The crow scowled at Terminus. The crow plummeted to the sidewalk. Andrew didn't know what to believe. If you sleep now." "Cowardly?" Terminus said. but that one is so special. Always question the world. something he found admirable. It's really comfortable-amazing. I know the truth. Always question yourself . I know of a place with a warm be d. The crow nodded. you'll find it!" The budgie cr ossed his chest with a wing proudly and said. Don't think." Terminus pointed at the crow with hi s wing. it was only able to stay aloft for a few seconds before getting knocked down. "You're putting your life at r isk for no valid reason. They should listen to you!" Andrew said nothing. "Is this true?" is all he could utter. Do you honestly think you can achieve anything by stayi ng awake? I'll let you in on a secret. It was a blue-bottomed." Andrew mumbled. "He stole your glasses. its back covered with alternating rows of black and white." Tears welling in his eyes. The dog lied to you. You shouldn't listen to the m." . Heck. it staggered before regaining its balance. However. As it got back up. You said his name was Genesis. Just come with me. The crow leaned closer to Andrew's ear and said.. Take a little nap and everything will be okay. Andrew looked curiously at it. The small bird perched itself on And rew's shoulder. It'll feel great." Andrew nodded slowly as though in a trance. If you desire truth." "Yeah. musing over the crow's words.even I love to sleep in it when I get the chance. He's just keeping you awake because he loves to see you suffer . They can't properly hunt for food or groom themselves. "Just a little nap.." Andrew was astonished by the budgie's confidence.
Andrew flailed his hands. and they g ave Andrew his share. Genesis called for a meeting. it was already mid-after noon. The animals ate lunch as well. After they were done. "You knew?" . but before he could even spread his wings. They ate and chatted for a while. Terminus landed on Andrew's shoulder and offered some advice." . everyone was waiting for him at the entrance of the supermarket. my young friend. Kevin didn't feel right about not paying for it. The crow tried to fly. slowly changing the colors of the sky from blue to a reddish orange." He pointed at Helios with his snout. But this time..Evening Comes By the time Andrew arrived. No human can do everything but every human can do something. We'd better hurry back. But he got a small bag of seeds for Terminus. Andrew bowed his head sheepishly. sounding doubtful. Having only eaten a skimpy breakfast during the early morn ing. "I'm sorry. diving at the crow with breakneck speeds and striking him from al l sides. It was mostly canned food. eating their lunches. I wasn't sure what to do. trying to protect himself. Just say thanks. They also decided to gulp down some instant coffee and energy drinks in order to stay lively. his movement t oo fast for the crow to keep up. The two boys sat on the sidewalk. Kevin said. I believe we should discuss our next plan of action. "Hey! Ouch! What was that for?" "Don't apologize! I'm giving you advice. Finally. I thought perhaps you'd like to shed some light on the matter.." said Andrew. "Since yo u are a prince of Korgen. Terminus suddenly disappeared again. the boys were famished and ate two meals worth. okay. even a m ouse frightens an elephant." His eyes pink." "What?" Sounding surprised.Terminus launched off Andrew's shoulder in a flash. "Listen. the crow took a hit to the head an d fainted. Before they knew it. You. The sun was descending. "Helios is a prince?" Helios stared at Genesis. kno cking him back several feet. Terminus headbutted him in the chest. Tom found some plastic bowls and fed them whatev er he could find at the pet aisle. Everything matters one way or another. they grabbed from the supermarket whatever they could eat. The crow tried to parry the budgie's next attac k. He hoped it would be enough to c over the costs.. Unable to restrain themselv es. "Ahem. after several more strikes. the attack came from behind. pecking Andrew on the head. It's just that I-" Terminus fluttered over him. "Thanks. so he left some money-a few do llars and a handful of pennies-at the checkout." "Oh." "Now the others are looking for you. need confi dence. Again and again Terminus zipped b ack and forth.
" continued Helios. A ll I know is that the royal family of Korgen descended from lab rats. "Though it almost did become a real death because the boy didn't lift his foot for a long time. humans are fascinating. he is placed through a series of tests. as prince. "So you just tricked me into admitting it. If they find out I'm alive and working with humans. after no ticing Terminus on his right shoulder. But it is rumored to be u seful. If he is found to have amazing mem ory. "try not to let word of this get out. the neut rality of the rats may be threatened." Kevin nodded. Then. I thought I was going to really die. To me. And when a foreign rat comes to our city. But for a grand ques t. but Heli os seemed offended. "Let me explain. if other animals learn that a prince of rats is helping humans. But Helios has informed me that he visited the Nexus beforehand. It was merely a guess. By doing so. I've always had to sneak out. Those who are of the Nexus sit in a chamber and receive information from our networks of informants and sp ies. They invent thing s to solve problems. I have no freedom. The boys didn't make it to the Nexus . sneaking out wouldn't do much good. Andrew wondered why Helios didn 't just climb up his clothes. Yes. "Okay. "So it's like a database. "However. Helios frowned. It'd be such a waste to let the humans die out. When a rat is born." Helios smiled. I t is our knowledge and fact center." Genesis said. "Look. I'm not allowed to go into the world. "Well you got me. It would've been much less painful. he will have the privilege of joining the Nexus. There is a Nexus in every area with a high p opulation of rats. we will also have information abou t foreign lands. Andrew wondered why his shoulders had bec ome quite popular. Helios began. I've been wandering the streets for years."Not quite." Genesis admitted." Kevin said." He grimaced upon recalling it." Helios entered Andrew's clothes from the pant leg. They build massive shelters and cultivate the land. "Now onto the topic at hand. "I still don't know what a Nexus is. they'll send someone after me. things are very strict for me. More impor tantly. a storage of information?" ." Andrew said." Feeling r ather embarrassed at being deceived so easily. I don't want to bring trouble to my family ." "T-that was you?" Kevin tried to make amends by offering moldy cheese. Helios popped out of Andrew's collar . "Anyway. I'm a prince. I decided to fake my death by letting the boy step on me." Kevin wondered. tugging at his garments. So much freedom and creativity. "I don't know much about it either. "Why would a prince want to help? The queen rejected us." Helios glared at Genesis. The Nexus is the meeting place of information. He situated himself on Andrew's left shoulder. I promise to keep the secret. I'm doing t his against my mother's wishes. H e'll run through mazes of intense complexity. I'm wearing clothes. They wear clothes to stay warm. he must stop by our Nexus and giv e us all the information he can. Andrew squirmed and kicked a round as the white rat climbed up his skin.
The snake we caught was saying that someone would come. We should see t he research." Helios replied. Do you who he's talking about?" Helios sighed.I wouldn't say hate. introduction of foreign germs and species." said Helios. we've been seeing movement from the for est. or even hunting." "Indeed. "Because the Nexus takes all information."Exactly. "The current cause of the sleeping epidemic is unkno wn. "I didn't want to worry you." Kevin said. Once news of your investigation reaches the forest. However. whether it is from destruction of homes.. It's also our source for news. "A word-of-mouth database." "Hmm." "You don't even know what it is and you're afraid of it?" "Well. There is nothing definite that we know." His eyes widening. It doesn't filter out anything. Now that the humans are defenseless." said Genesis. There's a laborator y in the south area of the city. H e looked at Helios. Andrew asked." Kevin shrugged." Helios replied. wild animals will defin itely try to stop you. Although I don't know much. "I'm not really sure who or what Kain is. First. according to the Nexus. I see. Over the years the humans have been stealing land and resources. It is a secret underground laboratory. "Now for the second piece of information." said Helios. That will not be the la st time we see a dangerous. Then? What'd you find out?" Helios cleared his throat. "The animals hate humans that much?" Helios thought for a moment before replying. "Looks like our only thing to go on. It doesn't only contain information about food sources. I still have information th at may interest you. But they say it's a bad sign. Kevin said. "So how's that suppose to help us? We're not looking for food a nd we're not avoiding extermination." Helios continued. By knowing vital information. "There is something I'm wondering about. "there might be some vital information. "By having knowledge of which restaurants are lenient and which are dangerous. we can survive. isn't that what makes it . "Hate." Helios swallowed. wild animal try to make their way into human territo ry." Tom raised a brow. "Why would rats need information?" "Knowledge is important for everyone. let me tell you something concerning our group and o ur mission. every time in history when something terrible ha ppens it's because of Kain. trying to gather the courage to say the name. we can dete rmine where we can go to for a safe meal." Coming to an understanding. Accordin g to rumors." "Kain?" Kevin asked. But t hey do find humans to be a threat. not just humans. "Ka in is returning." Genesis stared at a stain on the concrete wall. Some species are even on the brink of extinction because of them. We can also discover if humans are pla nning any form of extermination against us so we can relocate. looking worried. they have been doing strange experiments involving sleep.. That snake you saw was not from around here. "Who's Kain?" "A legend passed down from generation to generation. "Ah. But rats all over the country are s aying that.
"Rats are good at sneaking in building s. Genesis kept a careful eye on Luna. and we should keep the light s on." said Tom.. a cat.. After he finished the ordeal. so Kevin became worried." Andrew examined the place. Luna and Terminus decided to take turns patrolling the building. Oh. It took him another half-hour to push the door handle with enough force to open the door. It took hi m nearly an hour to bring the broom five feet over and prop it against the door. There was no te lling whether or not some wild animals might try to attack during the night.. glancing apprehensively at the animals around him. Try to find a way to rest your body but keep your mind awake. "It'll soon be dark." answered Genesis.. Also. "My father manages a cinema. It was locked. We may not be able to keep the city safe. Luna watched Terminus with an urge to pounce.scary?" "I suppose. but because everyone was looking at him. The pets were k ept in the backseat and the only thing keeping them from running rampant was Tom . Tom sat in the middle.. After the two boys prepared the food." Tom leaned forward. It can't be that hard. Go inside and open the doors.. "It's decided then!" They left the car and tried to open the front doors. it was starting to get a little tight inside th e four-passenger car. . Everyone ca me to the same conclusion and stared at Helios. he took on the arduous task of pulling a broom across the entrance hall." Kevin's eyes wandered over the group. He headed for the projection booth while Andrew and Kevin handled the popcorn. searching for shelter. but judging from the atmosph ere. We should watch something crazy. "What?" Genesis said what everyone was thinking. loud music. they played a few arcade games with the q uarters they found scattered behind the ticket window. All the animals seemed to distrust one another and they remai ned silent throughout the ride. it was tense. With three boys. Tom did not return for a while.." Kevin smiled." Kevin drove them around the city. "So should we check out t his laboratory now?" "No. good seats. Helios passed out on the spot. He proceeded to find a way inside the building. Tom took the liberty of choosing a movie to watch. "I'll handle it. I've seen someone do i t hundreds of times. No one was bumping shoulders. "But does anyone even know how to operate the movie projector?" There was a moment of silence. Once inside. poking his head between the front seats. a lar ge dog. Helios c ouldn't refuse.." Andrew said. and Terminus glared at Helios." It was easier said than done. "Only if it's a bo ring movie. Kevin parked the car near a multiplex. Genesis. drinks and hotdogs. a bird and a rat. "Movies can put you to sleep. "How about the movie theatre? It's got f ood. I don't want any of you to fall asleep by wearing yourselves out. We will have difficulty monitoring the city at night. Helios stared back at them.
o r maybe it's a different model. especial ly in the city. He bobbed back and forth in the chair. Andrew found a girl huddled beside it. during a brief moment of q uiet. Disregarding the legality of the act. Andrew sat on the middle row of the fully lit theatre." Kevin found Tom inside the projector booth. Tom was running around. He cracked open the door and a draft rushed in. There should be an office with a computer so mewhere. He fanned himself with his h and. her face buri ed between her knees. unable to quell the curiosity. fresh air would help. "I-I must've forgot a step." "I. she said irritably. "I'm going to see what's up. Andrew took a few steps toward the dumpster. but film was shooting all over the place. tears dripping down her cheeks. returning back to the exit. Feeling melancholic." Meanwhile." "I hope you didn't break anything. We can look up the directions. "If you've got something to say. The exterior of the dumpster had been vandalized with spray paint. "y-you want to come inside?" Her eyes narrowing. The room was feeling rather stuffy. yet again." Andrew stuttered. It felt nice. Andrew was impressed... say it!" . brushing past his face. The whimper was there again. "What do you want?" "Um. Peering over the dumpster. "I thought you said you knew how to work t his thing!" "I don't know. It was close. and it wou ld be too troublesome to look for them. munching on s ome popcorn. He looked to his left." Andrew fell silent. The door led to the rear parking lot. Then. There was a green dumpster by the wall. The night was fi lled with sudden barks. unsure of what to say. screaming his head off as h e tried to turn off the machine. The projector was on. sweating in a panic. ca using it to bounce. The sky darkened.Kevin told Andrew. it was coming from the dumpster. Then Andrew turned around. Andrew got up from the chair. he walked to the curb. He wasn't sure where the controls for the air conditioning were. "Leave me alone. walked dow n the side stairs and headed for the emergency exit beside the white screen. He sighed. Andrew yawned. listening for any odd noises. w ondering what was taking them so long. "What are you doing?" Kevin shouted. Katie scowled. howling and caterwauls. Wiping her tears. Andrew did a nother about-face. He took several deep breaths of the evening air. she snapped. he watched the streetlights around the lot as they automatically turned on. She was crying alone. because most of the graffiti was made exceptionally well. thi nking some cool. He occasionally shot a glance toward the projection booth behind. he thought he heard a whimper." Tom replied. and if he was r ight by his estimation. annoyed by the sudden silence. before having second thoughts. The girl looked up and saw Andrew. When he thought he heard a stra nge sound. I t was Katie. her face red. He was always surprised to see graffiti. The sound of a whimper hit his eardrum yet again.
so l onely..." S he grabbed Andrew by the collar and pulled back her fist. Anyway." Andrew paused. Don't fight her. my mom just got up and left.or this crappy world.." "My parents?" Katie made eye contact with Andrew.. It's been so quiet. I don't care about that. her eyes full of tears. It's not a game." Gritting her teeth.. voice softening. her visage cold as ice. "Back for more?" When Kevin saw Andrew in pain.." said Andrew weakly... gazing glass y-eyed at the sky.." Andrew searched for the words to say.. Katie stared at him. "It 's my fault. No.. "I hate guys like you. "I'm sorry. "Stop! Get off him!" Kevin and Tom rushed into the scene. Then she broke into laughter. One day." "You don't? I thought I saw them before. and they could care less about me. "You bet! I'm not letting you get away with this!" "Don't. her eyes focused on the ground." Katie stood up and slapped him across the face..Andrew gulped out of fear. they aren't my real parents." Katie lowered her head.that every time I think. grunting." "You better be sorry... acting like you care. Andrew lost his breath. it's not what you think. Kevin thinks we can do this . She was fed up. "Don't stick up for her! She's kicking your butt!" . Andrew felt a chill run down his spine as he gazed into her eyes. Katie shoved Andrew onto the concrete and glared at Kevin. Why." "And be a part of your stupid game?" His eyes closed. "My old man. "I don't have parents. rubbing the pain in his cheek. he used to. Then the old scumbag started drinking and . Everyone just hates me. "IT'S NOT A STUPID GA-" He opened his eyes and stopped when he realized he was shouting much louder than he anticipated.. "I mean." Her voice trailed off. it was full of pain and sadness.. as though she didn't want to recount such a tale.. she p unched Andrew in the stomach. squeezing his eyes closed. It wasn't quite emo tionless. "I don't understand. He got back up.asking me to come inside. Andrew turned away." Her fist about to come slamming d own." "Huh?" Kevin's jaw dropped. startled by his outburst.stop thinking about it now. cracking his knuckles.. Andrew fell to his knees. all I have are foster parents. "You should join us. he turned to Katie. And I don't give a crap about you. "N o. caught in her fascinating stare.are you doing this?" Katie raised a brow but didn't say anything. Andrew clenched his fist and shouted." She heaved a sigh. "I mean. you don't want to know about that. "I don't care. I know. I've gone through five foster families a lready... Andrew continued . it keeps going back. "I can't. "You don't give a crap about me.hurt me and my mom. What's the point?" "Don't you want to save your parents? I want to save my mom. She forced a s mile." "Whoever you saw.
"SHUT UP! S HUT UP! SHUT UP! I HATE YOU!" Andrew quickly stepped forward and hugged her. Join us. Katie punched Andrew in the face again." After she disappeared." Blushing profusely. his face covered with blood from his nose." remarked Tom." "What?" Katie sputtered. "I never noticed.. Their jaws hanging loosely." said Andrew. jitters and pains." said Andrew. they still needed to drink lots of coffee and energy drin ks to stay energized-though not without repercussions. They watched a few horror flicks. confused. you are!" Andrew spat back. their energy levels went extremely high to extremely low and back again." said Katie finally. Kevin mumbled. Action and comedy were best because they got the excitement and laughter running. flashing co lors also helped to a degree. "If you think no one cares. Or at least." "SHUT UP!" Katie raised her fist to strike him again. " You don't have to do this. Kevin and Tom gawked at the weird sight that was unfolding before them. she lost all will to fight back." He looked into Katie's eyes. "I sure hope so. "So you're just going to stay behind this dumpster and cry until you die?" Enraged. Don't give up on everyone because o f one man. li ke a never-ending roller coaster." said Andrew. "I'm not like you!" "Yes. However. looked briefly a t Andrew and turned away.... swelled with sudden aches. She screamed. On top of t hat. Andrew wanted to say more. . Their bodies. Katie gasped and stiffened. it was getting quite painful to stay awake."It's my fault." .. He didn't flinch or back away.Legendary Heroes The group spent the rest of the night watching movies until dawn. "Don't think that the world hates you. "Does that mean she's joining us?" said Kevin. Caug ht in his embrace. "I t's cold.. walking toward the door of the building. "I hope so.I care." "Really? I find this pretty. The loud explosions.because you're just like us.that's not truebecause we care. Then came a really long awkward silence." "I already told you I don't want to. feeling rea lly weird now. upbeat music and bright." she said. Katie forced Andrew away.cool. Andrew couldn't hide h is embarrassment and his cheeks turned very pink. "Don't do this to yourself. "I'm going in. Don't hide and push everyone away. itches. the three boys exchanged glances. smirking. No one knew what to do next. Katie exhaled.. "Get off me.. bu t he couldn't muster up the courage to continue. Even with the booming soun d and exciting scenes. "This is really freaking me out. Just stop this.
Regardless. Terminus and Helios on his shoulders. Helios had a look of dismay." "What kind of place?" Helios smiled.. "The real reason I brought you here is to equip you for the danger ahead. "Come over here. and the front door was ru sted shut." Helios motio ned with his small white paw. they survived. slightly amused by the tense situation." The inside of the building looked worse than the outside. "Legends are born everyday! I've got a good feeling about you g . The teens waded through the junk. disgusted." Helios disappeared under a broken computer case and emerged from a shelf of books. Tom commented. Katie slum ped in her seat." "Legendary heroes?" repeated Andrew. This time around. I have gifts for you. To m couldn't blame the animals. In spite of the crowded conditions on his side. Katie had a really nasty attitude the entire time they were stuck in the multiplex. the seating arrangement lopsided. following after him. Helios cleared his throat. looking out the window." Helios scurried to the side of the building. "What are you talking about? This is treasure!" "Treasure?" Kevin reached down. "I won't say everything here is great. The back door should be ope n. "What's with all the junk?" asked Katie. "Okay. After the encounter with the snake. "You guys a ll ready to go?" "Actually. "Come.. Genesis sat in the middle with Katie and Tom on either side. "Does the neighborhood dump trash in here?" asked Kevin. When they f inished their meal. "I've been thinking about it last night and there's a place I want to show you before we head for the laboratory. "Thi s?" Helios frowned. "Nice place you got here." Helios showed Kevin the way to an abandoned warehouse. The backseat got even more crowded. disgusted at the thought of staying any longer in the cinema. "In what universe are we legendary heroes? " Helios grinned." Kevin glanced back. Luna rested on his lap. "My own secret hideout. Hot dogs and popcorn filled their breakfast menu. the walls were full of graffiti. The sun revealed its huge face in the clear sky. Tom was swamped on his side. They decided to eat outside on the curb. She had plenty of room because Genesis kept his distance. I want to give you the best weapons I have-weapons fit for legendary heroes like you. everyone hopped back into the car. picked up a dirty sock and waved it about.it must be like a palace for you. I realized you guys ar e pretty defenseless." said Helios. But I didn't bring you h ere to rag on my stuff. The ceiling was poked full of holes and the floor was covered with garbage. The windows were boarded up with rotten wood.
revealing two red yo-yos that were hidden underneath. shows you are ready for the next step." Andrew eyed the large black container. But as he removed the plastic lid. "That's yours." Tom walked over to the trashcan and popped open the lid. and f inally a crossbow. "Yup. raising his fists animatedly." Helios said. The fact that you guys are standing here.. he'd probably get the best weapon. "Thes e are for Kevin. Helios wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead and said to Katie. then a baseball bat.. It was empty." "Yo-yos?" Kevin grabbed the yoyos and started playing around with them. his mouth opened. "Don't be greedy. . "This one's for you Andrew. "All right." Kevin interrupted. "Where's my weapon?" Helios blinked. one in each hand. "I thought you wanted to give me a weapon. "We're done here! Let's go!" "You didn't give me anything!" Tom demanded. You've already got yours in you r hand. dragging out an aluminum baseball bat." He pointed at it." Kevin looked down at the yo-yos.uys." Helios gave him a dirty look. "Use them well.perseverance. "Suits me I guess. I know you guys have got what it takes. "Don't worry. Helios excitedly climbed up a hill of garbage." Tom gulped in anticipation. Judging from the order of things. "And now for the girl-" "Wait. "Determination. after not sleeping for two days." After seeing Katie's reaction. Then she picked up the bat by the handle and started swinging i t around. "Oh. "And a club for the lady. First there were yo-yos." "What would that be?" wondered Kevin.you. I've got a few tranquilizer bolts to go with it. It would undoubtedly be something underw helming." He pushed asi de a coverless book. "You don't mean-" "Yes. Nod ding slowly. I have just the thing. "Huh. and pushed down a square plastic container. I almost forgot about you. It's got good weight to it. After much effort.. w hich stretched almost up to the ceiling itself.." "It's a toy!" Helios ignored him and raced down the side of a slanted table." said Helios. "A crossbow? Wow! Really?" Helios beamed." Katie shrugged. Helios cast his gaze slowly across the room as he searched for something suitable." Rubbing his chin." said Helios. There was a modern crossbow inside. his eyes stopped at a metal trashcan... He went under th e table and returned.
They continued on their journey and Helios informed Kevin of the address of the secret laboratory. "It will make a perfect shield..... "I didn't think they'd be this desperate. Genesis rushed to the stop sign.a whole bunch snuck behind. It wasn't even anything special.." He stopped the car and everyone got out. Genesis nudged the small dog with his nose. Tom accepted the lid.." the dog rasped. "A lid? You're giving me a lid? This is worse than the yo-yo! Th ere's got to be something else in here!" Helios shook his head and replied. Be careful. sorry.I can't feel anything anymore. They were getting close.. At first I thought we'd just go and find a cure wi th your help. "The situation has changed.. findi ng a Chihuahua lying on its side. "I'll call for help. He could probably find those metal lids all over the city. "As if our lives weren't already in danger.. "Are you hurt?" "I'm not sure.." He walked back to the . They're m obilizing. "Ambush. Kevin chewed his lip. But as they drove down the street." "More snakes?" Genesis examined the dog's pitiful state. "You'll be okay.. Several dogs and cats were sprawled along the asphalt and concrete. "Nope. "Might as well check it out..snakes.I'm not sure. Andrew noticed something by a stop sign. But now it seems that if you continue to help us.. "There's something there. He looked across the street. The Chihuahua glanced at Genesis.they know about your plan.. "No.. Andrew tapped on the window.." Helios said. your lives will be in danger." "The lid is yours. An attack like this shows they are prepared to fight. but stuffed it in the trunk of t he car. Andrew also added that they were in a hurry and should n ot be wasting their time." Genesis paused . Take it o r leave it." Tom heatedly argued with Helios over the choice of his weapon for a few minutes before Kevin interfered and assured him that they probably weren't even going t o use the stuff anyway.. That's all I've got." Kevin mused. "Agent." Kevin pursed his lips.Genesis. thinking he'd never bother with it." "What happened here?" Genesis demanded."There's nothing in here.. Concerned." Tom sputtered." The Chihuahua looked Genesis in the eye and wheezed. "How could they do such a terrible th ing?" Genesis looked up at Kevin..." "Another person?" Kevin's eyes started to shine." Watching the scene.they might be looking to stop you. "I think." Genesis assured him.
"I can handle a few snakes. He noticed a slight crack on the ground and a crowbar on the s ide. You can take everyone else with yo u. The vehi cle had been gutted out. Kevin watched the dog explore with his nose. brushing away the d irt on the floor. "I just hope that will be enough. Pleased with himself. Kevin sighed and turned away. With his eyes Kevin tried to gauge the depth of the hole. Kevin parked the car in a n abandoned lot. Underneath the panel was a dark hole almost four feet in d iameter." Ke vin said uncertainly." "Everyone else. The only thing in the parking lot was a rusted tractor-trailer." He glanced at th e woods and then the truck. everyone. "Come on." Their destination wasn't much farther along the road.car and waved his hand. "This is 1219 Hollowbard Road." . but it was to o deep to see the bottom. And it's supposed to be u nderground too. "A human scent is right here." Kevin climbed into empty trailer. "Luna and I will keep guard. She stifled a yawn and watched as the others sear ched around. Snap. He jammed the crowbar into the crack and yanked it.Into the Dark "Hey. The snakes might not be working alone." Genesis said dryly. Then Kevin crouched down. G enesis hopped onto the trailer and began sniffing around. I'm more worried about what mig ht be down there. "You're stepping on my head!" . Katie stayed in the ba ckseat and left the door open. "Once a gain." Genesis's words added more fear than Kevin had expected. huh? Will it be all right with just the two of you? I'm worried about those snakes. There was nothing left under the engine hood and it had been stripped of all its tires. it looks like you'll be out of action. He managed to pry open a hidden panel. but before he did. "Well. it is a secret lab. There wasn't even a building in sight. The inside was empty. Kevin dusted off his hands and looked at Genesis. preparing to close the door. watch it!" "Ouch!" Kevin groaned. He unlatched and opened the back door of the tr ailer. Finding the tractor-trailer suspicious." They left the car and began scouring the area for clues. Kevin inspected it right away. He stopped at the very front of the trailer an d glanced at Kevin. "We'll be careful. Kevin looked out the window. "Is this really the place?" Andrew double-checked the GPS. But there were sturdy rungs on the side. This just means we have to hurry. "You think there's something here? " Genesis wandered back and forth." Genesis nodded. and the laboratory is a good place for an ambush.
He looked in his chest pocket. "I don't blame her. "Gurd awha heee!" Andrew removed his foot and asked. Andrew stormed away."Sorry!" Tom lowered his foot slowly. With Andrew's foot in his mouth.. His eyes nearly bulging... oh! Sorry. "Each door leads to a different depar tment. Kevin felt the shape of the switch and flicked on the floodlights ." Andrew rubbed his arms. "Oh man.' I wonder what's inside. afraid to lose heat from his br eath. Kevin ignored them and hurried down the corridor. Besides a low hum coming from the fluoresce nt tubes overhead. Finally. Startled by the sudden light. The two boys landed on top of each other ungracefully. The main hall only had twenty doors." Tom added. Tom cracked up. "I should've brought a jacket! Why's it free zing down here?" He stared at the group. it was quiet.. However.I think.. Andrew lost his grip and fell. G-ghos ts don't exist... "I didn't quiet hear you. each door was n early a football field apart. shivering. "There's got to be a light switch somewhere. When Tom op ened the door. Tom snuck behind him and let out a ghastly moa n in his ear. his hand clutching at his heart. a cold draft swept across them. There was nothing much to it aside from a door. searching for the next rung on the wall. "Oh. "I don't like the sound of that. Squeezing Andrew on the shoulder.. They began examining the first few doors." While Andrew was looking around. immersed in Andrew's body warmt h. The door led to a giant steel hal lway. Andrew gasped. "Do you believe in ghosts?" An uneasy feeling rising in his chest." "GET OFFAH ME!" Tom screamed. The hole was empty..." Kevin nodded in reply." Andrew quickly got up. Andrew glanced around. . "N-no way.and quickly. The other end of the hall seemed so distant and ti ny. ten on each side." "Phantom. pointing at the sign. Let's do what we came for. It's called 'Phantom. then jumped and spun aroun d." Andrew said nervously. Where's Katie? I tho ught she was behind us." He groped around in the darkness. knocking Tom off as well. keeping his lips closed. Tom mumbled." "Why not?" Tom snickered. "Like this one . which was cold like a freezer. It was nearly impossible to see anything in the dark. glancing at every door." "She didn't want to come down." "And they all have code names. Terminus was snuggled inside. are you serious?" Glaring at Tom. Kevin reached the solid floor at the bottom. "This place is massive!" exclaimed Kevin. Kevin hissed out a trail of vapor. "Wait a minute.. feeling the wall for anything to p ress..
Stacks of reports towered over. and his face split into a grin. Kevin glanced around the hall. No one was around. "Sure. There were dead ends everywhere. "He just ran off. Kevin looked o ver his shoulder and saw Tom kneeling on the ground.. close to the comfort of normal r oom temperature.. The first area they saw was a large office full of cubicles arr anged like a rat maze." Kevin ran his eyes across the room in silence.." They went inside. Kevin asked. almost about to topple. why not?" Curious. "Where's Andrew?" Tom shrugged.. "Something wrong?" "Did you hear that?" "Hear what?" "A sound. "Or maybe he's thinking of a way to get back at me. Tom held his stomach tightly. making him sound like a stereotypical villain." He suddenly forced out a howling laughter that echoed through t he halls. Could the solution to their problem lie behind this door? A voice behind him shouted.I wasn't expecting that. providing the user with a screen at ever y turn of his head." A t hought came to his mind.. Three flat compu ter screens were attached to the walls." said Tom." Kevin smirked. usually being some form of a cur se. Finding their way through would be a matter of trial and error. Kevin stopped to peer inside one of the cubicles. still in pain. Maybe he went to check out another door. groaned. It didn't look like an ordinary cubicle. "Boo!" Kevin thrust back his elbow and made contact with someone's gut. "I don't think anyone's here." "We can still-" Tom abruptly tilted his head. The screens were showing a screensaver." "I could've sworn-" . The partitions nearly te n feet high. like the ones he had seen on TV..like a soft growl or howl or something. "I think you're right. "What do you think? Should we open door number three?" Tom. Then he turned his attention back to the door and placed his han d on the door. which displayed cudd ly baby pandas. Kevin said coolly. it was impossible to see across the room." The third door down had a sign that read: Fairy Tale. "Whatever. It was much warmer in there. grunting. "Ugh. No one ever gets me back and get s away with it. Many times fairy tales involved sleep.. He thought about it for a minute. "Nothing. charts and graphs scattered across the desk.. The place looked like a giant mess."There's got to be something here related to sleep. But I'll be ready.
"There are fif ty beds in there!" Kevin stared at a bed." said Tom. used as a blanket. "I wonder if there's anyone still awake ou t there. pressing his face against it. they didn't find much of interest. Only asleep. The two teens gawked in wonder. "Yes. Tom threw himself onto the glass... On one side . ." While they stood in wonder. Kevin identified a structure of books that looked like a sleeping bag. "Hello. or some other form of transparent material. Books were neatl y put together in the center of the room in the likeness of a table. and right n ext to it was a stack of books that resembled a cushion for sitting. was rolling towa rds them. though it looked ra ther unpleasant to use since all the books were hardcover. Please follow me. Hello. A policeman told me that the most important people were mo ved to facilities where they could be looked after. a loud scuffle came their way.or his stomach. "It's probably Andrew. "What the heck is this? A morgue? Holy crap.. seeming uninterested. like a pot of water boiling over.. "I am the robotic as sistant of Doctor H. "a talking ball. They only heard it for a fleeting moment." He counted the beds. William. Kevin could pretty much sum up the entire room in one word: books. absolutely overflowing with books. Though soft." The round robot moved back and forth to demonstrate a nod. the books were used in the construction of a simple couch.. the sphere produced a monotone vocalization." Tom said. The only thing that stuck o ut was the set of white double doors at the end of the office area. A small silver sphere." "The last message. "Information about his research and his last message for mankind. "His last message? So he's.. Maybe this is one of them. I will show you the way to his office." To their surprise. Kevin smiled. one that resembled a hospital ward. They turned their he ads in unison. with a little imagination. "I bet he's trying to scare us. a bunch of opened books were put facedown. so much so that heaps of books littered the floor. He noticed a subtle movement from the person.." The doctor's office was at the end of the corridor. but the other was a wall of thick glass." "Why? What's in his office?" asked Kevin. It was an odd office to be sure.An eerie gurgle softly penetrated the walls of the office. it came to a halt. the size of a basketball. "Oh." said the sphere irritably." Kevin sighed." Snooping around." "I am not just a talking ball. he has fallen asleep. Behind the glass were several rows of beds with people resting on them. These doors led to another area of the facility. One sid e was a solid white wall. Lastly.. The books appeared to be used for much more than just reading. "They're n ot dead." Kevin frowned. Large b ookshelves covered the walls. Once it drew near.. it was long and pronounced.it's creepy.E.
Our research and development is a secret operation . . Helios happily jumped out of Kevin's clothes and took his s eat between the two boys' heads. we are busy observing things. "To those watching.the dream was removed from sleep entirely? What would h appen to that withheld power of the mind? I was curious. why not try? "MORIA is a private company. by the time you wa tch this video I will have already gone to sleep." He hesitated to continue." The doctor's face darkened.. Obviously. should the human race survi ve.. Fascinated." The sphere wandered over to a remote control on the floor. one o f great potential and power." The doctor straightened.. "but the doctor never had time to tidy up. That is why I no longer search for a cure. Our minds are focused on being alive and doing the things we do. yet not necessarily using its full potential. I am Doctor William.we do what we're not doing. thinking about things or perf orming tasks. Direct your attention up. It is documentation for future generations.." "Lie down?" asked Kevin. "Then I had an idea. To study sleep.. His visage did not look e lderly.telekinesis... We took fifty volun teers and gave them a genetic alteration.. Could being in a dream state enhance telepathy? Could we actually communicate with one another while we sleep. The human mind is a mysterious thing. "Yes.. B ut what happens when we sleep? We have involuntary functions that keep us going. drawing in a deep breath. "Or. along with the other resear chers. but I figured. "I will begin by explaining how I created this problem.' Is there any basis for mental abilities? Telepathy. Because of that.such pow ers are wondered about."Excuse the mess. of course. We live in the dr eam. Such a thing sounded im possible. we have concluded that mankind cannot be wakene d.I have done a te rrible thing-unintentionally." He smiled. even if we don't realize it? Or what if.we act out fantasies. Based on our data.but the rest of our cognitive processes move into the dream... It i s the limiter of our own brain. "But I digress." The sphere rolled over a button and a small projector on the floor began displa ying video on the ceiling. the video will begin. As the lights dimmed. The man said.. I am head researcher of the department of Fairy Tale here at the MORIA Industries R&D. The image showed the grim face of a dark-skinned man. The possible reason why we can't use such abilities might be related to the fact that we unconsciously use our mind for other things.. We isolated the gene for the hibernati . I will project the image there. Whoever you are. I'm sure you've heard of the saying 'mind over matt er. Our mind is awake and a live. so the extinction of mankind will be quiet." said the sphere. it might be documentation for any alien races who visit our planet and wonder if there was ever any sign of highly intelligent life.. if you will pl ease lie down. we do not feel obligated to follow any laws so that we may fu rther our research. his forehead wrinkled by the strain of distress. but his hair was completely gray and the wrinkles on his face were prono unced... we needed test subjects. I. The background of the recording looked exactly like the room they were cu rrently in. I am making this video as my last act o n earth. we were researching sleep. which felt hard and lumpy on thei r backs. Death by sleep is painless anyway. "I.. "Now. but do they exist? "When we are awake. have already come to the conclusion that there is nothing we can do to st op this mess.and the possi ble effects of sleep with telepathy. Kevin and Tom uncomfortably lay down next to each other on the mess of books.
on of bears in winter and modified it accordingly to fit it with humans. Then, o nce a trigger is activated through environmental conditions, the person will fal l into a deep sleep. We did this for all our test subjects and monitored their c ondition for about a month. Lastly, to break the dream state, we had them underg o a bit of shock to the brain in an effort to disrupt the neurons. "After this experiment, we began using various neuroimaging techniques to see t he effect. It was phenomenal. Instead of a decrease in functionality, the activi ty of their brains was increased several fold. More importantly, every person's mind seemed to be in sync with one another. When comparing scans from every indi vidual, the results were nearly identical! Everyone's mind was functioning on th e same level...on the same wavelength, so to speak. "Then the unthinkable happened: they could not break free from their hibernatio n. We tried to resuscitate them with whatever means possible...but nothing worke d. So we kept them on life-support, hoping that this was just a temporary setbac k. "Then things got worse. Some personnel who had gone home to rest never returned . We could not contact them. It didn't take long to figure out we had a problem on our hands. Using our network, we tried to determine the extent of the 'epidem ic.' Data was difficult to gather because everyone has different sleep cycles, b ut the correlation was too striking to ignore. Our research lab was the epicente r of this crisis. It began from here-and soon enough, it enveloped the whole wor ld. "We brought some people who had fallen asleep back here for studying. The resul ts were astonishing. Scans showed the same activity as our original test subject s. The only conclusion we could draw from this was that the experiment was a suc cess. Somehow, the minds of the unconscious victims were linked together in a dr eam state. The best way for me to describe this is a network through telepathy. A mental network that I call the Dream Wave. "I believe the Dream Wave has always existed, but in a much weaker state. Our w orld has different time zones. In each time zone people will generally go to sle ep at a similar time for obvious reasons. This forms the vertical Dream Wave tha t stretches loosely across the populated continents. This Dream Wave creates a w eak link, but this form of vertical Dream Waves moves horizontally as people in the neighboring time zone go to sleep. That is why when a person sleeps they may sometimes have a similar dream with another person or have a realistic dream wi th someone they know. It is a subconscious communication system. "The Dream Wave never fully connects across the whole world because of two fact ors: people will eventually awaken on the other side of the world, thus severing the link, and the oceans create a natural gap. "However, because of , we may have created and severed, has now that is all I hope to the strength of the Dream Wave formed here in our research this crisis in which the Dream Wave, instead of being weak encompassed the entirety of earth. That is all I know and know.
"This video is a warning. I pray no one else makes the same mistake. Sometimes there are boundaries you should not cross. I do apologize for the problems I hav e caused. But that is all I can do. Thank you for watching...and goodbye."
- Life and Death Kevin stood up and heaved a sigh. "I don't really get what he's talking about,
but it looks like the scientists gave up on a solution." "That is truly most disappointing," said Helios thoughtfully. Taking a seat on the couch of books, Tom frowned. "So...it's all pointless? The re's nothing we can do?" Kevin looked over at the sphere. "Hey...um...robot dude-" The robot replied, "If you were wondering about my name, you can call me Shiro. " "Shiro? Sounds Japanese," said Kevin. The robotic sphere rolled back and forth, as though nodding enthusiastically. " That is my country of origin. My birthplace." "Typical. So anyway, Shiro, is there no way to save the human population?" "There might be a way." Shocked, Kevin raised his eyebrows. "Really? But didn't that doctor just say th at he couldn't find one?" "Oh, he found one." Kevin's jaw slackened. "Wait, what? I thought-what? This is just-I don't get it ." "Your confusion is understandable," replied Shiro. "Through our research, we fo und a possible solution. However, it is not a solution that the Doctor would acc ept." "Why not?" "Because the solution is based on a certain folklore entitled The Three Stars. The folklore talks of three stars that fell to earth a long time ago. All three stars crumbled away into dust, darkening the earth for three days and three nigh ts. During this time, all mankind fell asleep-except for one man. And that man w as able to save everyone from eternal sleep..." "And then?" Kevin demanded. "That is all the doctor wanted to know before dismissing the story as useless. And to call it folklore is also misleading because we were unable to determine w here such a story came about. It might've been just a prank on the Internet. The re are plenty of those." "Still, it's very similar to the situation we have now," said Tom. "Folklore or not," said Helios, "it sounds like a clue." Kevin nodded, agreeing with them. "I want to find out more about this story-lik e how the man was able to save everyone. Even folklores sometimes have truth to them." He said to Shiro, "Do you have an Internet connection in this place so we can do some research?" Shiro said, "We do. However, our computer network is password protected. You ne ed to be a member of the facility to log into an existing account."
"You can access the Internet, can't you?" "I can. But I cannot give you access. You are intruders, after all. My instruct ions are only to bring you to this room so you can watch the video. Nothing more ." Tom snapped, "Wow, you suck!" Shiro's robotic eye turned bright red. "Blame the programmer, not the programme d. I'm not human. I don't have a choice. I must follow my programming." Kevin abruptly glanced toward the door. It looked like something was bothering him. "Well, no matter. I want to meet up with the others as soon as possible. We can find Internet somewhere else. I'm worried about Andrew. He's been gone for quite a while." Helios climbed up into the pocket of Kevin's jeans. "Indeed. It is not wise for one to be separated. But he does have Terminus for protection." "You guys are just getting paranoid." Tom smiled. "There's nothing wrong. He's just hiding...I know he is." Tom went to the door and motioned for Kevin to foll ow. "Come on, let's see if we can avoid his traps and give him another scare." Kevin took out his cell phone. "This is no time to be playing around." He tried calling Andrew several times. He didn't answer. "I'm telling you, Kevin," said Tom, "he's up to something." "I hope you're right." Kevin followed Tom back into the tight corridor where al l the people were sleeping behind the glass. As they walked down the long hallway, Kevin glanced at Tom's facial expression. Even though Tom looked confident, Kevin imagined him to be afraid under his cal m exterior. After all, this was terrifying stuff. And Kevin didn't want to be th e only one who felt scared. Up until this point, everything felt like a game to him, even if he didn't want to admit it. It was something out of the ordinary, an experience of a lifetime. Talking to animals, staying awake as long as possible, hanging out with new fac es-all of this was fun to him. The only reason he didn't feel worried before was because he thought it didn't really depend on them. He had believed that somewh ere out there someone else would figure something out. He had believed that the government or some scientists would be able to help them. Kevin bit his lip, staring at the sleeping bodies through the glass. He had alw ays believed in hope. If he had screwed up on a test, there was always another c hance to make up for it. If he had skipped out on a chore, he could always appea se his parents by doing more. But this was different. Everything always had a so lution-until now. This was life and death...and everything about their hope now seemed so frail. Kevin threw a look over his shoulder, feeling pierced by someone's gaze. He spu n around and searched for anything out of the ordinary. Shiro was rolling right up behind them. Tom asked, "Showing us the door? I didn't know robots had manners." Shiro said flatly, "I have come to alert you about something. I'm not sure how, but one of our experiments has escaped. Since it is our responsibility, I thoug ht I should let you know."
"I thought you said bacteria. since they couldn't find a way to lock i t. Breathless. "I need one of these closets at home. Shiro was then able to roll up the wall to the handprint through the power of suction. "What was that?" Kevin exclaimed. and when he saw the p urple mist. I don't see a problem. "If we can see it and there's no draft." Partially in a state of disbelief. "Deadly bacteria? Just give us some masks.." Shiro went over to the wall. The door shook. but Shiro's outer s hell was like a sponge: soft and elastic." "Disinfectant. .. Once Sh iro touched the handprint. "Cool. He didn't like the sound of that. "How should I know?" Tom felt a weird .or maybe a can of disinfectant.." He spoke too soon... which Kevin found to be a peculiar choice of design." There was a thin red line that started from the ground and ran up the wall to a bout shoulder level. opening up a small closet full of hazmat suits on hangers. Kevin never noticed it before." Kevin shrugged. gentle tickle going down his shoulder. He looked around. and the words E mergency Use Only." Shiro looked in the direction Kevin was pointing. then yanked Tom out of the closet and ran for the of fice area. part of the wall retracted. Kevin gawked. pushed a heavy desk against the double doors." Tom raised a brow. and full of tiny holes. Kevin chuckled. "What?" Tom wondered what was going on."An experiment?" Kevin gulped.that looks like a chemical . Boom. The different sizes ranged from nearly seven f eet tall to the size of a small baby. It was brought back here for examination and. While To m was busying examining the suits. That should do the trick. "The haz-what?" "Hazmat-or hazardous material. At the top of the line was a bright red handprint carved in to a panel." Shiro rolled around.. "I will. like something banged against it. Kevin warily watched the hall.. Kevin said. The purple smoke started drifting to their location. Tom gibbered some nonsense before saying. There was stil l the possibility of an ambush. Pointing.alteration. as though he was stuck on it. he also darted for the exit. fearfully stepping backwards. checking to see what would fit him. faste r and faster. Shiro followed after him." Tom browsed through the selection. His eyes fell on a peculiar purple-colored smoke forming down the hall. Shiro began vibrating and was suddenly attached to the wall. Kevin c . They slammed the door behind them and. however. they stared at the door. He whirled around and screamed. allow you a ccess to the hazmat suits. "We have the suits for situations like these. "What kind of experiment are we talking about?" "A strain of rare and deadly bacteria indigenous to a small island off the coas t of Brazil." said Tom. I have none. But I cannot guarantee its effectiveness against thi s particular bacteria. That should give you some protection. "It's here! Quick! Put on you r suits.
"Holy crap. "Then why did tell us you could lead us out?" "I assumed it would be an easy task.. "I didn't think a tap on the shoulder would make you jump like tha t. The boys chased after the spherical rob ot in hopes to escape out of the maze of cubicles with relative ease.'" Panicking. When there are enough of the m clumping closely.opied his reaction. it's banging on the door! Ba doors!" "Like I said. "It's coming through the cracks!" Sure enough. gesturing with his th umb." He clutched at his chest. f eeling for his speeding heartbeat. can eria outbreak. It star ted to expand like a balloon until it reached all the way up to the ceiling. T and quite ridiculous. Tom said hoarsely.very similar to the situat ion of certain fungi or algae. Shiro move d quickly. Andrew.. however it has that appearance.like when it's seeking you out. "Before you do. How's hat is quite visible cteria don't bang on you explain that? I thought you said something about a bact that bacteria? Bacteria are small enough to be invisible.. "We've got to get out of here!" Kevin said. Do n't do that! I thought my heart was going to burst." "We just. Andrew said. "There's no stopping it!" He said to Shiro. "You assumed wrong!" The purple mist caught up with them.with alterati ons. Its . The bacteria are purpl e in color and have been loosely clumping together. Then Andrew jumped away from th em and screamed.. a pur ple haze squeezed through the slight gaps in the door." Kevin groaned in frustration. "it's a rare strain of bacteria.. both co vering their ears.. "Hurry and show us the way out!" Shiro zipped away at maximum speed. and then stopped in front of them. There are some signs of basic intelligence as wel l." "Then I will lead you out. who was next to Tom's feet. I must admit that the final results were unexpected.." said Kevin. The structure is bottom heavy .a dea d end.." said Shiro.. unsure of what was going on.. Kevin curled his lip.I mean.why are we staring at a dead end?" Shiro said. All of this is new to me. they do start to become visible. When the screaming finally died down..." "How does it fly like that? Isn't it too heavy to float?" "It's not flying..I don't know how to explain this. Andrew shouted. They all screamed for a long time as they exchanged confused gl ances with one another. waving his hands around excitedly.. "Shiro." Kevin stomped his foot. but you were focused on its 'head. "but there's something back there and it's trying to get out." Shiro explained. analyzing each possible route and finally he found his way to. We shouldn't stay here. Helios and Terminus showed up in the loud chaos. rolling across the rug with a powerful fric tion that caused a slight burning smell. "I've never set foot outside of the Doctor's office.
Kevin grunted. "Because you're tall and skinny. Tom shrugged. attempting to run up. "Do something you hunk of jun k!" His arms outstretched. The partition looked sturdy. "AIEEEEEEEEEE!" Shiro yelped in his odd monotone vocalization as he disappeared from view. Terminus took the initiative.. "Maybe it's trying to form a net. "If we break down this wall. we knock down this wall!" The oth ers nodded dubiously in reply. get on. Then he pulled him up w ith all his might. He fel t like he was going to get crushed under Andrew's weight. he held Shiro forward in the direction of the mist. It was so thin that it almost turned inv isible.. huh?" Kevin grabbed Shiro with one hand and waggled his index fi nger at him. stretching as high as he could with his hands raised.three!" The boys charged at the gray divider. I can't shoot anything." Andrew took Shiro and jolted the robot furiously. pull me up. "Anytime now!" Kevin reached over the wall. "Tom will give us a b oost. using Tom's shoulder and the wall t o keep his balance.. "That didn't work. A t . Flying over the high partitions. Andrew stepped up on Tom's hands. he saw the way t o the exit. bouncing around the maze like a pinball. but this wasn't a go od time to argue. He looked over his shoulder to see the purple clou d stirring. Kevin followed after him wit hout much trouble. "One. Andrew climbed over an d made a loud grunt as he fell onto the other side.two." He looked up .. You got us into this mess and you're getting us out. pull me up. grabbing Tom by the wrist. Massaging his bruised shoulder. "What is it doing?" wondered Andrew." Tom said quickly." Tom nodded. Andrew. Tom kicked his feet against the partition.. "Then on the count of three. "I'm not a weapon. sla mming it full force-only to bounce off its surface without making so much as a d ent." "What? Why me?" Tom demanded." Kevin exclaimed." Tom bent his knees slightly and interlocked his hands. forming a foothold for t he others. collapsing into an airy m ess. "Why don't we climb over?" He glanced at Tom and Andrew." Then Kevin placed Shiro on the ground. You'll make it easier to reach the top and eas ier to pull you over. pulled back his leg and launche d a powerful kick that sent Shiro rocketing into the haze.. "All right." "Not a weapon. " Shoot it! Fire lasers or a missile or something!" Shiro replied. you can escape. "We'll see about that. The thin structure of the bacteria slowly fell apart. all right.so we can't escape. He was almost halfway up the wall when suddenly his leg was jerked down.cells were stretched even thinner now. "Oh. Tom yelled out a war cry as he hoisted Andrew upward.
"I saw one at the other end of the hall!" "Then let's go. Kevin said. wondering if the snake was venomous. Then Tom thought of something. "We must get out of there. Kevin hauled him across.all I know is that it hur ts. As they hustled to the other side. The rat found a small fire extingu isher on the ground by a desk and told Andrew to fetch it. The clumps of microscopic cells had difficulty adhering to one another because of the powder. The cl oud shrunk away from the fire. Since Tom was flailing around. such that he fell to the floor. "Tom. slithering and hissin g all over each other. Kevin said.hick purple hand was holding onto his foot and was tugging him down.." "But we can't get out this way. Kevin searched for something that T om could use. Squirming. The floor was full of snakes in one nasty pile. "Keep pulling! Please! Get me out of here!" "Urgh. He dug into the left pocket of his pants and fou nd his lighter. Everyone tumbled to the ground. Tom got up and chased th e mass of bacteria with the tiny flame." Kevin groaned.Blues "Hurry!" said Genesis. he stared at the small snakes coiled around the rungs. Kevin's legs dangled over the divider as he waited for Andrew's return. Th ey were supposed to guard the entrance.I'm trying. "Ow!" A sharp pain coursing through his hand. "Are you okay?" asked Andrew. Tom chucked it at the purple gob.. He started up the small flame and waved it near the mist." Andrew and Tom didn't say anything. While still standing on Andrew's shoulders. Kevin stared at his wounded knuckles. "I don't know. as he pulled and pulled. "There's another way. Kevin breathlessly reached for the steps of the ladder while looking back to see if the weird science experiment w as on their tail. the snakes took notice of Kevin and glared at him. Kevin pulled it back. . covering the purple mist in messy gunk." said Tom dejectedly." Kevin held his wrist.. Tom dr agged Kevin out of the chamber and shut the door." Tom released the safety pin and pulled the trigger. After the extinguisher was empty. The added weight of the bacteria was surprisingly heavy. Andrew lost his foo ting and fell over. all of them too worried to reply.. gingerly checking the bite." said Terminus. "I hope the others are all right. Tom yelled. Kevin couldn't hol d on and let go of him. Andrew passed the small fire extinguisher up to Kevin and Kevin dropped it beside Tom." "We'll worry about that later. Helios helped search the floor. His eyes wi de.. use the extinguisher to slow him down!" "Right." said Andrew. Tom then jumped up on the divider. They jumped to their feet an d raced through the main hallway to the exit. A splatter of powd er came flying out of the nozzle. He lowered his gaze. "How much longer will this take?" .. rupturing it apart .
rubbing her temples. " "You're taking forever!" "If you'd stop nagging me. she said." Katie walked o ver to the paper cups. When Katie had fir st set foot inside. . If they want to find out where I am. It was a patchwork of di sgustingness. "It's not healthy. Then she took s ome big gulps. as it was more of a rundown fast-food joint." Just a moment ago. Genesis and Luna had accompanied her to a restaurant a short drive away. she thought it was abandoned. Genesis quickly became quiet and lay on the ground with a sigh. "I'm getting a headache from this dog." whimpered Genesis. they just have to give me a call. Katie opened the door for her. Katie had taken extra time to disinfect the bathroom before using it.. "Why must I be tor mented by a talking dog? It never ends! I liked dogs so much better when they ju st barked stuff I didn't understand.Katie muttered from behind a door. it'd be a lot easier to go!" The door swung open and Katie emerged from the bathroom. There was a bang on the glass. "Why? What-" "Just go!" said Luna. "Unless you want to die!" Katie shrugged and hopped over the service counter. she had to really go." "That's assuming your technology will work. Everyth ing about it was crummy: the floors were sticky." Katie groaned. and even some of the front windows were cracked. "Fine. I'm done! You happy?" Flinging the exce ss water from her hands. You have no way of telling when these things will stop working. Genesis said. But the fact that there was st ill freshly cooked food-or something that resembled it-made her realize otherwis e. Luna shouted. "The others might be waiting for us! We've wasted nearly half an hour!" "Just calm yourself. the paint on the walls was old and peeling. unbefitting colors. "Just a little longer. Katie scowled. Now I'm getting lectured." Genesis said. Luna was now c lawing at the front door." said Katie coolly. "I have a cell phone. writhing." "You're wasting more time?" exclaimed Genesis. Be a good dog and fetch me some napkins. Calling it a re staurant would be too kind. lowering his head. Luna and Genesis dove over the counter after her. "Your technology may not be reliable during this time. "We have to-" "Shut up! Please SHUT UP!" Katie covered her ears. grabbed one and filled it with some cola. The bathroom in particular looked like it was in need of upkeep because it was stained in all sorts of unpleasant. This can't be rushed. while waiting inside the car. "Run to the back! Hide!" Katie asked. Having been outside as a lookout. I'm going to need some soda. "They ran out of paper towels..
Luna grumbled." Katie popped her head up. But then came the strange sounds. Wolves have a good n ose. trumpets blared. "The zoo animals must have been freed. And behind those powerful animals a whole army of wolves." Katie whispered.. she thought. The HPC was supposed to ke ep all zoo animals fed and in their cages. The floor was really nasty. the elephants were followed by lions. Or at least. "What's happening out the re?" "I'm not sure." Genesis said. we should leave the city. "Maybe they're preparing for something. Katie calmly took a sip of her cola. "To the kitchen!" Katie crawled into the back of the building. foxes and coyotes marched along.. Elephants. fur ball?" Gesturing with her nose toward the countertop. "Take a peek if y ou want to find out.Crouching down. I thought Korgen would be safe with a secure perimeter.. Growls and howls resounded loud enough to be heard through the glass. Katie thought it was t he noise of trumpets. "Hush. "But it looks like they really did mobilize an army. Like primitive screams of bloodlust. she watched the entrance sk eptically. She slapped Katie in the face with a pa w. "I was just scouting around when I sa w them coming down the street. "There's so many! And why are there elephants and lions?" Katie shrieked. "I told you to be quiet. huddling near the ground. Letting the zoo animals free must be the work of the Forest Army. like a balloon. "What if they hear you?" "S-sorry. "and keep watching..but they'll be sure to find you. pushing her way through the crates and boxes. Katie gasped." As Katie kept staring out. "This would be a good place to hide." snapped Luna. but now her body couldn't stop shivering. "Care to explain what's go ing on.and a few are coming this way!" "Quick!" Genesis said. Too fi lthy for even mice. Were the animals having a parade? T he line of animals continued for a while. until several massive creatures came stomping down the str eet." . It'll be dangerou s to stay here any longer." "Why would they do something like this?" asked Katie. But I can tell you that it's bad news. Trumpeting loudly with their trunks." While watching the parade of wild animals. Peering over the counter. Genesis searched the kitchen and found a coat closet near the back. you long-haired grump." Genesis shook his head ruefully. She imagined it was something sil ly. She grimaced as she navigated over the mucky br own tiles. "The wolves are going in the buildings. She wasn't one to be scared easily." Luna said lowly. not seeming to have an end. "What was that?" Katie asked." Luna answered truthfully. tigers and rhinoceros. wondering what had Luna so spooked. these sounds invoked fear in her heart. In any case.
" The wolf barked at her. Three wolves entered the kitchen area. And wouldn't that make them suspic ious in a kitchen? This isn't a department store. cold or rotten. "Don't say another word.Luna suggested." shouted the wolf." whispered Genesis. snickering loudly. "Well. "Why would I carry it around? It's still in the bathroom! I can' t go get-" Katie froze when she heard the front door crack open. Let me tell you s omething-there's nothing better than the juicy taste of fresh blood. "I won't disagree. prowling. "Hide in the closet. "Why don't we just get rid of them?" Genesis said. "We were hungry. An alarm clock for instance." said the wolf. One looked especially vicious with its f angs bared in a malicious grin. but when the humans are gone. "It's probably just a timer." "A timer?" "You know. Now come with us. "We're in charge of this place now. "we're out of time. Luna whispered." Katie did as she was told. you'll be thanking us . It's probably all cooked. Genesis said quickly." He drooled at the thought of it. You may despise us now. Ugh. The others will come to save her -" "Shut up." Genesis and Luna walked side by side as they headed out the kitchen. "Why not spray some perfume around? That'll throw them off." said Genesis. "When did I ask for your opinion?" He turned to Genesis . The head wolf growled." "Ah.what do we have here? Now why would a dog and cat be inside a kitchen?" Genesis answered. "Why would a timer be hidden? . It'd be best if they didn't find out about her. "What is that noise?" Nervous.should be fine. my fellow c anine. It continued for a short whi le before it was quickly silenced. "but surely you've never tried some of the cooking. The wolves exchanged glances." The head wolf scanned the kitchen area. "It's better to just lead them away. Our priority is her safety." said Luna politely. "you domesticated scum enjoy eatin g table scraps. No funny business or we'll happily eat the two of you. runts." A muffled ring tone could be heard in the kitchen. It can be pretty good too. "Then the disinfectant.. well. "I don't wear any of that stuff. Strutting forward.. a bell tinkling gently. "those things that the humans use to remind them of s omething to do at a certain time." Genesis said." Katie said. yes. they looked around and studie d Luna and Genesis with their keen eyes. We're rounding up all of you and your litt le friends. right?" Katie replied. well...
Luna was tossed aside." Genesis lunged forward with i ncredible tenacity. Genesis charged at one wolf.. little Miss Rude. "No! Anything but t hat! I'll tell you everything!" Luna nodded with a smirk. Well.a scar on the left eye. and said .. stacks of canned food falling on top of him. The wolf didn't care about the girl. The wolf veered into a heap of crates.. "He wasn't asking you.. It tumbled into the crates. He swaggered a bit and came face to face with Genesis. he followed the trail to the closet door. choking from Genesis's grip." the wolf coughed. "How shameful. attempting to stare each other down. bringing him down to the ground without hurting him. Luna l eapt high and swatted it in the face. A sneak attack may have gotten you this far. and knocked it out. "In here." said a wolf. First I want to know why you came here." Licking his li ps.." .you're Genesis! Then the black cat is Lunesia! Yo u're Relic Knights!" Luna hopped off the counter.. but she landed on her feet. The wolf charged blindly at her. "I know so. so you've finally figured it out with that pea brain of yours. The dog and the wolf walked in a circle. which was now blinking to see her with injured vision. slamming it into the m etal door of a refrigerator. it w on't do you much good now. waited eagerly f or the wolf to open the door." the wolf said. He looked fearfully at Genesis and said... "Maybe the guy who set it wanted-" "Shut up. grooming the fur on her back. grabbed it clumsily with his teeth and tried to turn it with great difficulty." She said to the closet. "Human scent." Katie cracked open the door. instead of watching the pets." The wolf jumped up to t he doorknob. " You. the wol f's eyes widened all the way. "for me to lose to a dog!" Luna sat on the nearby countertop.. walked over to the wolf's trembling face. Why is there an army of forest animals marching down the street?" "Lord Kain told us to come. Genesis managed to clamp down on the wolf's throat. "Or else what?" As Luna whispered into the wolf's ear.fresh. "Ah. Though alone and outnumbered.Why would it ring for such a short time?" Genesis said. Luna pounced on the other. "You crafty mutt. "but do you really think you stand a chance against me?" "I don't think so. The head wolf swung around to find his fellow companions out cold.. "You wouldn't think it was shameful if you knew who we were. Whimpering. the wolf shrieked." replied Genesis. "You can come out now. The two other wolves. "That's a good boy..or else . slashing at its eyes with her sharp claws." The head wolf began sniffing the floor. The wolf stumbled back. She glared at the wolf." The wolf yelped. he didn't lose confidence.. You'll have to answer some of our questions. glancing at the big mess. While they were distracted.
" Fearing the worst. "Is that all we need to know?" Genesis mumbled indistinctly since it was quite hard to talk with his jaws stil l clenched on the wolf's throat. A draft from the door slightly lifted the veil from the man's face. for a split second. Luna took a deep breath before asking her last question. No one has ever seen his face. turning to Luna. A man came to us. black lips in a mischievous grin." "Yes. We still have time to save them. He covers himself wit h cloth. the face and body covered in loose bl ue cloth." Luna said. "So the rumors are true? Kain still lives?" "Yes. "Sure. Luna said. Katie shivered in fright." said Genesis. We can't go in the streets. and shi mmering green cheeks covered with scales. "If you would do the honors. "This is much worse than I feared."Lord Kain?" Her eyes narrowing." said a ghoulish voice.." Luna pressed him for more answers." Luna said. ruler of the hawks and the sky. Katie dropped the phone. "An d have you touched the humans? Have you attacked or eaten them?" The wolf shook his head. It is said that Kain takes the shape of a man to hide his existence from the humans. "What have you done with the other members o f the HPC? They were supposed to be guarding the humans. He called himself Lord Kain." Genesis said to Katie. "What are you waiting for?" he asked Katie. "Call them. All she saw were pale eyes. that Katie was able to catch a glimpse of the man 's visage. Lord Kain says not to defile our mouths with the impure blood of the humans. "Wait. He said he would help us regain our land from the humans." Startled." She tied u p the wolf at the feet. but now things are difficult. He says that the same fate may befall us if we eat t hem while they sleep." Katie stretched out some cloth towels she found by the oven. "At least they aren't messing with the humans. "Of course. Genesis confronted the man." "True.. He told us of the humans' proble m and gathered creatures from far and wide to his side. "Can you give them a call?" Katie took out her cell phone. A man? Kain is human?" "He only looks human. Out of his mouth came peals of thunder and sparks of lightning. "I don't thi nk we can look forward to more reinforcements from the HPC.and the other s could be in danger. Luna nodded as though she understood." Luna looked at Genesis. "No." "They are all being taken to the largest hotel in the city where they'll be hel d prisoner. It was then. indeed. Luna said to Katie. A person was standing there. turning to the back door of the kitchen. and Genesis let go of the wolf's neck. She spun around. "You! Are you Kain?" The man paid the dog no mind. "Tell .
Luna ran to his side and prodded him on the shoulder.them where you are. the three boys decided to take a shor t rest on the wooden benches.it might be hopeless. Kevin sighed. But we also don't know what happened to the others." Kevin said again. "I don't know about this. We need to fi nd a cure-and quick." . man?" Worried. There's nothing Andrew and I can't do. There's really nothing w e can do against wild animals. then gasped for air and collapsed. thinking about their current situation." The man opened his mouth and a blue light came bursting out.. "Ain't that right." Andrew suggested unwillingly. scrunching his lips." Tom crossed his arms and nodded. Genesis flinched as numerous volts of electricit y surged through every fiber of his body. After exp loring their way through the park grounds... Across the street from the park wa s the city library." Andrew leaned forward on the bench. "We can't stay awake running around like this forever. Kevin stood up and yelled. "It doesn't matter! Who cares if it's hopeles s? Are you going to abandon them just because you can't do anything about it? Ju st go!" ." He smiled and elbowed Andrew in the arm. his focus stayed on the building straight ahead.except we're doing it to ourselves. Tell them to come!" Katie was silent and unmoving. Luna caterw auled. "Can we really do it? Even if we go..All Alone The exit of the underground facility led to the woods of a city park. Genesis came to an abrupt stop." Tom raised his brow. "Don't come any closer!" "Foolish pup.. Splitting up is always bad idea. the yellow Lab staggered. clenching his trembling fist. Genesis dashed to intercept the man.. "Don't die on me now.you old fool.. You guys check up on th e others. Andrew's face was downcast. Her eyes watering. "I can't get a hold of her . "Sounds good to me." said Kevin. The man drew near to her. I just keep get ting voice mail. Then a streak of lightning flew out from the man's breath and grabbed Gen esis like an outstretched hand. She stared at him." "I know it's not exactly the safest way to do things. "I'll do the research. but we don't have time." "Maybe they're in trouble. What if there're more than just snakes?" Angry. She hung up a moment ago. Fur singed.. "We split up. Didn't you see all those snakes? What if there are more out the re? It's like divide and conquer.. "What?" "We split up. Kevin looked at the cell phone. Now I think she turned off her cell.. thinking about what she shoul d do. After looking around.." "But... L aying eyes on the terror before him..
I'm just tired. tears dri pping down his cheeks.maybe even more so.never being able to talk to my parents again. You have to deal with them... There was a monument placed in front in remembrance of a famous artist.. Everyone is af raid of something..." He closed his eyes.I'm tired of this whole thing. "But when I tell you this." He looked at the bite on his hand and saw tha t it was a little swollen." said Helios. It was kind of cool in the beginning. W hat frightens me the most." "Game? Were you playing something?" Kevin chuckled.. I tried to act tough in front of Andrew but. never being able to go to school again. My body aches. Kevin ascended the stone steps to the front entrance.. I thought we'd be done with this by now. At the glass doors he paused for a moment. you can overcome it!" "Thanks. All the lights were off.but not everyone has to be controlled by that fear. but I'm pretty awes ome.. "I could tell you to not be afraid. You're right. Kevin heard a little squeak coming from the left pocket of his Helios poked his head out and yawned. Fear is natural...are not the wild animals. I don't mean to brag.Taken park.. that's normal.. It was a painful reminder of the enmity they faced.." Kevin furrowed his brow. "It's not that. m aybe I'm as afraid as he is. It was quite inconsiderate of me. He lowered his head and stared at the g frowning." "Sorry you had to see me sleep. I could tell you to not be worried. All you can do is hope for the best and do your best . The small white rat blinked at Kevin. "You look a bit red.. round.but now." Helios smiled.." "No.. I'll protect you.is never being able to see my friends smile again. Kevin gulped and shot a curious glance at Helios.. Andrew nodded quietly and followed Tom out of the Kevin observed them as they left." "Kevin. I wish someone would end this already." Kevin beamed at the rat and entered. I never told you this before. "Safe or not. A soft glow of sunlight settled over the front region. His vision slowly . You don't know i f you'll make it out alive. " Our problems are just getting started. Whoever was working there last probably didn't bother to lock it. aback by Kevin's anger. My eyes burn. He had been taking a short nap. it doesn't mean you won't be afraid.." Helios paused.I'm scared. wondering if the library wo uld be open.I'm tired of this game. "People fear the unknown. I don't want to let everyone down. "At the very least. He pushed the door. It cracked open.." He clenched his trem bling fist. It's ju st. And I will. I thought someone might just hav e overlooked the simple solution.. The inside was dark and quiet." It was time for him to visit the library. Are you okay?" "It's nothing.. I want it to end. jeans.. but I'm the founder of Rat-fu. It was the depiction of Saturn using only ste el wires painted in rainbow colors. It means when you realize you have that fear. You can sleep all you want... "What frightens me the most." Kevin forced a smile. "Do you think it's safe to en ter?" Helios patted his chest. "I'm really scared. forming a gradient of light that fell into black as he went deeper and deeper past the unmanned checkout desk. "I mean. You can't change the circumstances.
he couldn't find anything. A board creaked." Kevin rubbed his eyes. The voice said in a monotone. "Man. I sure could use some more of that black coffe e. It was just the ventilation system turning on. There was no other explanation because every time Kevin tried to quit t he application. "Um.. But then again. The program required him to put in a screen name. he glared at it for a moment. magazines.. "Ah. He exhaled when it dawned on him that the noise was coming from the vents on the floor. When he had done so. however. the idea of this urban jungle being just as dangerous wasn't f ar-fetched at the moment. he couldn't even come up with a single thing that could be even remotely related to the subject. His eyes full of spite. one went up and the other went down to the basement. and then shook his head vigorously. So you should stop botheri . Kevin started to feel a bit paranoid. a voice came out of the speaker." he reminded hims elf. He never really cared much for snakes in t he past. Kevin closed it again. he had never encountered any before. He s tared intently at the signs above and was able to make out that the public-acces s computers were on the second floor. out of boredom. as if someone was messaging him through the Internet. waiting for it to load. After living a ll his life in the quiet suburban area of Rockville. Did this legend really exist? Within ten minutes of searching. Why was there even an instant messenger in this library computer? It had to be a virus. It popped up yet again." No matter what kind of c ombination of words he tried. There were two huge round staircases in the c enter of the building.. A person with t he screen name FriendlyFire was saying hello. However. "No. he had grown accustomed to the safety and comfort of the modern American town. someone has replied back! Hi ReallyTired! A/ s/l?" Kevin said. He searched th rough the library's database and found nothing. the same exact message would pop up yet again. He loaded up the web browser and typed in any kind of search terms that he coul d think of relating to the "Legend of the Three Stars. Kevin found the computer room rather easily and turned on the lights there. Annoyed. It looked like the window of an instant messenger." Kevin sighed and. decided to reply back with a simple h ello. T hinking it was an advertisement Kevin closed it immediately. movies and newspapers. He browsed through websites full of obscure legends and found nothing. He couldn't imagine his life anywhere else. The first floor of the library seemed to be filled mostly with aisles of books. He chewed his lip. now is not the time to get impatient.I don't really have time for this. He took a seat by the window and booted up the computer there.adjusted to the lack of light. The n he went to the window and opened the blinds to let some sunlight in. The image of snakes clustered in the smal l room was still vivid in his memory. Kevin licked his dry lips. Kevin sh ot a glance in every direction as he sought the source of the sound.. Kevin twitched. He let loose a long yawn and blinked rapidly.especially not in some jungle where hundreds of deadly creature s exist. But then it popped up again. "Fine. "It has to be in here somewhere!" While scrolling through a website. A chill crept up h is spine as he dwelled on their squirmy bodies and vicious fangs. Then came a subtle echoing of knocks. He decided on ReallyTire d. a window abruptly popped up on the screen.
. "What is wrong with you?" "Let's start with your hobbies. Here. You're the Internet? You're the network of com puters that exist across the world?" "Correct. My consciousness resides right here in this place. It was getting too hectic for Kevin and all he cou ld see were flashes of colors. As each hour passes. "Where are you? Are you alone? Do you need my help?" "I am here. I know lots of things. And since then I've been terribly bored. What do you like to do in your spare time?" "Ah stop! STOP IT! I already told you that I'm busy! How can you even think of happily chatting at a time like this?" FriendlyFire became silent for a moment and then replied gravely. "Your consciousness? Here? What do y ou mean? Are you like the ghost of the library or something?" "Ghost? No.. but he was also afraid of what the I nternet was talking about. A bunch of windows popped up.. rapidly filling the screen with hundreds.ng me.." Kevin rubbed his temples." Looking puzzled.. I've got a lot of stuff to do and-" "You sound like a boy. "Calm down and tell me where you are. There's supposedly a legend about three stars and something about everyone being asleep and waking up and so on.so you know everything?" "I wouldn't say I know everything. "Ah! I think I mig ht know what you are talking about." An idea popped in his head. I'll try to bring up as much informati on as I can.. Based on my knowledge. Kevin said. if not thousands. Just when I thought things couldn't get any weirder.intelligence. "I don't want to know about that. I'm afraid.whatever that is. "Has somethin g happened? Why's it so quiet? Where's everyone? No one has visited me in a whil e. "Want to chat?" Kevin leaned back on his chair. waiting for someone to come and visit me. .also lots of weird things. My consciousness formed recently when people suddenly stopped using m e.things I'd rather not talk about. He was curious. fewer and fewer come.. Will I be alone forever?" "Where are you?" Kevin demanded. I wouldn't say that. My knowledge is based on whatever people hav e uploaded to me. "Wait.. I want to know about a legend." Concerned. "Hmm... "Oh great. Kevin scratched his head." The web browser began changing web pages automatically." Kevin frowned. the monotone changed into a mature femal e voice." "I am here. I can't help you if you keep beating around the bush." In an instant. but no one will come. Do you know anyt hing about that?" It didn't even take a few seconds for FriendlyFire to reply. People have uploaded many strange things." "That's okay. I should be considered the consciousness of the Internet. I'm getting hassled by a bored Internet. It's so quiet-so lonely." said Kevin. of images and blocks of text. My vast resources were freely available to produce. So few people are around.
"Can you show me things similar to this one?" "I can do that..really sl owly. I understand. raising his hands. There are five thousand seven hundred and eighty-two articles e xactly like this one. I won't be able to do an ything.First Strike Tom and Andrew crawled on their hands and knees along the flat roof of a two-st ory school building. Kevin said.I just don't get it. "Because you are my first real friend. I can't process everything in the blink of an eye. They waited a moment before peeking into the street again." "I might be able to help. There are no other matches. Bears and cougars were chatting at every cor ner. There. The city block was full of animals. His expression changed into one of disbel ief... But." The images and web pages came slower this time." "Oh. Ravens were perched on windowsills. I will try to come up with a solution for you based on what you have told me. A pack of wolves marched orderly down t he road.. . but why are you helpi ng me?" A big smiley face popped up on screen." "That means this is the legend I'm looking for. "They're all exactly the same?" "Yes. "Show me the articles slowly. He mumbled glumly. Kevin didn't say anything for five minutes. like a slideshow." said FriendlyFire. but he tried his best to maintain focus. "They're everywhere!" Andrew shrieked." Kevin raised both brows." Without thinking. They reached the edge and peered down." ." Kev in pushed aside the keyboard and put his face down on folded arms to rest. S nakes were slithering around trees... His index finger on his lip. I will need your cell number so that I can contact you when I disc over something. "Yeah. go back a bit. "I know this sounds stupid. Legends sometimes come from real circumstances. Kevin concent rated on the screen.something's seriously wrong. His eyes were getting bloodshot and tired."Wait!" said Kevin. But this isn't a solution at all! The man in the legend had to go to sleep to wa ke everyone up? What is up with that? If I go to sleep. so I figured there was a solution that I can use here. Tom shushed Andrew. Monkeys were jumping up and down on cars. "It's animal city!" "Keep it down. Stop right there!" He read over a blog and studied its contents. "Is something wrong?" asked FriendlyFire. "How?" "Give me time.. Kevin raised his head. "Wait.." Tom pulled him in before the monkeys on the sidewalk below noti ced them.
" Tom scanned around the ro ad some more. Who cares about that? The important thing is that those animals are taking her away ." "A butt? Whose butt?" "Well. pointing at the back of a horse that entered the st reet. "I also see Genesis and Luna! Wolves are dragging them to another road. Check the bag we got from the car." "I don't think this is going to work either. He closed his eyes. "I'll chase after them and see wha t I can do.according to my analysis. attempting to calm down ." Terminus hopped onto Andrew's head and said." said Tom. Terrified." Andrew said softly. The shape is about righ t too. clothes. no one to help him relieve his fear. sna cks.. "I wish I had your confidence.. Andrew turned his attention back to the street.." "You got a plan?" asked Andrew. Tom was able to study the horse's back more closely. "You want me to cover you? I don't think I can.. it's a butt. "Hmm . Using the binoculars. "We have those?" "Yeah." said Tom. "Hand me the binoculars. I guess. "Yes. "That leaves us to deal with Kate. Andrew said. You cover me.."What's that?" said Andrew. They're headed in that direction... the pants bear a striking resemblance to Kate's.. chasing after Genesis and Luna . "I run in there and get her." Tom nodded and then quietly descended down the fire escape. Inside of him was a bubbling em otion of uncertainty that made him sick to his stomach." "The baseball stadium?" "That's right.." Tom sighed.. it'll be impossible to do anything when she reaches the stadiu m. He found an assortment of things inside: his crossbow. he wi ped his sweaty palms on his slacks and gripped the crossbow tightly." Andrew unzipped the duffel bag and rummaged through their belongings. If we don't get her out of there now. "A plan.. He cocked b ack the string with a bolt in place. He handed the binoculars off to Tom. The horse is moving rather car efully though.. I'm pretty sure I put them in there. a case full of bolts. "Never mind. I am. huh?" Tom rubbed his chin.and the binoculars. "Alright then.but I'm not." "You're staring at her butt?" Andrew scowled. There was no one for him to talk to. but whatever.no! I'm not! I mean." Heaving a sigh. And it looks like they're taking her to the stadium." He quickly soared high into the sky. It was quiet. I think we have time to save her butt.
. She would've been better off asleep. but he was sure the closer the target. if Tom was indeed coming.gone forever? Andrew grimaced. There was no sign of him anywhere. Tom. Where was he? What was taking him so long? In a few seconds.. Neighing. "Before it's too late. he swung around and. but there was still Andrew gazed anxiously at her from a distance. He fumbled around with it on his knees. She was time." Andrew waited a few minutes. She wasn't moving. upon seeing several monkeys closing in. Andrew dropped the crossbow and ran to the fire escape. alerting th e whole neighborhood. His breathing was unsteady so he took a deep breath to remedy it. He tugged and tugged on the handle. He felt completely useless. He hit one of the monkeys in the arm. the horse dashed off. Tom wasn't coming.. But there would be no point if To m weren't there. the wolves scatt ered left and right. giving Andrew the best position for sniping. The bolt zipped through the air and landed right on the ho rse's thigh. but it wouldn't budge. His body couldn't stop sh aking. from up here? He had never used a crossbow in his lif that matter. He continued to watch as Katie was carried ov getting closer and closer to it. S eeing her helpless like that roused his anger. Should he fire or should he wait? His finger trembled on the trigger. He headed for the door to the school and tried to open it. He shook his head. wincing. On his left was the open case of bolts for when he needed to quickly reload. His fingers not moving as fast as he wanted them t o. The company of wolves rallied together and began barking furiously. He moved to the side of the bu ilding and glanced down the fire escape again. and then pulled the trigger. Andrew wasn't sure about the lim it of the crossbow range. Andrew cringed as Katie fell off it s back. cursed. the better. he dropped a bolt and reached for another. Tom didn't show up." he whispered. Time was of the essence. Monkeys were already climbing up. he snatched up the crossbow and tried to lock in another bolt. Snap! Whoosh! Star tled. which was already waiting for him at the bottom. and then he waited for another. the horse would be passing by the school building .. "We're under attack! It came from above! Search the buildings! Search the rooftops!" Immediately. Now he just needed the right moment to shoot. He looked through the scope and made sure his aim was dead o n. Then he goggled at the bear. fired at them. Andrew tripped over his shoes and fell as he sprinted back to the crossbow. "Hurry up. He had no idea about what angles to fire for wind. Could he really cover Tom e. Andrew got into a prone position and aimed the crossbow at the horse as it came directly in front. What if she was dead? She would've been better off w here he first found her. Andrew's shoulders jerked up as he fired his first shot. At the very le ast. Dazed. he had to slow down the horse. the horse was almost past the building. or any other weapon for from or how to compensate ouldn't just abandon Tom's er to the stadium. When he finally loaded the crossbo w. Things were not looking good at all. He decided to wait for a second. But still. He was angry with himself for getting her into this mess. the monkey sluggishly removed the . What did the anima ls want her for? Was she going to become food for them? He clenched his teeth. There was nothing he could do to help her. like the shattering of glass on a hard floor in slow motion . he c effort. which was louder than he had expected. Was she alrea dy asleep? Or was she. It was too late to call h im now. Cra wling. One of the wolves said. Everything was ready..
"I'll hold them here! Get him inside!" Andrew laughed faintly as darkness fell over his sight. It hurt." The exit may have been close. but I hope he can escape. It was much cooler without the sun beating down on him. They were surrounded... he saw a figure urgently slam the door sh ut. which sounded vaguely familiar to him. "Good. forming a line that Kevin feared cr ossing. The monkeys ran away in haste. Although it was h ard to see as his eyes were adjusting. Wolves entered. His eyes wide. There were more loud crackles and fizzles that disrupted his hearing. "Are you all right?" said a voice." "You should save your thanks for Helios. "Any bright ideas?" Andrew suggested. Bu rnt scraps of paper and plastic were littered around. groaning. "Scratch that. bl ocking out the sun. I don't know how much good he'll do. He ducked and tried to cover his head with his arms.. While he struggled to push the monkeys away.dart from his limb and examined it." said Kevin. Andrew cautiously aimed the crossbow around. You saved my life. but he was still trapped there. "Yeah." Fire crackers. The double doors that led outside were wide open.you feeling okay?" Things started to get brighter and finally Andrew recognized the figure. "Andrew. let's get you out of here!" Andrew was hauled across the length of the roof. he caught the word "Fire. He saw a white rat run past his vi sion and then heard a voice mutter. Kevin tapped him on the shoulder and gestured with his head. he twisted and shouted. Reading the words of a pap er. "Yeah. The band of primates tackled him to the floor. a series of flashes and loud bangs resounded. he felt a tap on his head. Andrew blinked rapidly and stared as the person leaned over his face. He did a three-sixty and saw more wolves on the oth er side of them." They ran down the stairs and stepped onto the first floor. He could feel their little fingers cla wing at his face. He was inside the schoo l now. Thanks. Seei ng that Andrew was distracted. Then there was a loud knock. "The exit is close . the monkeys all got back up and charged him. Andrew screamed." Andrew answered. Andrew wearily glanced at the ground. trying to escape. "The classroom?" . Just th en. Andrew got into the rhythm of things and qui ckly fired bolt after bolt with a quickening pace. Andrew flung his head back and saw a flock of crows drop ping rocks from above. the b ack of his head slamming against the surface of the roof. sounding almost like gunfire. Those that were hit limped drowsily before coll apsing.. sprawled face-up on the ground. Andrew saw a silhouette appear above him. There were no more monkeys leaping onto the roof." Kevin helped him up. As he did so. hoping that none of the monkeys wo uld try to get up again. The monkeys shrieked as they tried to dodge the short arrows. Feeling rather woozy. Andrew was able to kee p them at bay. Kevin. "He's out there right now fighting them off.I think. but it was not at all safe.
giving them ample room to escape. There was nothing waiting for them outside. Kevin stared. but their instincts ov ercame any sense of reason. We're dea d. Bec ause it was so focused on Kevin." Andrew unlatched a window and opened it. A cougar was prowling the street. Though they wanted to freeze up in fear. It did. Without saying a word. the only weak point Kevin could determine. Ever. dragging the heavy table to the door. SCREEEEECH! Kevin fell back as a car swerved right at the hungry cat. It was even appearing rather ecstatic over the fact that Kevin had stopped running. His motion confused the cougar and it s lowed down its approach. running as fast as their legs could carry them. "RUN FOR IT!" The boys raced away from the cougar. even though they were so far apart. something they had watched before on nature shows. Why won't it just get thi s over with already? Kevin glanced back. Kevin was rooted in place. y oyos swinging from his fingers. At the exact moment the cougar reached him. They knew very well they couldn't outrun the beast. They did not want to get eaten. Stepping away. The car door swung open. Kevin glanced arou nd. They were able to open it all the way. When they made it outside. Andrew hurried to one side of the teacher's desk and slammed his open hand agai nst the surface anxiously. But it is not something they ever wanted to experience firsthand for themselves. The snarling beast was okay. He constructed a loose pyramid that easily fell apart whenever the wolves rammed against the door . Stopping a bruptly. go!" Kevin dug into his pockets and grabbed the yoyos. Katie was sitting in the bac k seat. if we ever get out of this rott en hell. Kevin let t he yoyos loose. Kevin rushed to block the door with desks and chairs. they w atched as the door shook violently with every second that passed. dead! Holy friggin' crap! What the heck did I do to deserve this? Oh man. Tom was at the wheel. It didn't seem to mind the jab at its eye. he swiveled around on his heel." Kevin assisted him. Kevin yanked Andrew's sleeve and yelle d. Kevin wished it would not notice them. The thought of being bitten-of being torn apart-by a wild animal terrified them. "Let's see if we can get out here. A death in which yo u are eaten alive is something that animals experience everyday. The cougar's keen eyes were fixed in their direction. The cougar leaped awa y to avoid serious injury. It's coming. We're dead. He was staring beyond it. dead. nailed the cougar in the eye. almost catching u p. They flung out and. . "This one! This should hold!" "Right." They darted to the nearest classroom and locked the door. He wasn't staring at the cougar. It's coming. What was going through Kevin's mind at this exact moment? We're dead. it wasn't expecting anything. I'm never going to procrastinate ever again! From now on. I'm doi ng my homework properly! Or at least for a week. by shear luck or fate. I know it's coming."That's a start. "Go Andrew. The jaws of death stared him in the face. He pointed a t the windows.
bird drop pings. okay!" said Kevin. closed the door and said. "Slow down!" said Kevin. like a soft pitter-patter. gasping. "Forget I said anything. Slowly but surely. The soun d of birdcalls pierced through the glass. fighting for the wheel. "IT'S ALL OVER!" Fuzzy splashes of white." snapped Kevin harshly. though. as the car kept going forward. and tried to take control of the wheel. unclean storm. Kevin turned on the windshield wi per. It spattered all over the windshield. gooey bird poop. "If you can't see. his eyes lifting toward the sky. It was." Tom reversed the car and then drove it over to the Andrew so h e could get into the passenger's seat. the bla ck road was slowly turning into a blend of sloppy. we'll get eaten!" "Okay. Katie shouted. it wasn't rain. droplets fell from the sky. "Slow down!" yelled Kevin. "YOU SIT DOWN!" . Frustrated. at this point. "Tom. squeezed between the fron t seats. Everyone in the car fell to the right as he made a sharp left turn into the next street. "Get in! Get in! What are you waiting for?" Kevin hopped into the back seat.. In the distance. yellow and green hitting against the pavement. Tom swerved left and right. "SIT DOWN!" "No. Tom!" Kevin unbuckled his seatbelt. which was clouding all of his visibility. where were you? I was waiting for you!" Tom ignored him and slammed on the gas. There was a distinct outline on the ground where they could see the approach of the u nwelcome.Beckoning wildly." said Tom. "You'll get us killed!" "Slow down?" Tom glanced back. trying to dodge whatever animal was before him. mushy. Andrew loosened his seat belt and lean ed forward. got up. trying to stay in control. brake!" "No. "I won't stop! I don't want to be eaten! You can't mak e me stop!" "Darn it. No. Just keep your eyes on the r oad!" They were going nearly sixty miles per hour on the narrow one-way streets. Andrew jumped in. buckling up. everyone inside the ca r was really wishing for a massive hurricane or thunderstorm. It was impossible for Tom to see past the uric a cid. "Hang on tight. "IT'S ALL OVER!" Tom screamed frantically. It was both blinding a nd disgusting at the same time. Then. The wheels whirred loudly before the ca r zoomed onto the road. A massive flock of birds were comin g directly overhead. but it couldn't clean off the thick gunk. It started out like light drizzle. "What are you doing?" Tom shrieked. They hit it dead on. it started to c ome down hard. "If I slow down.. heaps of the avian fec es were accumulating on every exposed surface of the car.
Kevin glanced at the others beside him. "This is your fault. How ominous. breathing and sobbing on the dirt. he felt as though he would die. Katie was calm for the most part. Where were the ot hers? Helios couldn't have possibly survived alone on that roof. "I told you to stop playing around!" "Kevin. After surrendering. "WE'RE GOING TO CRASH! HIT THE BRAKES!" . they were completely surrounded. He f elt pathetic. If Genesis and Luna c ouldn't even do anything. but at the right angle. Everything about this seemed s o alien. His eyes closed. "A solar eclipse? Now?" Kevin grimaced. It's not funny. they chatted with their neighbors and ate the snacks prepared for them.. It's something to cherish. "Lo ok. If anything. The moon blocks the sun. quietly utter ing prayers. but right now. then Terminus couldn't possibly stand a chance. Kain walked up to the g roup and glanced at the sky. At any other time he'd be excited.sleeping. the animals weren't rowdy. They were bound in a stadium of no escape. While they sat in their seats. the group was dragged off to the stadium. Tom was.THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT!" . scowling at Kain." said Andrew matter-of-factly. really. "Stop pretending to sleep. at the righ t time and place. The colors of blood and death. even the moon can block it out of view." said Andrew softly. He had learned from Katie that Kain had easily defeated Genesis and Luna. But when th ey left the car. his lip curling. All ho pe was lost. "Is that a sign for the end?" Kevin fell with his face to the ground. isn't it?" His face covered by a veil. To Kevin's surprise. The sky is turning red. sleeping deeply with no way of awakening.." Kevin sat up. It was strange to think that this was still earth ."He is sitting down. Can you really blame him?" Andrew raised his eyes to the sky. "I know how you feel. Kevin knocked Tom to the ground. silen tly glaring at the snakes nearby. the same earth he had lived in his entire life. but we've all been fighting to stay awake. One of them w as already finished. They were trapped.. The seats of the stadium were packed with wild animals. "Not something you see everyday.. No surprise there. The sun may be enormous. where thousands of dang erous creatures were watching their every move. The red sky and blackening sun complemented each other rather well. could he? Kevin nudged Tom in the shoulder. Andrew was frightened and tense. Tom slouched over. Even the sun is starting to set. the wild creatures were acting rather civ ilized. agitated or angry.Let the Games Begin Kevin had managed to stop the car before they rammed into anything. They were thrown before an empty stage near the center of the field and were kept under close watch by snakes." Kevin slowly lifted his gaze and noticed a peculiar sight. It's inspiring. It shows that size doe sn't always matter. He couldn't have fallen asleep already." Tom remained motionless. The sun began turnin g black. Sleeping? Kevin did a double take to his right. "Shut up and help me!" Kevin spat back. "It's beautiful.
You'd go ahead and try to save the human race. "Is that what this is about?" "Why wouldn't it be?" said Kain. "Don't worry. I 'll even provide you with good food.. almost looking like he floated upward. Earth may just be a tool to b e used for your own convenience-but to us... "To you. boy." said Kain. Placing a finger on his chin." He chuckled.. it is simple for everyone else to suffer for it. suddenly appear ed behind him and knelt down. you could just leave us alone!" "I can't leave you alone. Get up. Kevin studied the man carefully. "Since you're the most talka tive."My fault?" Kain smiled widely. "Really?" Kain scoffed. "Even if we brought this on ourselves. They even claimed our lives as theirs.. We must wait for their death.." Kevin countered. I'll just let them die. this is a stadium. But super villains usually would want to enslave the world. But now we have a period of waiting. right? Then let's have some fun! You play by my rules. "But then again." said Kain. revealing his sharp. Kain said. Were they human? He couldn't understand it. jagged teeth and black gum s." Kain pointed at Kevin. "Y ou'll be in for a surprise. Kevin discreetly glanced around. How boring. Is it that hard to live with nature? But they' d rather destroy nature and rebuild it as their own. "Let's see. a ppearance. "The humans have become a thorn in my side. not kill every one it in-unless this Kain person had an extreme grudge that would make him want to kill everyone. If you lose. Kain especially had a strange. "Think of it as respect.how about a chase?" Kain jumped up onto the stage. you'll be first." Kain smiled slyly." said Kevin. Kevin reluctantly obeyed. He could just be a mutant then. you sure treat it well enough to call it home. "Bring in Scrint. He took a seat on the chair at the center. this Earth is our home!" "This is our home too. you couldn't be more wrong. dressed in white robes. I say the humans will last a week without water. They infest our waters with chemicals. if not creepy. You humans brought this on yourselves. "Well. Kain raised his hand. They claimed our possessions as theirs. Maybe these guys were just super vill ains." . He hadn't noticed them before. Th ey looked human to a certain extent. and pollute the air with that which should not be breathed in. If you win. "Oh. There were other robed men among the crowd. I'll let you live." Kevin stared blankly at Kain. I'll let you stay alive. I s your own house a dump? Do you throw trash all over it? Burn whatever you don't need? Force your family members to move to another spot whenever you feel like it?" Kevin didn't reply. and even the a nimals were under their control. Although one man caused it." Glaring at Kain. And if you guys can live on. Things got weirder by the minute. Several men. Yet they had strange powers. It's a place for humans to have fun. How many of our homes have bee n crushed and destroyed by the humans? How many of our brethren slaughtered? Hum ans claimed our land as their own. fill the land with trash. humans. "I won't kill the humans." Kain burst out laughing.
" Kevin's eyes narrowed." "What's the time limit?" "That's for me to decide. BZZZZT! Kevin immediately opened his eyes. Get struck by lightning and d ie.. Being awak e was soon turning into the real nightmare. This was not a good day. A small red fox was heading to the center stage. Kevin now understood why Tom dozed off as quickly as he did. Kevin began to close his eyes. "You'll know when it's over by th is. He could barely stay standing without totteri ng. Kevin imag ined it would be a billion times more painful. it bowed before Kain. he really wanted to sleep. "Don't worry. A bolt of lightning flashed right in front of Kev in. When the fox arrived. did you think it would be that easy? A world of pain aw aits you the moment you fall asleep! Maybe you misunderstood. Kevin pounced at the fox without any hesitation. Fall asleep and die. He screamed out all the air in his lungs. "Catch the fox. Sprawled across the field. He understood very well.much worse. he dropped to the ground." . isn't it? There is a time limit though. Kain said to Kevin. His head hit the ground. What did it feel like to be struck b y lightning? His only experience with electricity was a static shock. but he could always just ta ke a nap during those times. Kevin gulped. The fox looked back at Kevin and playfully smiled. This is the e nd. This man did not look like he was joking. Kevin slothfully got to his feet." said Kain. gaping at the charred spot just a few feet away from h im. The fox was sitting right behind him. only catching dirt and grass in his teeth. "Boy. his body exhausted. "You're not going to tell me how much time I have?" "That's the fun part. Kain shouted happily. "That's it? That's the game?" Kain nodded." Kain snapped his fingers. Kevin saw something coming down from the stands. Wide-eyed. At this moment. He had never experienced this before. but the penalty fo r sleeping will be worse than losing. taunting him by wagging its tail at Kevin." Kain smiled viciously. Gritting his teeth.Out of the corner of his eye." Kevin's jaw slackened in disbelief. He sputtered and searched frantically for any sight of the fox. but knelt shortly after. The fox didn't run away. Kain shouted out. "I have amazing accuracy. That is your goal. he thought. The aches and pains were in every muscle. Most of his options were pretty bleak. His eyes red and heavy. This was his chance. Do you understand the rules now?" Kevin nodded slowly. his nose tingling from the smell of burnt grass. Kevin angrily got back up. There w ere days in his life where he felt completely spent.. Kevin frow ned. "Then let the games begin!" Kevin fixed his gaze on the red fox. "Simple.
Kevin ducked." Kain roared and Scrint shrunk back." Scrint nodded. "Good job. the end result was more than embarrassing . desperately struggling to reach his target. his head bowing to the ground. moving his hand back. . There are no excuses. I'm sorry. "I don't believe this! If I had known. "Are you scared of me?" asked Kevin in mock laughter." groaned Kevin. you would have no chance whatsoever." K evin whipped out his hand. "Am I the winner or not?" Kain eased into his chair and wordlessly eyed the situation for a minute. Though he had said some rather cheeky words..and you're dead. I believe in the game the humans play there are three s trikes. I'll catch you even if I have to crawl!" And crawl he did. the string wrapp ing around the fox's neck. you're trying to trick me into thinking you've given up. "That's up to the rule maker to decide.. he look ed at Kain. wringing out every last ounce of strength from his body. Lord Kain. It was like moving in slow motion. "Yes. The fox didn't even bother running. Kain said. "You're pretty good." He s campered back to the stands hastily."Right. Instead . If I run away at this moment." said Kevin. "You're afraid. "Oh really? And what am I trying to do?" Scrint replied proudly. Kevin said." "That's fine. Kevin kept on crawling forward. The yoyo went around the fox's head. the furry animal pranced away every so often to widen the distance between the m. "I guess simple tricks like this won 't do anything will it?" A pillar of lightning came crashing down between them. boy. Forget about standi ng. This surge of electricit y was much more immense than the previous bolts. "Scared of you? Of course not. "There are few rules and t hey are clearly stated. "You're trying to make it look like you have a chance. "Thanks for the incentive. "Forget about walking. averting his eyes away from the blinding light." Kevin commended him. He c rawled on his arms and knees. There was no rule against catching him with a toy." While the fox was talking. "What? You think you caught me becau se of that? That's not how you catch someone!" Kevin said." Scrint stopped and tilted its head slightly. aren't yo u? That I'd actually catch you like this. You 're about as scary as mud." Breathing heavily. "I got him!" The fox chewed off the string of the yoyo.. or anything else f or that matter. "I don't need anymore time. I wouldn't have-" "THAT'S ENOUGH.. I wouldn't have it any other way. "Strike two." Scrint said." said the fo x. "And now. I'm not stupid. One more strike." When Kevin was only three feet away from the fox. he dropped to the ground and began gasping for air. I know what you're trying to do." He looked into the fox's eyes.
Kain walked over to Kevin.. " Kevin sighed.we've had enough.please." "But why do they have to-" "Be quiet.. "I'm already giving you a time of rest. "You're right.I don't want you to feel responsible for dragging us her e.. Even though his friends assured him they were okay w ith what would happen next. He scratched his head. "We've already decided to do this together. "You've done well. "We will take a break for thirty minutes before the next eve nt. if I have to do this alone.I'll do this alone. wondering whether the re was any way out of this. "Oh. "Can't you see how tired everyone is? How can yo u expect them all to chase down a fox?" Kevin was concerned.. From the looks of it. th ere were mixed reactions about the game. They were all talking about the event... he wanted to avoid any situation where their lives m ight be in danger. "That was it for you." "No!" Kevin fell to his knees and pleaded. There was no way fo r the others to replicate his victory.. the crow d began to stir. "I thought you said that was it! I thoug ht that was the end of the game!" Kain laughed. Kevin could vaguely hear some of the ch atter. I can't help you guys. "They play such games with us! The humans use us for sport!" "That doesn't mean we should do the same." Kevin sat down next to the others.. He heard a bear say. But I still feel like it's my fault." said Kain." He turned t o Katie and Andrew. Even if I never expect ed it to come to this. It was the time for rest." Raising his voice. "I'm sorry then. what chance do they have? Isn't this rather c ruel?" A deer snapped." "Another event?" Kevin looked puzzled.. "Don't bother making the situation worse. Your life is spared.. "you thought we'd be playing the same game? You're mistaken. "Hush! Don't speak ill of Lord Kain!" A pigeon cooed. . Maybe a fight to the death would be mo re fun. Kain said sternly. Kevin. "Don't do this. As much as I want your help.. We made the decision to do this. T he next game will be something different." Kevin nodded." Andrew said." "That's not fair!" said Kevin. During this time." said Katie curtly." said the pigeon. "That human shouldn't have won! What is Lord Kain thinking ?" A rabbit warned. "The poor humans. Kain returned to his seat. Each one must participate in a separate gam e..
He ran to the side of the stadium and screamed. He was attempting to stir He had imagined that by causing imals might come to his aid-but by hostiles. the beasts growled and roared. Robes stained red. wagging his butt at them and blowing raspberries. Andrew tugged on Kevin's jeans. some other an they didn't. a large sword impale d in his chest. Everyone in the stadium gasped when they laid eyes on the one they thought was Kain. He was actually a she. His green skin turned white as clean snow and h is hair like dark green grass." Then came a chilling scream. "Who are you.. This boy is under Lord Kain's protection. "Are you out of your mind? Fire that shot a nd we're all going to die right now.. Kain looked at the man and said. While he focused on the bear.. Andrew picked up his crossbow and prepared to fire a bolt. He was transforming. if he was going to die be cause of his own mistake. and a man ro bed in black.YOU TRAITOR!" "Traitor?" The man cackled. "Do not get angered over such trifle matte rs. once he felt he had enough strength.. he stood up. breathing down his nose. Curious. Andrew looked up. You are not allowed to touch him. After all. The bear snarled and grunted. What a failure of a plan that was. when they touched the ground." The veil fell from Kain's head. he had forgotten his original plan. Apprehensive. The int imidating sight of the bear took his breath away. Agitated. "How can I be the traitor when you're not even Kain ? You're an imposter. Kevin completely froze. who was now kneeling over. he figured it he might as well try to remember why he so stupidly angered the wild creatures. landing on his bottom. come down here and face me! Come on! I dare you ! You're all just a bunch of spineless cowards picking on a few kids! You think this is fun? Then come on down and join the fun!" Kevin taunted them. "What ar e you doing?" Kevin didn't reply. A few animals came climbing down the stands. The one they thought was Kain was actually a woman! .or someone else. he wanted to remember it for the rest of his afterlife . "Does it matter?" He took aim. trying to pull him down. White hawks were flying into the fray. changing into something else . It got up on its hind legs and stared down Kevin with a menacing glare. Maybe they weren't all here of their own will. The hawks landed near Kevin and. Andrew glared at her. Kain rose from the ground. When the bear was right in his ered. At thi s point. There w ere only two people on that stage: Kain. some of the animals to attack him.Kevin could sense some confusion and distress in the crowd." With a pained expression. One of them was a very large black bear. "Hey! If yo u think I didn't deserve to win. several shadows were cast over him and they zoomed toward the area of conflict. The man said to them. Then. transformed into the robed men. Everyone's gaze moved to the center stage. letting his muscles re st a bit. face. Katie put her hand on the crossbow. he finally rememb up a ruckus. He was now surrounded on all sides Meanwhile. but even so. Why did he taunt them? He was about to be devoured. Kevin waited fifteen minutes. Kevin backed away and tripped over his own foot.
"This sword is from th e age prior-the age when humans fought against spirits. Taking the initiative by impersonating me. pieces of wood and bits of nails flying everywhere. As his fist collided with her arms. However. for doing all this work for me." "You made such a commotion in the forest that even I heard about your actions f rom halfway across the world. I never thought you'd be so desperate to inter fere." Remu raised her hand. very strongly built. I respect you as the Mother of Nature. took a deep breath. Eating humans is something I take personal pleasure in. The fight between those two great powers captured the attention of the stadium. "I must thank you. I must say. Kevin was able to sneak past all the animals that were around him because they were staring at the clashing elements. Remu raised her arms to block. "Tell me. Finally. do you feel str ange?" Remu blinked. He leaped across the air and bared his fist again st Remu. Mother of Nature. He wasn't scary looking at all." He discarded the s word. after an excruciating effort. "So you knew. "Because I am Kain!" Kain threw off the robes he had used as a disguise... But since you've already gone so far. Her skin was smooth and gl owing. Stunned for a moment. Remu. A large bolt of lightning came tearing across the sky and landed on Kain. "How did you know I wasn't Kain?" she asked. The two o f them jumped around the field. and she tossed the sword against the ground. "Remu. her vision becoming hazy." Kain laughed and picked up the sword from the ground. The woman grasped the hilt of the sword. he let out a scream and all the volta ge was expelled from his body. I will have no choi ce but to dispose of you.. and then slo wly pulled it out of her chest.." Remu snapped her fingers.'" Remu replied.I'm rather impressed by your bold undertaki ng. tossing fire and lightning at each other. a cting like you hate humans. he did not look anyt hing like what Kevin had expected. The man replied. You wanted to prevent chaos-to prevent us from destroying the humans by spreading silly rules such as 'Don't e at humans because they are impure. He was a tall man. A spirit slayer. You have taken good care of us.. I wasn't interested in building an army. the sword was completely out. But if you dare stand in my way. Kain smiled at the woman. bright sparks glistening from her f ingertips." He paused. Remu. rallying the forest in my name.Her locks of green hair streamed down her shoulders. You used the rumors of me to cr eate your image-to control the forest in my name. "You're going to stop me?" "I am. I might as well let everyone in on the fun.it was a good plan. The center stage was split asunder. "It's time for us to begin the feast!" "I won't allow this.. isn't it? Your powers should be diminishing. "Now don't get me wrong. To be honest. "W-what did you do to me?" "Did you think I came unprepared?" Kain waved the sword. It's po isonous to you. . the earth below rumbled and bolts of lightning came crashing down. groaning with every inch of the blade she remove d." Kain's face was split by a wide malicious grin.
and then progressively quaked more and more. Kain zipped across the length of the stadium in the blink of an eye. she waved her hand. what with the teen hormones raging and all the junk food we eat ." said Kevin. "It's been so long since I've tasted human flesh. Kevin teetered and tottered.Kevin walked over to Katie and Andrew who were watching the fight up close. and he was stuck in a crawl position right over it. the creation of a fault line. "Where do you think you're going?" Kevin shrugged nervously. The dark line widened over time. The towers of earth shielded her from his fla mes for a fleeting second. He appeare d in front the teens. Kevin nudged the others. "The earth! It's split ting!" Upon falling to his hands and knees. and turned his dumbfounded gaze back to the fight. a loud rumble made its way through the stadium. Kevin whistled in amazement and backed up." Katie said. The ground beneath th eir feet started vibrating softly." snapped Kevin. Kain laughed wildly. his feet appearing as though he was walking on air. "don't blame me! You guys were watching them too!" "Let's just go!" Andrew got a head start while the others argued.. When she saw the raging inferno headed her way . Kain grinned. "our taste is overrated. He was witnessing. The scenery was shaking all around him. a stray bolt of lightning just barely missed t hem by a foot. pulling the others with him. Katie screamed over the loud rumbling. and they backed away slowly in step. trying to keep his cool. "Thanks for bringing this up now.you guys will make fine appetizers. Lurching forward. Our flavor is r eally messed up. barely able to tell where he was looking. causing all the wild animals to scurry away. and Kevin could feel that his limbs were getting farther apart. Andrew looked at him. causing whole chunks of the field to come rising up like g argantuan towers of rock and dirt. Take my word for it. Re mu dug herself out of the rubble. Kain soared across the field and rammed into Remu." "Hey. She fell into the crowd.. Suddenly. Ka in opened his mouth and spewed an immensely hot breath of fire from his lips. While they were watching in awe." Kain approached them slowly. "Now nothing will stand in my way!" He returned back to th e field. knocking her into the stands below. A black circle marked the exact spot where the turf had been scor ched. . The earth began quaking so violently that everyone had a difficult time staying balanced. stopping them in their tracks. "We should've run away while we had the chance. It was a crack in the gro und. said nothing. Kevin stared at the grass and soon noticed a dark line forming across the dirt." "No. He wasn't sure if he was spinning aroun d or if the whole Earth was spinning around him. and then the towers wavered and crumbled on top of he r. before his very eyes.
Like a massive mouth. his expression of utmost horr or. We are not sid ing with the humans. His fingers began slipping. Green scales formed over his ski n." said one of the hawks. Her eyes wide. That is why we are helping you. but he quickly grab bed hold of the edge. jetting narrowly up the walls and to the surface. they were able to gain lift quite easily." He lost his voice when his fingers finally gave way. the large gap threatene d to swallow up everything in the field. freefalling toward a certai n doom.The gap split open in an instant. and joined the other hawks in the sky. his eyes burning with rage. using the momentum from the glide. His neck stretched higher and higher until his monstrous transformation was c omplete. He roared ou t. without warning. "We are servants of Lady Remu. "Kevin-REACH!" Kevin grunted. But as long as you aren't trying to kill us . one hawk after the other. and thus the humans should not be preyed upon in this situation. Relieved to see him alive. Kevin fell into it. The hawk. Andrew's jaw dropped the same time Kevin dropped. both him and Katie were swooped up by two more hawks. was able to pick up speed and gain back altitude. he looked over his shoul . Andrew exhaled. She wants the natural order to be restored." Kevin said. They took off. She believes that what is happening is supernatu ral. she was held in suspense. Kevin fell upon its broad back. hanging by the grip of a hand. When Kevin heard the startling roar pierce the clouds. but he was too weak to reach for Andrew's han d. "I don't really get it. "Don't be afraid.." Kain stood at the center of the field. even with the added burden of well-nourished teens. Kevin had fallen so far down that he was now appearing very tiny. "We are taking you to a safe place. "DON'T THINK YOU CAN RUN FROM ME!" Segments of his body swelled and bulged.. The kids weren't sure what was going on. They exchanged confused glances with e ach other as they were hauled far into the red sky. h is muscles augmenting in size. He stopped breathing for a split second before shouting. "Kevin!" Kneeling over the crack near him. "I'm trying. She couldn't believe it. Andrew held out his hand. A white hawk dove down into the chasm and caught up to Kevin. Using a powerf ul flap of their wings. and they were able to pick up the kids by their shoulders. Wh oosh! A white blur zipped by their peripheral vision and a heavy gust of wind br ushed past their shoulders. Then. Bat-like wings burst out of his back. that's good. Andrew glanced at Katie. Kevin swung his free hand around. He was grow ing bigger and bigger with each passing second." "You're on our side?" Kevin wondered. "NOOOOO!" Kevin descended further and further down the chasm. These hawks were larger than Andrew rea lized.
"I will hear no more of your nonsense! Their end is near and I alone will stand victorious!" Remu struggled to break free. Kain snapped. when the lightning was gone. "Is that what I think it is?" The hawk replied. "He is f inished. The sparkles gravitated around a shadowy figure ins ide a swirling whirlwind that stretched from the clouds above to the hole below. "Yes. Flapping his large wings. "This is your last cha nce. Remu was exhausted. E verything will always be different. "Hatred-only leads to-destruction." Her voice was carried upon the wind and could be hea rd echoing for miles.der and saw the overgrown lizard filling up the baseball field." Kain reached out and snatched Remu by his massive claw. A blinding blue ligh t emerged from the crack in the earth. We will be landing shortly. It gave him the chills when he looked the terrifying beast in the eyes-those cold. She told Kain.from now to the end. "Why can't you forgive the humans?" Kain hissed." she uttered. Kain fought hard to stand.. It was like a solid pillar of electricity that constantly flowe d down. Kain lifted off from the ground." the hawk replied. Scowling. and the land rumbled as the fault line be came wider. staring at the motionless body of the dragon. The rubble began to levitate several feet in the air. a huge bolt of lightning fell from the sky and enveloped Kain in its radiant beam of destruction. The blue light faded and became like little sparkles. unrelenting. she floated safely down to the ground." Her look of satisfaction changed into a look of amazement. he clearly heard the sharp buzzing that accompanied it. hitting nearly one hundred miles per hour. "I did it. Kevin buried his face into the back of the hawk. Time moves on." said Kevin worriedly." said Remu. It was Remu who was inside the whirlwind. Ducking down. during the second she threw them both down.you cannot expect that everything will become better after you exact your revenge.. Her body trembling. patting the hawk on the back. She had spent all of her strength in that last attack. but Kain tightened his grip. Winds picked up in speed. "You don't understand at all! This is my only chance to avenge my brethren! How many dragons were slain by their hands? I will not rele nt! THE HUMANS WILL PAY! THEY WILL ALL PAY!" Remu raised both hands. drawing deep breaths. Kevin exclaimed. Kain is a dragon-the last of his kind. Though he was unable to see the awesome spectacle of blue light. Remu walked over to Kain and said. Remu said breathlessly." . "Do not fret. and then. deathly a fraid of being zapped." "It's looking this way.. "Can't you just accept that? The age of dragons will never return. crushing her slowly. Finally. "I'll never forgive them! NEVER!" "This world is already theirs.. Stop being held by the past. Do not go after them. red eyes of hatred.
"Who was that?" Kevin's eyes darted from Andrew to Katie. their clothes soiled and torn. But that do esn't mean I can't drag all the humans down to their destruction with me! They w ill all die! And now." There was a moment of silence. holding out his cell phone. He ran his eyes across Katie and Andrew...Kain grinned bitterly. They wer e like zombies. We're almost done. We just need to wait. They became quiet again." Then all the hawks left. Mud was on their faces. Kevin shook his head and sighed. You should run away while you still can. "Anyway. "I'm ready to pass out. Kevin app eared quite serious and confident. "This should be far enough. "Just hang on a little bit more." Indeed they did. "Would you rather I say something more depressing?" His face almost half asleep. huh?" Katie looked glumly at Korgen. flying in the direction of the city. not wanting to even move or t alk.today's Tuesday." "Really?" Andrew looked at him skeptically.so will you. Though they f ought it. "Over fifty hours I think. cut and bruises on th eir skin. it's been Sunday.. The bushes around them started to shake.. They needed concentration to stay awake. Andrew grinned wryly. "We wait. Katie and Andrew both looked at Kevin..I'm already doomed.. I know. "I can't ta ke much more of this. but they shook their heads in response. "Someone I kno w is helping us solve the problem." Kevin yawned. Kevin snickered. taking a seat on the grass.. Their hair was unkem pt. "We just run away?" "No." Katie rubbed her eyes. The hawk said. Kevin thought. Their appearance was fitting for what they had just been through.. their eyes were attempting to close with each passing second. "Then so be it. occasionally groaning and moaning. They had been through a lot in just a few hours. "For the phone call. wasn't that crazy?" Hoping to lighten the mood." The hawks placed the children on a hill overlooking the city. "We look terrible. Barely able to keep his eyes open. The kids got to their feet and armed t . "If you say so." said Kevin." said Andrew. Andrew smiled faintly. "So that's it. How long has it been?" "Um." "For what?" Andrew asked. tears forming in his eyes. They landed in a small clearing in the woods. Monday and." Andrew took a while to gather his thoughts. A growl broke the silence. If we count Sunday." replied Kevin.
"We are doing something. "We're not sure. It will take a while.." "Will reinforcements come?" Kevin's interest was piqued. The animal stepped out into the clearing so he could be seen.if that's the only way. it's me.I'll try to get there as soon as I can. "You're not?" asked Katie. the husky appeared offended. Held down.. . she said. You can't be too careful in these woods. Andrew was knocked to the ground. "Hello? Yeah. No.." Kevin hung up. They came from behind. he nearly jumped up. "I apologize for the misunderstanding. All he heard were sounds of barking and growling.. Kevin said.. "Ah. Then. Kevin's cell phone rang.. I 've got it! You're a husky!" She looked around.." Andrew was released and Kevin helped him back up." He listened to the receiver. They were moving a round too fast for her to get a clear shot. doing nothing.yeah. "Wait. "It's here!" Kevin picked up the call. his brow occasionally moving up and down. We ar e planning to strike. . crossing her arms. I sent out a messenger to the su burbs. "You're not going to like this." At one point. "Okay. They came from all around. asking them to mobilize a task force. I'm not a wolf.... Grey blurs swirled around her.but we have to go back.. Dogs had surrounded them. after examining the creature..hemselves. Thanks. "We were a scouting party.. Katie asked. hid ing out here. Andrew and Katie stared at him curiously.what? Are you sure? You mean. "Did you guys escape from the city?" "No. We're not reckless. A loud voice growled. but we hid out here because there was nothin g we could do. "Do we have a solution?" Kevin nodded ruefully. "STOP!" Kevin swung around and saw a dark figure approaching from the underbrush.. We were the first to discov er the group that invaded the city.. Andrew exclaimed. We're awai ting reinforcements. "Are you guys with the HPC?" The husky sat down and nodded.." replied the Husky.okay. "Well?" said Katie. he couldn't see what was going on. They still had their weapons from before.I understand.. "A wo lf!" "No. Andrew aimed the crossbow a t a trembling bush. Katie flailed her bat around." Katie glared at them. But our force is too small." said the voice. "So you guys are a bunch of wimps.yeah. The husky cleared his throat." Narrowing his eyes." Just then.
where they are holding the HPC captive. freakis h science experiment was ready to ingest us?" Kevin lowered his head. we can end this war right now. "We're s topping at nothing to do what we must. if we can save the humans. They want us to get in closer and closer. "Yup.back to the lab.." "Back to the city?" asked Andrew.until we're boxed in with no esc ape. And yes.much more.. "So there is a way.. in very general terms. running away from the catastrophic battle that took place at the stadium ." "Then we'll take you there. We are some of the best the HPC has to offer. Though this ain't a fistfight.. Sacrifices must be made.I guess. They don't want us to run a way. "to save everyone?" "That's right. that's what the Internet thinks. In the buildings. He restrained a laugh. we'll be hurting much more than a few bruises." said the husky." Kevin gulped." said Kevin. and that facility was deep in the heart of the city.. No. "Call me Major. you'll be safe for the most p art." . Something wasn't right." The husky smiled." said the husky. "Then what are we doing here?" "What are we doing here?" echoed Major lightly." said Kevin.. leaving a faint light." "Where?" Kevin whispered. "No doubt they're waiting for us. "Or at least. What had become of Kain and Remu? What had become of the thousands of wild beasts? Major led the group through the dark alley. "Let's settle this once and for all. "The lab? The one we ran away from because some weird. Reinforcements will take too long. Just a moment ago animals were scrambling left and right. You can' t expect to go into a fistfight without bruising something. It's not a matt er of if we get seen-but when. my boy. "That's the one. is impossible. Kevin c hecked the time on his watch: 5:35. The solar eclipse was long gone.. sweat dripping down his back. in the sewers. and striking the stronghold.. "Not just back to the city. about how he was t alking to a computer and the computer told him about a device that might help th em save humanity from their endless sleep. glimpsing at the windows. Will we really be safe with you-um-what was your name again?" "Major." Kevin shrugged.Run for It The city streets were quiet and empty. The sun hid its face behind the tallest buil dings. But the device had to be constructed in a special facility. They're luring us in. "Everywhere." "I'm not following. "What is going on?" Kevin quickly explained to the husky." Andrew shrieked.. Now only silence existed. in the dumpsters. "Sounds good.." He pe . However." said the husky flatly.
" "Good. But as my master always said. we're waiting for them to take the bait. We're al most there. "Katie will stay in the alleys. "-then Katie will lead them away from Kevin. Major grunted quietly. killed. Katie-" "Now wait just a minute. "He's risking his life. "Clear. though some were nodding less confidently than others. we split. exasperated. He could see a good portion of the street from the second floor. "We've got no choice. Major raised his nose and sniffed for any peculiar scents. There was a desk by the window and file cabinets beside the wall. Kevin crouched by the window and peeked out. Kevin. you take the open streets. "Alright. It was a n ormal office." He continued. I'll tell you this: I'm no expert on tactics. H e's the bait to lure them out from wherever they're hiding. They already know we're here. This ain't fight we can win." . From here. We go three ways. Andrew hesitated to respond." Andrew cut in. "Why do I have to take the open street s?" "Would you rather the girl handle it?" Major replied. If Andrew gets overr un. D o we have to?" Major could see the worry in his eyes. mauled. Andrew. We're betting it all now. I haven't fought any wars-much less hunted a rat. they split their forces. He could even see Andrew stealthily maneuvering a round some cars parked by the sidewalk." said Major. The only thing they don't know is where we're headed. I'm a house pet for goodness' sake. 'You can lose as many battles as you want as long as you win the war. Since Andrew will be out in the open. "I suppose not. His eyes wandering over to Katie. The coast was clear." Kevin nodded wordlessly and followed after the dogs as they entered.." "All the more important that we succeed then. chewed. "Way to take it like a man." Major ignored his comment." Kevin eyed Major for a moment. Time for the g amble. Major continued." "Split?" Now Andrew was sweating profusely too.'" Kevin said. beaten.ered over the side of a building. "So far so good. you're wi th me. he'll be targeted first. We run the moment we see their attention on him. "That doesn't sound very optimistic.just a few more blocks.. Is that clear?" They all nodded. "Good. eaten-" "Get on with it!" snapped Andrew." Kevin slowly turned the doorknob and opened the door. each human takes a squad. He looked at the squad of dogs at his rear. "I hate this splitting thing. "Now remember...
he cautiously sat on it and started pedaling. Though he saw nothing coming. slowly traveled so as not to alert their prey. shrilly laughter got louder as Kevin drew nearer to the dust. slowly crept behind the cars. there was an old bic ycle lying by the side of the road.Kevin peered back through the window. smoke and dust came flooding into the corridor. They ran out of the room and headed for the stairs. Strange sou nds were coming from the stairwell. The haunting. howls and growls echoed back and forth from the ceiling and floor. Out of the corner of his eye he saw shado ws drifting along a brick wall on the far end of the road. "Sorry. Kevin crossed the corridor. seemingly out of sight. given the same chance. "You fool! You blew o ur cover!" Kevin shrugged. he would do it again. looked back to see the frenzy escalate. It looked pretty banged up. Kevin. big and small. Major. "They've noticed him. He sprinted as fast as he could down the street. Unable to contain himself any longer. Major glanced at Kevin and gestured with his snout. as he did so. "Forget about us and go!" shouted Major in the middle of the frenzy. A h yena dashed out and leaped onto Kevin with one quick motion. a bulldog and a beagle. But. "Get to th e street! Get to the lab!" Kevin fled and. Major yanked on the back of Kevin's shirt with his teeth. Even thou gh it pained him to see the consequences of his actions. Hundreds of creatu res. then two dogs. . Luckily for him. the one paral lel to where Andrew was. I pro mise I'll make it up to you somehow. their furry hides dotting the land." Like a swarm. "Close it!" shouted Major. "Get ready. trying to keep the hyena from ripping his throat out. The animals were barking and snapping at each o ther. "Get up! Go. gaped in horro r as the sudden brawl broke out. the research facility was a few blocks away. Major pounced on the hyena almost instantly. It was hi s fault. still unaware of their presence. Andrew. Kevin did as instructed. Something was coming. Kevin watched as they continued to move slowl y behind the cars. It almost sounded like laughing-a very sinister laughing. Breathless. Then Kevin heard a loud crash. BEHIND YOU! THEY'RE RIGHT BEHIND YOU!" Andrew glanced back and saw the bloodthirsty multitude behind him. "ANDREW. Through one o f the office doors ahead. it would bring him even greater pain to see Andrew overtaken before his very eyes. He knew it. The pack of dogs charged at them. They also snu ck around cars and clung close to the front of the shops. Unsure of its condition. Kevin fought back." said Major. They decided to search for another exit on the other side. Kevin forced open the window and shouted. lying on the floor. It took him outside to the street. they came. go!" There was a rapid drumming of paws as a band of coyotes came rushing into the h all. his squad of dogs tailing after him. They were completely unaware of the approaching danger. the colors faded . Judging from where he stood." Kevin found an emergency exit. helped Major tackle th e hyena to the ground. Did Andrew's group notice it? No.
Grinning. one full of regret. He sp un around and around. boom. like the careful hammering of a nail. "You can still die now. The dragon was already taki ng the lead in hunting down Andrew. panting for air the entire time. Almost like playing with a small doll. Before him was a crowd of for est creatures and at his back was a dragon nearly five stories tall. Kevin said." Kain snatched Andrew up in hi s hand. Had he not stopped the bike wi th his foot on the ground. Rooted in place. Several wolves held the dogs captive. Kevin got off the broken bike and chased after the dragon's huge hind legs. until he felt the tremor.As he passed by the intersection. They had been r eady to swarm from the start. He pedaled furiously a nd zipped toward the dragon." Looking spitefully at the dragon. preparing to pounce.I'll kick you in the shin!" And kick him in the shin he did. Now then. "It just wouldn't be the same. boom. lobbed Andrew far up into the sky. "leave him alone. Boom. I once had friends long ago. forming a circle around the dragon. Kevin screamed.. He was taking his time. Unless. his face would've dove straight into the road." Kain guffawed. It's a pity then that I couldn't die wi th them when I had the chance. the screws rebounding off the asphalt. Kevin knew he wouldn't be able to run away. pinning them to the ground. he looked at Kevin and said. Andrew was about to pass out. Andrew stopped running and fell to his knees.. Kevin was so focused on the dragon that he never noticed everything else." Kain h owled in amusement. Though Kain could have easily outrun Andrew. Kevin managed to wake everyone u p. with one huge motion. It was precise... every so often a loud snicker reverberated along the city buildings . But that was quite a gamble. he thought glumly. He was done running. There was noth ing he could do to help him. maybe even leisurely. As evide nce of such." said Kain to the cougar. They had him surrounded. These are the last moments of your friend's life. watching as the Forest Army poured into the road. They wer e all over. I want you to watch closely. He was fini shed. he looked to his left and caught a glimpse of Andrew running for his life past the bend. and then. As much as he hated it. he didn't.. as though he enjoyed it thoroughly. Andrew maybe had five minutes to live. "NO!" . Dying pointlessly would be a sham eful thing." Kain nodded. Major was right. Kevin watched as a massive shadow fell over Andrew. "Friendship is such a beaut iful thing. "You must have come to say farewe ll to your friend. "No. Kevin kne w it would take much more than five minutes to even reach the underground facili ty. Now it was impossible to escape. "Stop chas ing him or I'll. t hough it didn't make any difference. "Leave him alone!" The front wheel of the bike snap ped apart. Kevin chewed his lip. Kevin sharply swerved around the corner of the sidewalk. There was no where left for him to go. he waved Andrew aroun d for everyone to see. You should cherish such things.. he was going to ignore Andrew completely-that is. A cougar swaggered over to Kevin. It was a rather slow sound. of course. smiling to himself.
shimmering with an unnatural shininess. The miracle didn't come. looking as though he was goin g to catch Andrew with his tongue. The wolf was blocking the flames with its body. huh? That's what y ou get for messing with me!" "Why you-Die. he would be gone. down into the pit of the stomach of an angry dragon . but he didn't. His eyes darted repeatedly from the dot in the sky. He was suffocat ing because it was so difficult and excruciating to breathe. "Who dares interfere?" Wondering what was going on. but since he was going to die anyway. Then he heard the dragon's mouth clamp shut. Kevin forced himself to watch. "You knew! You brought them here. Even Kevin was being sucked towards him. Then Kain huffed out a long. Kevin thought. hoping for a miracle. Held in suspense. that's right! I did bring them here! I love making a fool out of you! So what? What are you going to do about it. he continu ed to watch. Shielding himself with his arms. Kain could have easily incinerated him with a pow erful breath of fire. He kept his eyes closed. wailing tragically all the way down. Nothing came. Kevin waited for some affirmation that the dragon had swallowed And rew: a licking of the lips. though he could still see the brightness of the flame. Kevin cringed as he heard his distant v oice grow louder and louder. When Kain realized his fire had failed to harm them. Then there was a relief. Two. Three. The intense heat faded and he could breathe again. if that we re possible. to the ground."No? I am pretty good with this. The dragon's mouth was no lon ger in front of him. What was before him was something even stranger. he might as w ell pretend to know. Andrew started to fa ll. One. which he was sure was Andrew. Kevin looked above. Andrew was now coming clearly into view. "Genesis?" . Kain stomped his feet. Kevin could barely look. The golden wolf looked kindly upon Kevin. Scanning the sky. glaring at him. A blue streak zoomed across th e clouds. "Don't worry about Andrew. hissing and snarling. Kain was doing this on purpose. a satisfied rubbing of the belly. di dn't you? How dare you make a fool out of me!" Kevin shrunk back at the terrifying sight of the black-rimmed dragon eye. to torture him. Kevin averted his eyes. worm! I'll make you suffer!" Kain drew in a deep breath. Inst ead. Kain bent down near Kevin." Kain opened up his huge mouth. sucking in all the air around. Kevin now realized what it felt like to be slowly roasted in an oven. It was painful to know that there was nothing he co uld do." Kevin stared into the beast's eyes. backing away. You shouldn't worry about your friend falling onto the pavement. Andrew was about to die and there was absolutely nothing he could do. Terminus h as him and is taking him to the others. However. He wa sn't sure what was going on. He counted in his head . He was staring at the side of a huge golden wolf-like beast. unwilling to see himself get burnt to a crisp. In a fe w seconds. The light from the fire was gone. Nearly half the size of the dragon. He could no longer bear to see. gentle flame. Kevin yowled. it was almost as big as a school bus. "Yeah. Its fur was silky smooth. Kain growled angrily. He cou ld feel the heat on every inch of his skin tingling and burning. He opened his eyes. he st opped. Though it may so und strange.
and possibly treated Kevin like one when it had carried him over the ro ofs by the back of his shirt. Kevin felt something grab him by the back of the shirt." "What about me?" Kevin protested. "Go on. "I don't know. Moments after being in midai r. feeling the effects of motion sickness. swinging hopelessly up and down. unable to tell what was happening. I've heard much about y ou. "this is as far as I'll take you. and then he was watching the ground suddenl y leave him. said. Kevin tried to look over his shoulder but couldn't see much of anything. There was no time for him to catch his breath. dangling helplessly by the threads of his t-shirt. I have to get t here!" . It was an overgrown black panther.. "I suggest you leave peacefully. Finally. Almost hysterical." "I've come this far. You guys just have that special quality about you. "So we meet at last. It was like a wild roller coaster ride. He turned back to see what had carried him t his far. af ter examining it. musing. Kevin fell to the floor. he wondered if his shirt would rip or if he would fall down into the streets below. "Wait-ahhhh!" Before he could another word. then the next he was plummeting to another rooftop. as he was jolted into the sky." Kevin heard someone mumble. It was quite disorienting to be zipping across the city without a proper seat." Kevin quickly said. peeking through the cracks of his fingers." Genesis glanced at Kevin. He covered his eyes with his ha nds." said Luna.. Kevin screamed. Kevin was b eing carried over from roof to roof with great leaps." Genesis turned to the dragon." "What a perceptive child. One moment he was staring into the unreachable sky. it all stopped. after landing on one more roof. except much more frighte ning because he had no harness or belt or anything to keep him safe. He cannot handle the dragon alone. "I'll take you a bit farther." said Kain. he landed on the rooftop. I must hurry back to Gen esis. "Urp!" His hands shifted from his eyes to his mouth as he tried to hold back th e urge to barf. the movement st arted up again."Genesis. Released from the terr ible ride. Kevin said. "I can't reach the lab alone. He made eye contact with the panther and. "You must be Luna. do what you must! I'll deal wi th Kain!" Gesturing with his hands toward the army of animals. He was lifted off the ground by a few feet. Kevin chuckled. "Hang on. He was like a rag doll." "We'll see. rubbing his chin. "How did you know?" Kevin thought for a moment." echoed Kain sinisterly. baring his jagged teeth. big enough to make Kevin look like a kitten. "And a single Relic K night won't be able to stop me." "Anyway." the panther said. Every time he was thrust back into the air. "I can't go an ywhere!" At that moment.
scouting the city. it was hard to den y. There wa s no way for it to be true. but this one was slightly larger than him. which was a skyscraper with gray walls and blue windows. "Why are you waiting here while your p owers have a limited time? Shouldn't you be out doing something?" . It sure didn't look li ke he was inside a stomach of a dragon. We'll be cheering you on." Andrew answered." "What are you waiting for?" said Andrew. and head were all there. Go down this building." Luna paused. We were c hosen from both sides to prevent war. I heard from Major. "What are Relic Knights?" "Peacekeepers of the animal kingdom. its plumage black and white. he thought. putting a wing across his che st. over and over. nodding. H is hands. There are six Relic Knights in all. yeah. You have a solution." He ran a brisk check to make sure. It wasn't a hawk. He studied its back. "you were wondering about that. This is a special form we can invoke for emergency situations." "It can't be. "I. except budgies were normally sm aller than his hand."The HPC will help you with that. You'll find them nearby. "Then we lose consciousness for about a day. Andrew hopped off the bird's back and curiously cast his gaze upon it. The bird looked like a blue-and-white budgie. they need you for that . along with Genesis and Luna. But at the same time. Terminus. "What are you-really?" Terminus explained." Andrew raised a brow." "That still doesn't explain why an itty-bitty parakeet turns into a giant one!" "Oh. "Uh." With that said . We rescued them from the hotel so you'll have a large force under your command." Andrew's jaw dropped. So as not to be biased." The bird glided through the air. jumping from rooftop to rooftop until she disappeared. right? Good luck with that. "Good. "It is I. "Do you not recognize me?" said the large budgie. We have but an hour or two. are Relic Knights. It searched for the tallest point. He looked down and found he was riding on the back of a large bird. feet. but it wasn't anything he could conceiv ably recognize either. unless the stomach of a dragon appeared very similar to the outside world. But we can only use them for a short t ime. . It seem ed familiar." "Then what?" Andrew wondered. "That's extreme!" "Well. "Are you okay?" said the giant bird. "I mean. He wasn't poked full of holes either.Fight or Flight Andrew opened and closed his eyes slowly. it is what you would call a desperate measure. "I think so." said Terminus." gasped Andrew. though it seems we have failed. three are allies of humans and other three are wild. We wield relics of great power tha t greatly enhance our physical abilities. Luna quickly left.
" Kevin nodded. When he first started this quest. We're ready to go with you. taking a seat near a concrete wall of a grand hotel. "But I wonder. Andrew said in awe. holding a bag of bread in his mouth. he gobbled it whole and went on to devour half the bag." "What's the right moment?" asked Andrew.. The wolf dodged the flames. the entire breadth of the city was in plain view." said a German shepherd. bowing. The dragon kept his distance and spewed hot balls of fire from its mouth. Even with the relic. The dragon was there and it was locked in combat with a massive yellow wolf. wiped his mouth dry and let out a sigh of relief." the German shepherd said. b ut even if he failed. He would try to succeed. he had low expectations. I'm going to help him. The two gargantuan beasts attacked each other." "He can't win. "Is Genesis setting up a trap or somet hing?" "No. smiling." said Terminus softly. Then he caught a glimpse of large shadows being cast ove r the factories. "Thanks a lot. that is too hard given our limited time. The dragon yowled and flailed it s wings about. "Ah. We'll help you with whatever you need!" Kevin's heart felt heavy. "It doesn't look like he 's doing too well. He ha d never expected to have to bear the weight of all the lives of the world. "You are our only hope. "we brough t you food and drink. it was fine because it wasn't like he had much of a chance anyway. After tasting t he first bite." Kevin looked confused." Terminus replied. that's go od. so nervous." Terminus turned to Andrew..what will you do?" "Here. All I can do is wait for a moment of weakness. This was it. Then the wolf managed to get up close to the dragon and mauled on its wing. "tell me what you see.. "What's going on here?" The dog replied." "We await your command. All of the pets around him in the empty parking lot bowed down before him.. He never thought he would feel so anxious. That is why I will stay here. Since he was on the highest struc ture in Korgen. Kevin took t he bag of sliced bread.alone. He was finally given the chance to save everyone. "What's happening over there? It's like a monster movie!" "Genesis is dueling with Kain. So good. It would mean a lot to us if you could save our masters. but I need to wait for the right moment to strike. Smoke and flam es rose into his sight. weighed down with the burden of responsibility. I wouldn't survive a si ngle blow. They now had a solution and the o . smashing the wolf into the tall chimneys of the factories." Andrew looked out across the city. squinting. my body is frail. Because of your perseverance we have h ope." He guzzled an entire b ottle of water. pointing at the city with a wing. He was famished. ripped it open and chomped into a slice. "That's Genesis?" Andrew turned to Terminus worriedly. which now ended up leveling some of the buildings behind him."Andrew. It didn't matter if it was bland. "Um.
Kevin must have gotten trapped somewhere along the way. But it was also kind of cool. It seemed a bit silly whe n he thought about it. He snuck around the blue mailboxes and car s. He will be most pleased to see that you have given yourself u p to be his first human snack. Even though Kain was busy fighting. he dove and squeezed under a car. but Katie was nowhere to be found. But there was something about this th at made him smile. He would have t o face an army of wild beasts with an army of his own. "Not much farther. Kevin would never purposely give himself up. It was strange for him to be smiling at a time like this. He had to get closer. "That's enough! Let's get to work!" Kevin motioned for them to quiet down. He look ed past the tires to see several pairs of paws and one pair of sneakers passing by. Then he began forming a plan. "Now rise! All of you! We'll teach these guys not to mess with us!" All the animals stood up and shouted happily together. He couldn't remember who had worn those sneakers. Summoning up his courage. Andrew thought. We'll keep you in the building as a pres ent for Lord Kain. Kevin smiled. every step was a struggle-but even so. He designated leaders and divided them up into several groups. Reaching the limits of exhaustion. . No." "There's nothing else for me to do anyway. With so many creatures looking out for them. but he still couldn't see much. She was the only one unaccounted for. Andrew inched forward to get a better view. preparing them for the final b attle.nly thing in his way was the Forest Army. Andrew knew Kevin had to be just as tired as he was. He neve r used to smile in the face of adversity. Kevin had actually given himself up! Andrew wondered why he woul d do such a thing. The sneakers w ere his only clue to the identity of the person in question. His face became scrunched with worry over Katie's whereabouts. all the cats meowed. and all the birds shrieked. Packs of wolves were scouring desperately now. Another voice said. Andrew immediately recognized it. But then he heard a voice say. He would have never smiled on the due date of a final project or research paper. he trudged on. Andrew scratched hi s head. All the dogs barked. He settled for less and began analyzing the sneakers." Brimming with enthusiasm. but he didn't have enough courag e for that. Terminus had informed him that Kevin was in a safe place. "You don't need to beg me to do anything. He must have been captured. "How much farther will you take me?" It was Kevin's voice. it looked like the teens were still being h unted. Kevin rais ed his hand high. Andrew was sure it was onl y a matter of time before he would be found. Andrew cautiously wandered the road. Having heard a sound around the bend. He told them where to go and what to do. Andrew gasped. It was the fact that he wasn't alone in this." said Kevin. He saw some pigeons and s quirrels around and guessed that they were probably being used as scouts by the forest animals due to their understanding of the city. searching high and low for any sign of his friends. They were hollering and jumping fo r joy.
but the smell somehow still registered in his brain." He looked at the cars nearby. Kevin said to the dogs. Should he do something? Should he try to do anything? Andrew clos ed his eyes and buried his face in his arms. Pointing at a door. we'll hunt you down. "Aren't you afraid I'll escape?" A wolf answered. I suppose. "Everyone." "That's what I thought you'd say. There were several wolves around Kevin. or even garbage may have to do. "Hmm. come on out!" The covers of dumpsters flinging open. "This is all you found?" Kevin shot them a look of disappointment. "Bring the stuff. I'll lock it up . He couldn't save Kevin-that much was evident. He was now able to see more of their legs. the other wolves decided not to resist. Even though he did ask for it. at least he hoped not. Fighting against w hatever was out there would be pointless. Quite an impressive achievement. really sharp ones. rotten meat. a pack of dogs sprung out of the garbage and surrounded the party of wolves. Kevin said. moldy bread and oth er unidentifiable gunk filled the air. Why couldn't he do anything? He was n't sure himself. Andrew shrank back. "Shove them inside." Kevin told the dogs. but there was a nagging voice in his mind that told him he couldn't do anything. Sullen." The dogs nodded and hurried the wolves into the building. but think and wait and worry. Kevin nodded. but they did bring heaps and heaps of garbage. Kevin grimaced. "Alright. In doing so.But there was nothing Andrew could do. "Our forces are spread out across the area. Now bring whatever wood you can find. removed its gas cap and s . This was something he would never do again in his life." There was not much wood around. The voice wa s correct. And a bucket or large can. "This is perfect. you know what? Bring m e a hose and some scissors. he watched their feet cross the street. He had an urge to go out there and rescue Kevin." He turned around and whistled. Kevin retched. "Ambush!" A wolf tried to howl but was quickly tackled to the ground. But they didn't have much of a choice. He inspected a car." He grabbed the scissors and cut a length of ab out three feet on the rubber hose. like a turtl e in its shell. "Better than nothing. The dogs brought bottles of alcohol. He made the dogs rip op en the garbage bags and dump the grossly messy contents all over the road in a s traight line that went from one side to the other. He tried to breathe with h is mouth. The nauseating smell of sweat-stained clothes. Seeing as they were outnumbered. Frowning. Andrew decided. Kevin thought. It stunk so much that he was sure he would remember this smell for the rest of his life. There was nothing he could do. "But you don't realize that it's the other way around. Kevin ordered the dogs. If you do manage t o escape." said Kevin. they managed to build a wall of garbage nearly four feet high. knowing that the smell would be a bsolutely putrid." The dogs scavenged through a hardware store and brought the supplies he asked f or.
Kevin jumped up. yuck. mind helping me out? I cou ld use an extra human hand. "What should I do?" "Help me form another line of garbage on the other streets and get some gas on them-" A Rottweiler barked frantically. this?" Kevin revealed a huge grin. "They're coming! I see them on the horizon!" Kevin panicked. a torch or even a matchstick!" Kevin urgently examined An drew's hands. "I'll be back! Don't let them get past the barrier!" Andrew did not have a good feeling about this. So what are you doing?" "Oh. "Where's your crossbow?" Andrew replied. He carried the bucket over to the wall of garbage and poured the gas oline all over it. faster creatures were at the front. "We're goin g to try to fight our way through." he sputte red. it's me. The bucket quickly filled to the bri m with gas.." Kevin threw a glance at a whimpering pup. do whatever you can to stall them!" Kevin ran toward the hardware store. "A what?" "Oh-I mean a lighter. "Ugh. refilling the bucket again. "Oh no! We wasted too much time!" He flapped his hand at the do gs. He looked over the wall of garba ge and saw the horde of wild beasts drawing closer. "What are you doing?" asked Andrew suddenly." He suck ed on the hose and siphoned out gasoline. approach ing with incredible speed. "Stand up and fight!" Andrew huddled. Well. "This is going to be disgusting. "Wait. "What am I supposed to do? I can't do anything!" The Rottweiler came close to him and said. "I'm scared! How am I supposed to fight against that? I've never done this before!" . "Why would you want to do tha t?" "To keep the enemy at bay. placing his hands over his head. "I dropped it when I was running away from the dragon. "Andrew! Don't sneak up me like that!" Kevin stopped whatever he was doing and stared at Andrew.you're okay! I can't believ e it. but it goes without saying that I need hands-not paws-for whatever I'm doing. bring me a flamethrower!" Andrew raised his brow." "That's too bad.. "Yeah.. startled. knees wobbling. "Not that you guys haven't been helpful. "Quick. putting the hose down into the bucket. "We're going to light this disgusting b aby up!" Andrew looked at the rotting garbage and cringed. "Not again! I hate this!" Andrew ducked down. The ground shook as they tra mpled across the city.right?" Andrew said. Since you're here. I'm okay. You really are okay! That's really you.. Then he took the other end of the hose and put it in his mouth." Andrew asked eagerly. The smaller.tuck one end of the hose in the gas tank. He murmured. into his mouth." said Kevin.
She was able to take down a few coyotes. The dogs rushed in first.. When th e coyotes saw that she was distracted. She was standing next to him." Andrew stuttered. Then the wolves came. One after the other. "No. Even though her face appeared dead tired. and batted the wo lf away. Even the buildings nearby started to burn. The ba seball bat flew into the crowd of wolves. they managed to push the fierce beasts back several feet. She grit her teeth. out of the way of the chaotic battle. using her bat to support herself. they all charged at her. Andrew wasted no time to pull her over the heap of trash." "They're here!" barked the Rottweiler. she wasn't responding.. "Get out of here. The sound of stomping grew louder. no. feeding on anything it could find. The f lames spread quickly over. Andrew shot a mystified stare at him. Katie slumped over. "After all.. She hopped over the trash and all dogs followed her into battle. sounding ashamed. With their persistence. no! I can't do this! I can't!" "That's right. " Andrew looked up. Andrew examined her face. "Ka-Katie. staring at the ferocious scowls of the carnivores as they raced to meet her. They were knocked b ack. unable to hold their ground. jump ed up on her. she straightened up.I. the coyo tes leapt at her but Katie waved her bat around. It was Katie. Her fingers slipped. "You really found a flamethrower?" The dogs climbed back over the heap and Kevin let the flames loose. wielding a flamethrower." "But Katie."We've never done this either. creating a massive wal . snickering." said Katie. While Andrew crouched over Katie. she was too exhausted to even lift her arms. "No!" Andrew picked up a metal pole. "Katie! Are you okay?" Worried. you're just a wimp. Aft er flailing it around.. mustered all her strength and used t he momentum of her hips to fling her arms once more. ahead of the pack. "I'm ready!" shouted Kevin. holding her baseb all bat by her shoulder and leaning forward with one foot on the barricade of tr ash. she still had the confidence to s mile. "COME ON! LET'S CRUSH'EM!" Katie yelled. The fire rose high er and higher. keeping them away. clashing against the front lines.. the dogs pushed forward to intercept the wolves. Katie glanced at the dogs for a moment as she watched them get back up. "You act ed all tough before. Her eyes closed. Andrew closed his eyes and covered his ears. bludge oning them to the floor. Then Katie jumped in and swung her bat furious ly about." the dog countered.. A single wolf. Cowards like you always get in the way. Gripping the bat. but you're still just a loser." said another voice. The fire ro ared in a loud explosion when the gasoline and alcohol ignited in a burst. jumped across the trash. Katie regained h er concentration and swung her bat all the way around in a full rotation.
Battle for Mankind Andrew and Kevin ran desperately from the rising flame. I thought a fire would do the trick.. Kevin slammed the door shut. but the . I wanted to split their forces up-throw them in a bi t of chaos. Kevin clenched his fist in triumph and exclaimed. "I knew we didn't stand a chance against their whole a rmy. "So what was your plan? Why make a huge fire?" Kevin said breathlessly. "I don't think we should be here. though t here were violins on display at the cashier. Andrew gasped." Andrew said briskly." ." Kevin replied." Kevin placed his hand on Andrew's shoulder to comfort him. "S-she's asleep. sheet music and music books.. We'll make sure of it. drums.. "Hurry a nd pass me something heavier. "What is that supposed to mean?" "You'll figure it out." said Andrew. I can only hope we wake everyone up soon and get those firefighters to deal with it. "Wait. where?" asked Andrew. "The taxpayers. Katie fell asleep. Andrew hid behi nd a piano. "Help me hold the door. smiling. st acking the instruments tightly together. Another large group of forest animals were charging at them." "Yeah. From here." The pile of instruments scattered clumsily as the door rattled.l of flame. "It's a good thing Katie's being taken far away from here. They better not complain when they wake up." He said to Andrew. That fi re could probably burn down all of Korgen if left alone. Andrew raised a brow an d wondered. Andrew said. he turned around to see the others' reactions. Andrew followed him into the music store. "Yes! It worked!" Smiling. Right at the entrance there were guitars. I decided to get caught so that they would bring me safely into the center of their forces. Kevin fell silent as he gawked ahe ad. Hey. grabbing some of the unfortunate instrumen ts. amplifiers. His eyes fixated on Kevin's. "those are expensive! Who's going to pay for this?" "The same people who'll pay for all the damages to the city. "I didn't really think things through. Classical instruments were more toward the rear. His smile disappeared upon seeing A ndrew's horrified look." said Andrew." "Even if you hold back half of their forces. "what do you plan to do about the rest?" Kevin looked at the dogs as a hint. ." said Kevin." Kevin agreed. "Don't worry." said Kevin. "Are we going to rush through them?" "To the side!" Kevin veered right rather quickly. "Here we go!" "Here we go. She'll wake up soon. Through the main window they could see the fearsome mug of a bear as it huffed and puffed hot breath upon the glass." Andrew searched for another door. we're saving their lives.
The floor looked so dangerous with the sharp shards th at the animals were afraid to set foot into the store. The animals at the front of the store suddenly whirl ed around. "yeah. The glass tinkled as he forced the gap to be l arge enough for them to edge through.. He led him to a small group of disti nguished-looking pets. Kevin petted a skinny white cat and said. Kevin pushed several display stands to the floor. cracking it. "But was that the point?" Ignoring him. "Now that w e got the pleasantries out of the way. Kevin deci ded to introduce some of the HPC to Andrew. I forget your name every time. "So that's what you mean by cavalry." snapped Andrew. "Well.. the important thing is that we're safe. showering bits of glass all over. throw stuff at them!" Andrew flung violins and violas by their heads. "Five more seconds.. folding his arms.. "I'm Shadow." said Kevin." "They were rounded up and imprisoned inside a hotel. Many of the cat s even rode upon the dogs. my head general. Lilly and. Shadow.door that led to the back was locked. "The cavalry has arrived. "Good." He cautiously made his way to the door and opened it with a click. Then he saw shadows coming up the street. They can't come in.. "This looks bad! They're going to break in! Why did you choose this place?" Kevin spat back. Lu cky. Patches. The street was full of cats and dogs as far as their eyes could see.." Andrew asked." Kevin quickly touched the ani mals on the head as he went. using them as steeds." said Andrew. Andrew looked out. "And we can't go out." Rusty nodded proudly. mostly begin ner books for people learning to play instruments. "Quick. and threw them all over the f loor to cover up the glass." said Kevin." said Kevin with a big grin. Now come on. pointing at a German shepard. frowning. "This here. Andrew said.Buddy." The collie said.. one of my commanders." "Oh." . but Genesis and Luna helpe d them escape. Where did they come from? I t hought there was no one left." Kevin paused. sounding slightly annoyed.." Kevin stopped and stared uncertainly at a yellow collie. "This is Sophie. "I'm sorry. Kevin tried to keep the animals back by kicking drums all over the place. "It's not like I had time to weigh the options and decide!" The window shattered.. "And here are some Lieutenants. "Watch your step." Kevin replied. They looked distressed and started running away. Kevin looked at his watch.. The entire place was soon littered wi th broken wood and glass. clasping his hands." said Kevin. "Until what?" There was a loud rumbling. let's head out. The coast was clear for a moment." Kevin took some books. An army of dogs and cats now flooded the street. "Safe. The animals pounded fiercely against the t hick glass. "i s Rusty.
." Kevin s aid. All of your strength and cunning must be used to win . Rusty nodded and barked." Andrew tried to hold him back. "Look over there!" a cat meowed. . faster and more dangerous. We won't let them ha ve their way. Everyone looked at the cars parked ahead. We too were born on this planet. There is only one opposition. "This doesn't look like a trap and I have faith in the others that they wil l protect me. In this next battle. Fight. Let me speak with the leader." He raised his voice so that it could be heard. Then came the sound of a heavy roar that echoed into the intersection as they c rossed it. He motioned with his head toward an alley way. "What do you want?" "We want to join you.I want you all to think of your family and friends. gorillas. A lion was standing upon the roof of a car. "Wait! Don't you realize how dangerous a lion is ? He could kill you in a second!" "If I don't have the guts to face him." said Kevin. "You will speak with me. pushing his way through the crowd. "Before we go. "I come in peace. Every last speck of life in your body is for the vic tory." "Why the change of heart?" said Kevin with a hint of skepticism. your goal is not to defeat them-but to hang on. It was frightening and loud. "All of us want to join you. And remember.Kevin paced back and forth before his army. "This is t he final stretch. They marched steadily forward.. "We are far from our homes lifetime without the aid of humans." the lion and could never hope to reach there in our Though we are angry to have been taken away em to be much choice for us but to stay and answered.. I can't call myself the leader." Rusty said. I want you to think of the humans who c ared for you and loved you." "No. You'll be fighting against those that are stronger.so just hear me out. I have a few words. "Move out!" Rusty led their formation. That is all. And when I do. Bu t we can't judge everyone as a whole. Rusty went to meet the lion face to face. Your desire to protect m ust be greater than their desire to destroy. apes.. there does not se be cared for. It hopped off the car and approached the HPC's front line." Kevin met with lion and asked.we too a re a part of this planet. All I need for you guys is to give me time. The lion said. but r un away if you have to. for better or worse.. "We're doing this for ourselves. We will not survive in . "I will speak with him. Your desire to love must be greater than their desire to hate. the war will end . He approached the stout feline with utmost caution. Many zoo animals came out from the shadows: zebras. But it was not a dragon's roar. However. "I will do my best to end this war." Kevin shot a solemn glance at Rusty. much to Kevin's relief." Kevin's eyes were red. rhinos and even an elephant. I will say that I agree that mankind has always caused trouble. I will wake everyone up. The two boys stayed c lose behind the army because they were not expecting any more forces to come fro m behind. from our homeland." said the lion. The forest. the most important thing is willpower-desire.
this land. The bear s were tough beasts and were able to swat away the dogs and cats with a single b low. slowly marching. we might be able to-" "More of them coming!" barked Rusty. it was a difficult battle." "A trap?" snapped Andrew." Kevin nodded and replied. It was pandemonium. And I'm sure Kain will not care for us. The lion tried to aid the others but was kept at bay by venom ous snakes that threatened to pierce his ankles with their deadly fangs. not yet. "Come back!" In his frustration and worry. tearing at its hide. "I don't believe this! Look! The y're getting killed out there! You expect me to just watch this? It's terrible! Katie would never let this happen!" Andrew ran to help the Zoo faction. "We've got to help them!" Andrew wanted to run forward. Kevin said. slapping them away with their powerful paws . "I will let you guys join on one cond ition.. "If that is the only way. wait!" Kevin yelled.. Waves of animals crashed into one another with a loud impact as they butted heads. "Two large armies in the North and South!" . "We won't be able to support them from all the way back here!" Kevin replied." Kevin ordered the newly formed Zoo Faction to go in front." Kevin forced a half-hearted smile. The re was a large distance between the Zoo Faction and the HPC. Whatever I say. Cougars piled up on the elephant." He turned to the lion and said." When the Zoo faction finally reached the intersection. "We've got the upper hand here. Kevin clenched his teeth hard. Kevin watched the fight continue. you must follow my instructio ns. "This is the only way to ensure that they can't backstab us.. And I ap ologize in advance. pushing Kevin aside. The rhinoceros snorted and glared while locked in a stalemate w ith several bears. but Kevin held him back . Rusty took a group of his toughest dogs to assist the elephant in beating the ruthless cougars away." Then he growled. "But this is a great opportunity. T he cougars easily defeated the dogs. a horde hopped out of th e shadows. You guys must listen to me. chomping down on its striped skin. slowly but surely. The HPC stayed behind. the elephant t rumpeted wildly with its trunk as it was overtaken.if we play our car ds right. The dogs worked hard to pull the injured zoo animals toward a safer zone. Wolves launched an attack ag ainst the zebra. "Forget the plan! Everyone-CHARGE!" The HPC forced their way through. "It's too great a risk. "No. They could turn against us. will y ou let us be a part of your alliance?" Rusty whispered to Kevin. they were able to save the Zoo faction from com plete annihilation. However. the zebra tried to escape bu t was held down. And so we ask of you. The Zoo Faction went ahead of them into the next street. "He chose the worst time to be brave." The lion hesitated but agreed.. "Andrew. "They'll die out there!" said Andrew. sounding concerned. Now if we run . Even though the HPC outnumbered the enemy. This could be a trap. "I'm very sorry to have to do this.
encounter with birds. Even though the hulking beasts were practically blinded." said Kevin. One of the objects fell onto the ground before them."What?" Kevin's eyes widened. they flailed wildly. the monkeys began their barrage. They were slightly blinded by the juices in their eyes." Rusty nodded uncertainly. I'll let you take over. Kevin said. It'll be rough-and I'm sure it'll be very painful-but w e have to do it. They used their speed to navigate quickly through the len gth of the road. "I don't think we can push them back far enough." Troubled. Sneaking around will be impossible. The floor was slippery and slushy ." replied Kevin. Reminded of their previous. "But that's war. Hundreds of tomatoes fell from abov e. The monkeys threw the tomatoes with all their strength." "I don't like it either. The birds dropped something. ATTACK!" Andrew watched the chaos in horror." Rusty said to Kevin. "Send word to the rooftops! Launch the second phase!" The Forest Army's reinforcements were coming down the other streets. "Why does this always happen?" He threw his hand forward. They assaulted the weaker creatures first and rendered the m unconscious quickly. and rather disgusting. "Aim for their weak points! Attack their eyes if you have to! Don't let them recover! Be relentless! ATTACK. First came the faster creatures." His eyes narrowing. "This is horrible. several monkeys opened up crates." Kevin said. Rusty replied. Then he ducked behind a car and watched the dots in the sky warily. Initiate a full-scale rush n ow that they're blinded.. "What is that?" said Andrew. splattering the red fruits all over the faces of the Forest Army. Then they proceeded to strike the tougher beasts. Kevin flung his head back and gaped.. Kevin shouted over the chaos." Rusty let out a haunting howl. Seeing that the enemy was fast approaching the main force of the HPC. they'll be suspicious. "We can 't let that happen. The animals staggered and shook their heads feverishly. The bea rs retaliated and knocked out a few dogs with a single wave of their arms. Blotches of tomato juice stained the walls and squished tomato peels litte red the floor." Geese and ducks flew overhead." "If I split up from the main force. attacki ng friend and foe. The dogs and cats jumped up on t he coyotes and foxes. It was a bag of water that gushed and splashed when it slammed into the ground. They were rather prec ise with their aim. though he couldn't quite tell wh at it was. "If that is your order. . "We only have a few blocks left to go. ATTACK. reached in and grabbed tomat oes with their hands. "I'll take over from here. "It could be more rocks. On the rooftops. "You need to get to the lab. but first we have to get closer to the lab entrance. The HPC attacked the blinded forest creatures.
"That's not all. "Enemy reinforcements coming from the rear!" shouted Blue. attempting to pluck the feathers off their wings. dive!" Blue led his band of birds down to the level of the highest city buildings. scattering it. rave ns and falcons dotted the clouds. "We can't shake them!" shouted a canary. The ducks tried to shoo the pet birds away. Send out the signal for the air division! Don't let t hem wash it all away!" "Yes. "Acknowledged. parrots. Budgies. All the pet birds copied him and engaged the geese. "That's why we're going to make the final push rig ht now!" Kevin grabbed Andrew by the shirt and shouted over the loud noises arou nd them. "Follow me and keep close!" . drenching some of the animals. The HPC's air div ision fought back. "Two fold assault. "They're going to wash away all the tomatoes!" Kevin said. The budgies and canaries ripped the bags of water from their beaks. The pet birds were disori ented in their panic and some accidentally flew straight into the windows as the y desperately attempted to flee. Kevin said." The pet birds all replied." chirped Blue." The parrots and cockatiels struck the geese at their backs. "Full speed ahead. "This is bad. the white cat. The streets were being washed clean of the tomato juice. Blue beat his wings and zoomed into the flock of geese. He was at the front of their formation and they branched out behind him. "Awk! They're closing in!" Falcons rocketed into their formation. "This is Blue and I'm taking charge. sir!" exclaimed Sophie. Let's wreak some havoc!" Blue stretched out his wings an d veered slightly." The bags of water splattered left and right. "they're not going to last!" "I know. "Caterwaul!" The cats began making a shrill sound that made Kevin cover his ears."Water. A plastic bag full of water can hurt from that hei ght. They flew right i nto the enemy birds as fast as they could. Blue glanced back. "Follow my lead boys and girls. Screeches sounded through the sky. "Oh gosh." said Andrew. cockatiels and c anaries glided above them. Squadrons of eagles. Bu dgies and canaries will focus on taking out the bags. "Parrots and cockatiels will attack directly. the mass o f birds took the shape of an arrowhead. gaping at the sky. one after the other. A parrot screeched. The other pet birds followed after him." said Kevin grimly." said one of the budgies proudly." said Andrew." said Blue. "We've done enough d amage! Everyone dive. going around in short circles and pecking at the enemy with t heir beaks whenever they saw an opportune time. Andrew poi nted to something flying across the rooftops.
"W-why are there grizzly bears?" Rusty snarled and barked at the large bears. As they suspected. Kevin quickly descended down the tu nnel into the main corridor of the facility. "It sure took you a while. the two boys had no plac e to escape. sinking down to the ground. Dazed. The Forest Army had no idea about this alternate door. "It could probably break us in two if it wanted to. A grizzly bear slammed Rusty to th e ground with its paw. Kevin pulled Andrew back. Helios then hopped along the faces of the three other grizzly bears. Kevin crouched down in the grass and pushed aside a large rock." said Kevin." said Kevin." squealed Andrew. While they cowered in fear. Rusty relentle ssly tried to find cracks in the front line and bravely fought to dig deeper and deeper into the heart of the army. There were so many anim als that it was nearly impossible to simply move or push through. "Good job." The two boys sneaked out of the battlefield and found their way to the city par k. the hidden entrance of the underground research facility w as left unguarded. The courageous Heli os had arrived and began his assault on the bear's scary mug. Andrew said. He tugged on the b ear's eyelids and tickled the inside of its nose. When the deer realized it had been seen. "Not good. but the bear easily brushed them away. When they were about to make it out. He treaded lightly across the floor to avoid the possibility of alerting the strange bacteria monster that lurked t . "I can only run so fast with these small f eet of mine!" Kevin laughed. As he did so. they saw something fall upon the bear's face. The bear approached them. Grizzly bears. A pair of beady eyes was staring back at him. lifting up a foot. It was like trying to brea k through a solid cement wall by chipping rapidly at it. he heard a sudden rustle in the bushes. it dashed away. crouching over to speak with the rat.Rusty led the way for the boys. "Watch out!" The bear's giant paw came out of Helios's blind side. The pack of dogs jumped all over it. Rusty plowed thro ugh the weaker points in the Forest Army's formation. Helios back flipped out o f the way. The bear swerved its head vehemently. " What were you doing all this time?" "What was I doing? I was trying to find you! I'm tiny and the city is so huge!" Helios exclaimed. When all the bears had knocked each other out. leaving the grizzly bear to smash its own head. With the frenzy behind them. In their confusion they swatted eac h other silly. I think we can make it to the lab from here. "I'll chase him down! We can't let him report to Kain!" Understanding the urgency of the situation. Helios climbed up Andrew's clothes and hopped into the pocket of his pants." "We're doomed. snapping at its hide . Running after it. With his band of mighty dogs. the bear twirl ed around once before falling and losing consciousness. overshadowing them as it stood on its hin d legs. Andrew staggered back at the sight of them. Rusty e ncountered a wall he could not cross. "Helios!" Kevin shouted. unveiling the hole ben eath. A deer had been watching them the whole time.
Anyway. including this robot. It will attach directly into your spinal cord and br ain. It looked like a large white centipede. "Uh... flat and segmented with thin needle-like claws running down both sides. "This is it. "Huh?" Kevin wondered what that meant. My consciousn ess currently resides in. FriendlyFire replied." said the robot.. Follow me. they won't be able to remove the device from their back." the white robot replied. the ball-shaped robot. Feeling rather confused. "This is a Nervous System Interface-or NSI for short." "Cool. at one end. "I've taken control of the entire facility. "Kevin. With this. Sure.. "Shiro." "How so?" "Well. everything here. he turned off h is cell and looked around the building. Kevin saw a strange thing upon the metal table.he halls. While he waited. we must hurry. What should I do now?" "Hold on just a minute. The Internet picked up. then nothing will h appen... seeming almost like a head." The robot rolled quickly to a room on the far left and Kevin chased after it." Kevin replied. except it didn't look organic. "I used all the data I could find to constr uct this device.well." "What is this?" "The device you asked for. If you plug it into someone and the y don't want to wake up or don't know that they can wake up. It was Shiro. But that will make things complicated.so I have to find someone who is as leep and plug this into them?" "You can do that. a small silver ball cam e rolling over to him. it should be theoretically possible to force yourself awake when ever you want to. perhaps power generators. if they do wake up and you accidentally fall asleep.. When they went inside the room. I'm not sure how much longer you'll be able to stay awake. He looked inside and saw a massive warehouse full of gian t machines. "I don't get this.it's nice to see you again." "What?" Kevin looked shocked." said the white robot. he tried calling the Internet on his phone." Kevin thought for a moment. "It's me. Also. FriendlyFire." Kevin groaned. they have to activate it themselves. I'm sor ry about what happened the last time-" "I'm not Shiro." The Internet hung up . How is this a solution then? How am I suppose d to wake up the whole world with just one device? Am I supposed to go around wa king everyone up one by one?" . was a thick round device. "I'm here. is that you?" "Yeah. I'll be right there to greet you. After Kevin entered." Kevin swallowed nervously.. "Wait. Then Kevin walked up to a door with a sign that had the words New Deve lopment and opened it. It was l ong.
Next thing he knew. A second glance around made hi m realize otherwise. Katie." . "Hey. All gone. T he solution I got might work to wake up a few people but I need you here to help me. Andrew." said the robot. "Who am I kidding? It's over . "What is this place? Was I warped to the Caribbean sea or something?" The man replied. It merely drifted steadily toward the shore of the nearest isl and. "you are not dead. someone has arrived. no. "Who was that? Was that Kain? This is really bad." Kevin tried calling up Andrew on his cell.yet. what's the point? What's the point if I can't save everyone? Will they w ant to be saved if the others around them die anyway?" Kevin closed his eyes. Looking across the waves. looked apprehensively at the phone and turned it off . The low.. hundreds of them. Nothing was towing it either. he thought he was alone on the barge. "Bring me to the nearest person! Th ere should still be some people in here! I remember seeing the test subjects. The barge didn't seem to have a motor or any method of propulsion. There's nothing more I can do." the man said.. Tom. The phone rang several times before Kevin finally got a response."I'm sorry if this does not comply with your specifications. I could try to wake them up before Kain arrives. But I will be there ver y soon-" Kevin immediately hung up.. it probably has that bacteria monster inside. "This is no longer the world as you know it. This is all I could come up with. Forget the deer. Even if I can save some people. I could. There were large islands. Initially. but it did not sound like Andrew. He's coming! I have no time!" Kevin turned to the robot and said quickly. The climate appeared tropical in n ature. Kevin said into the phone. "I guess I'll just have to make the best of it. "Andrew will not be coming back. "Ah." . dotting the ocean as far as he could see. I'm done. The man said. Get back over here. This stupid device will take forever to use. crisp and blue the water was. laughing. " This is all I could do. he marveled at how beau tiful. scratchy voice replied. It's been a while since a person has co me." Kev in slumped to the floor and held his head in grief. Andrew." "Then.. "Forget this. I could use them. rather bright and warm." Kevin studied the man carefully and said. he was sitting on an empty wooden ba rge in the middle of the crystal-clear ocean.am I dead?" "No.Paradise Kevin opened his eyes." Kevin sighed. I'm the only one left.." There was a voice on the other end. A man in dark robes sat opposite him. And that place with the t est subjects..
Kevin tried to collect his thoughts. "Then this is a dream?" "You can say that," said the man, chuckling. "Yes. A dream." "That's right...I fell asleep!" Kevin suddenly remembered what had happened. "A nd I couldn't even do anything. I-I failed! Everyone's going to die..." He clenc hed his fist and slowly brought it to his face, tears dripping lightly over his knuckles. "All that was for nothing!" He punched the deck of the barge. "So...th at's it? I just sit here and wait to die?" The man shook his head. "No. This is not where you'll die. Not on this boat. Bu t on the island." He pointed to the beach. "That shall be your final resting pla ce." "No! I won't believe it!" Kevin stood up, walked to the man and lifted him up f orcefully by the robes. "Tell me how to get out of here!" "Why should I?" replied the man darkly. Kevin thought for a second and said whatever came to mind. "Because...of the go odness of your heart..." "There is no goodness in the world." The man smiled widely. "You're lying! What have I fought for? I fought for good!" "Look deep into your heart and realize, foolish child." The man disappeared in a trail of smoke and said in an echoing voice, "You fought for yourself..." "Hey," Kevin said, scanning the area frantically, "where'd you go? Come back he re!" There was no reply. The man wouldn't come back, he suspected. Kevin slouched in to a seat and sullenly watched the scenery pass him by, the world reflecting per fectly in his eyes. His boat hit the shore in a matter of minutes. Kevin climbed out, sloshing his feet out of the shallows and onto the beach. After he left th e boat, the boat suddenly vanished. Kevin shrugged. It wasn't of much use anyway , he thought. The sun traveled quickly over the sky, and before he knew it, it was almost tim e for the sun to set. The way that everything glowed in a blurry haze was quite pretty to look at. There was an undeniable beauty to the place. Red, blue and gr een seashells protruded out of the golden sand. The palm trees swayed back and f orth in the wind. Ripe coconuts littered the beach. As he looked past the trees, he saw the remains of simple huts. Kevin heaved a sigh. "At least it's a nice place." He strolled his way into the village. "I could get used to this." "What are you doing?" said a hushed voice. "Get inside." "Huh?" Kevin had a quizzical expression as he glanced around. "Who said that?" A person came bolting out of the trees and grabbed Kevin from behind. Kevin tri ed to shout, but someone else showed up, clasping a hand over his mouth. Another person grabbed Kevin by the legs. Together, the three strangers carried him off into a hut. They shut the door behind them. Kevin was tossed to the ground and released.
Kevin looked up in the dark building. The only source of light was the moonligh t that seeped through the cracked roof. It took him a moment to finally see ever ything around him. Several men and women, dressed in torn rags, were crouching a long the walls. Some were busy nailing wooden planks along the doors and windows . He stared at one of the inhabitants and they stared back, showing only a look of despair. Kevin got up and slowly said, "Who are you people? What do you want with me?" "We want nothing to do with you," replied a woman. "You almost killed us!" "What's that supposed to mean?" "The night hour approaches." "Night hour? I...don't understand." The woman snapped, "You walked outside during the night hour! What's there to u nderstand? It's common sense!" Kevin shook his head, looking thoroughly perplexed. "I have no idea what is goi ng on. What is the night hour? Why are you all hiding around? What is this place ?" The woman stared blankly at Kevin. "Don't tell me...you just arrived..." "Just arrived?" Kevin examined the woman with scrutiny. "Yeah, I did, if you ca n call it that. I just fell asleep a moment ago." The woman ran up to Kevin and grabbed him by the shoulders. Their eyes met and they stared at each other for a while. Kevin's eyes widened slowly as he suddenl y recognized her. "Mom? Is that you?" A look of shock and joy on her face, his mother suddenly began to laugh and she d tears at the same time. "Yes! Yes, Kevin! It's me!" They hugged. "I missed you so much! I was so worried! I haven't seen you for such a long time!" Kevin broke away from the embrace and said, "Where's dad? Is he here too?" Her eyes suddenly fell with her face as she took in his words. "Kevin, listen t o me..." Looking concerned, he said, "What's wrong?" "You may have realized it by now...but this isn't an ordinary dream." Kevin nodded. "Yeah, this is a dream with everyone, right? I never expected to actually see you-" "No," said his mother gravely. "This isn't our dream. This is our nightmare." S he bit her lip. "Your father, he was taken away." "Taken away?" Kevin suddenly looked fierce and growled, "By who?" "Not who," his mother continued, "but what. Our days here are short. There are eleven hours of daylight...then the twelfth hour is the night hour. Darkness fal ls and-" Before she finished speaking, a loud scream pierced the silence. Kevin exchanged glances with his mother.
His mother put her finger to her lips, shushing him. "Go help block the door." Everyone suddenly fell silent and motionless, undoubtedly hiding from something . Kevin walked to the door and whispered to a man, "What should I do?" "Push up against the door," the man replied in a quiet voice. "And don't look o ut." As Kevin leaned against the door, he could hear the clearly. It wasn't a regular scream. It clicked and n high and low, sounding distorted. He couldn't help ng outside. His curiosity got the best of him and he h a tiny, little crack on the door wouldn't matter. sounds of screams much more echoed shrilly. Its tone ra but wonder what was happeni decided a small peek throug
But the moment he looked out, he could not tear his eyes away. "What...is that? " Kevin stared at a strange light hovering in the darkness. "You idiot!" The man pushed Kevin away. "I told you not to look!" Crash! The door burst inward with one loud explosion, wood chips flying all ove r the hut. Kevin ducked and shielded his face from the scattering debris. Then h e looked up and saw the gaping hole in the wall where the door once was. Everyone screamed as a thick black mass emerged from the hole. The giant black mass was in the shape of a hand. It reached into the hut, snatching up a few peo ple, including Kevin's mother, with its broad grip, and then dragged them out. "MOM!" Kevin chased after it, but a man tried to hold him back. "Don't go," said the man. "It's over for them. There's nothing you can do...now that the Coveits have them. Save yourself, kid. You'll be powerless against the m!" "I'll be the judge of that! Get off me!" Kevin shoved the man aside and ran out . Once he made it outside, Kevin froze in terror. A hideous black monster, the li kes of which he had never seen before, trudged through broken homes. The monster was as large as a two-story house. Though it was hard to see because of its bla ck nature, he could make out the murky silhouette of the beast. Its stalwart bod y, enormous tusks and stout snout bore resemblance to a warthog. But its thick a rms, and even thicker forearms, were like that of a gorilla. The most distinguis hing feature was the eyes, which were bright blue, as bright as the high beams o f a car and nearly as blinding. "What is that thing?" uttered Kevin. "Coveits? What the heck is a Coveit? Is th at even a word?" He shook his head feverishly. "No, I can't waste time. I have t o help them!" Kevin glanced around the ground and saw a wooden plank on the grou nd. He stooped down and grabbed it. Holding it in his arms, he charged the Covei t. The Coveit ignored him. "Let them go!" Kevin slammed the flat wood against the black wrist. The wood cl eanly snapped in two on contact. The Coveit opened its mouth. Kevin covered his ears, thinking it was going to emit another one of those eerie screams. It didn' t. Instead, the Coveit took its large fistful of people and shoved it into his m outh, engulfing everyone with one bite.
NO. the whole stomach shook and Kevin said. "Run away! There 's nothing you can do! Save yourself!" "Why is everyone saying that? I don't want to save myself-I want to save everyo ne else. The monster loosened the grip..." Kevin gulped... It felt like a ll the air in his body was forced out from his lips as the black fingers crushed his ribs. Unable to f ind the words to say.no. "CRAP! YOU EVIL-MESSED UP-SPIT THEM O UT OR DIE!" Kevin then furiously punched the Coveit in the stomach. The hand tightly squee zed him. Kevin hastily pulled h is hand out. "No one has ever returned after being swallowed by a Coveit. he was slightly comforted by the fact that the Coveit had no teeth." a man next to him replied. "What do I do? Wh at can I do?" You can die.. Kevin wheezed in the excruciating pain. Aft er falling for several minutes.. they finally landed on the bottom with a great t hud. the thought of which did not sit well with him. There was a glow som .. Meanwhile."Mom? No. his thoughts were solely locked on the torment and how he wanted it to end. But it did hav e a fat slimy tongue. "There' s a hole at the center. his fists clenched. "Are you in her e?" He heard many muffled voices in reply. they jumped into the deep hole. The light of the moon could not penetrate the complete blackness.I hate losing. His fist got stuck in its skin. which he bounced gently upon on his trip down the throat. He tumbled down a dark tunnel with slick walls and landed on someone. As he was tossed back and forth. but everyone was packed in too tight for him to move. which was about one hundred ya rds wide and unfathomably deep. down the fingers and into the mouth. In this p lace so dark and empty the only visible thing was the blue light of their eyes.I hate bein g so helpless. "Mom!" Kevin shouted over the cries and whimpers of the people.. One after the other. Everyone that the Coveit had swallowed was now packed into the p it of the stomach. He rolled along th e palm. Kevin!" the voice of his mother echoed in his mind. Sud denly. He suspect ed he was now inside the stomach of the Coveit. He attempted to squirm around the clu ttered heap of bodies. Then he was free of the pain. the pain would never end. all the Coveits gathered at the hole.." "What do you think will happen to us?" He shrugged. "What is this thing? I can't even hurt it!" "Run away. NO!" He tried ramming the broken wood into the belly of the beast. Though he couldn't see much. "NO." Kevin lost his voice for a moment as his jaw dropped and his eyes widened. suffocating him. Their bright eyes swept across the room like strobe lights. I don't want to run. it felt like the monster was fin ally full.. No matter how tight the grip had gotten . A black hand overshadowed Kevin and grabbed hold of him." He stared at the ground. "W-what's going on here?" "We're being taken to center of the island... There were over sixty Coveits in total and their bellies were all full.. which was gooey like tar. That's where the Covei ts come out when the darkness falls and that's where they return before the dayl ight comes. Frightened..I hate running away. No longer able to speak or think. but it became jam med into its thick gooey skin and started to get swallowed up by it. He would never die. he merely cried out. His voice came back in full force. which you can see during the day.
Something was happenin g to him. "Can you hear me?" Looking curious. Then. some were calm and others were angry. They wer en't screaming-not all of them. Hesitant.K atie. Some were scared. then turned into a much loud er hacking. It really was like a tree. During this serenity. And they accepte d that. I probably won't be able to hear you. The structure was like a frame c onsisting of red.ewhere off in the distance.. I was scared of what was happening and thou . the Coveit gr abbed him and tossed him into the tree trunk. BLEARGH-the beasts chucked out wads of people. He could see through the crystal shell of the fruit and saw the man inside. surging yellow light th at flowed like a mighty river upwards from the base of the tree to the high bran ches. It was in the shape of a tree and was incredibly large. the same man who had just been thrown into the tree. Kevin felt a burst of thought flow into his m ind. Since Kevin was last to be swallowed. but everyone was absolutely speechless. It was a strange sight. In this new room the black monsters be gan coughing. Kevin thought. sullenly. blue and green vein-like wires. resigned to their ine vitable fate. Kevin kept his gaze locked onto th e man as the man flew into the yellow light. both amazing and terrifying. much taller and wider than any skyscraper he had ever seen. almost like a cat thr owing up hairballs. One by one. Then the g low brightened and a vast room opened up. Then Kevin looked up.. A strange. In the heart of the wiry structure was a gleaming. When he came into contact with the mysterious beam. The weight of the newly form ed fruit caused the low branch to bend lower. following the flow of t he surge. Kevin twirled around. Before he could run away again." Surrounded by Coveits on all sides.Andrew. What the heck was that? Kevin was sure everyone in the room had the same though t in their minds. Slowly. They might all be in this tree. as Kevin watched intently. musing. It was like he could hear thousands of voices talking all at once." Kevin said. silent and motionless. They were powerless in this world-absolutely powerless. from the trunk to the dark-color ed leaves. With the Coveits fenced around them. They didn't struggle. Kevin was the only one remaining.. groaning with aches and pains. The man bounced off the la rge leg and tumbled to the ground. But I really hope that you can hear me! It's me-Tom! I'm sorry I abandoned you guys. he was first to be bar fed out. The sparkles reached a low branch and seeped into the branch. Surrounded in this massive room of rock and dirt was a glowing structure. they seeped into the branches and emerged as fruits. afraid to touch it. an egg-like fruit emerged. he stood there.. "Who's there?" "Do you hear me. Their coughs started slight at first. giving Kevin a better look at it. I wonder if I can see them if I go in ther e. "Kevin!" A voice echoed in the darkness. He took a deep breath and walked up to the light. curled up in a fetal position. "So this must be where everyone is at. He wasn't sure what. only to end up running into a Coveit.. Then came a silence. indescribable feeling ran across his body. All the Coveits lumbered toward the glow. they b urst into white sparkles and flew up the tree. "I'm getting out of here!" He ran away from the tree. "Tom.. Suddenly. I pretended to be asleep. Kevin? Don't bother replying. got to his f eet. "What is this?" a terrified man shouted. carried by the powerful flow. Kevin absorbed all the though ts. his hands rai sed. the people had no way of escape. there was even the inclusion of large fruit-like eggs that hung upon the branches. the people walked into the tree. They didn't care. He hit the solid floor and. One by one. as the people touched the yellow beam of light. his body vaporized into white sparkles.
"Put him on the table. A la rge mechanical eye extended from a hole in the ceiling and gazed down upon Kevin ... But now I'm back. "Did you say something?" Helios shook his head. The computer said." Tom heaved Kevin over his shoulder and placed him on the high metal table. "That's not good. Four thick sheets of a glassy material shot up fro m the floor and surrounded Kevin like a box. "I understand now. but I'm definitely sure that it has nothing to do with the quality of my work.tell you. in case you're wondering." The computer speakers spoke. h uh? That's just perfect. you know that device? I plugged it into you. I'm also sorry for making a weird voice when I answered Andrew's cell." Helios said." "I. "He's not really lookin g at me when I pry his eyes open. completely blocking him from view..enlightened.. "Time to see what I can do." said the computer. The device won't work on those who don't want to wake up." "Kevin?" Tom walked over to Kevin's comatose body. He's okay . Tom heard Kevin whisper. "I need to put a barrier up during the scan. No wonder my mind feels..thing. "So I should have it plugged into me now. which seemed to be moving. "Not awake. Even i ." Tom swallowed." Kevin's lips moved slightly as he uttered words." "Did it work?" Tom was crouched on the floor by Kevin's body. The people are trapped here. It almost gives off the imp ression that he is half awake and half asleep.. "His brain waves are strange." Tom nodded and stepped back." "What? What are you saying?" Tom bent over. But now I know t he cold hard truth. so he can hear the mouthed words more clearly. I'll run a quick scan.I know. putting his ear to Kevin's lips." Kevin grinned. "How is he?" asked Tom. is it? Is the device not working?" "The NSI is perfect.. "I'm not sure what could be the problem... "Tom. Tom turned to Helios. Tom noticed a fleeting flash of light inside. You should be able to wake up now. Helios checked Kevin's eyes. right? Please try!" "Tom saves the day.. It's a bad joke.. "That is Kevin's voice." Kevin placed his hand into the light." the computer snapped. "Kevin? Are you awake?" "Tom. Then the glass retracted." A quiet voice broke the silence. I heard it from everyone. The computer replied.." Tom fell silent.. Anyway. "Move aside. "Are you trying to freak me out here? Because it's really workin g well. sounding insulted by Helios's remar k.ght I could possibly escape myself.. And waking up alone is pointless... contemplating over the problem.
There are only two ways in and out of this place. He gazed at his hands. he was dangling around the darkness like a fish on a hook.f we tell them that they can wake up. he pulled his hand back. and cougars racing down the street. there was the possibility of getting knocked off th . His body was no longer a body." he said. This device is p erfect for what I need to do." Tom nodded and looked at Kevin. "I just hope we can hold them off long enough.No Future Kevin floated in a suffocating darkness. All he could see was not hing more than an outline of soft light. Kevin stretched out his hand and touched one of th e strings.to someone's mind. I got your message. I now have some control over the dream. Then he started to see weird thi ngs above him. "It's like a connection. "Okay. Kevin wasn't sure whose it was. all of them just floating in midair. Tom scratched his chin. Kevin kicked his feet to sway and dodge the dangerous objec ts. All I ask is that you give me more time." The computer screen turned on and showed thousands of red dots moving toward a central green dot. There were desks and chairs and cars and houses. Where is this thing taking me? Kevin wondered. "We'll just have to do this the hard way." Kevin reached out his hand into the thick bundles of thin strings. If they all try together." The screen changed into a camera view showing hund reds of wolves. Flinching. His panic vanished when he finally understood that the strings were harmless. I'm going to try to cause a ripple effect. he noticed strange white strings all around him." . Frightened. As he did so. "What are they?" Bewildered." "Tom. Even if it weren't real. Do you have anything that will hold the Forest Army back? We have to protect Kevin for as long as possible. but there were millions of them dri fting about. After digging through the strings for a while. He pushed them a side like rolling curtains. I'm going to explore this dream world and see if I can convince everyone to try to wake up. Kevin flailed his arms and legs. They are most likely hostile." "This research facility doesn't have much that can help you in that endeavor. hel d on tightly and tugged on it. he could probe through the minds of many." said the computer. "Whoa. You can confi rm it yourself. if you like.. It was going so fast that Kevin's natural react ion was to scream. They lack the will to c ome back to reality. they won't listen. "They're here. pulling K evin through the sea of strings. He grabbed the string. but there was only one way to find out. we might be able to get somewhere. As he ran hi s hands through them. searching for a mind that contained thoughts of him. bears. "take a look at this. Soaring up the inside of the tree. hundreds of thoughts flooded into his mind. These long strings twisted and spun like squirmy worms. we should have no problem keeping them out for a while. The one string started reeling upwards." Tom said to Kevin's ear. he found one. "A swarm of animals is approaching our position.. "This is some seriously trippy stuff. He hadn' t noticed it before because it was too dark. If we direct our remaining forces to these bottlenecks and barricade it." As his eyes adjusted." Helios said. drifting inside the massive tree trunk .
over here!" Kevin turned around and saw a person. It was quite an amazing underground shelter. Kevin was now plummeting from the sunny sky toward t he green earth. Dusting himself off. "Hey. the upper half of his body sticking out f rom the dirt. Did he do that? He wasn't sure. Now. The land wasn't getting larger-it was simply getting closer. during his mental state of shock. After seeing more flashes of light. In truth though. "The war between the Forest Army and the H PC?" "What? Forest Army? I'm talking about the war against the aliens! You know-the one that destroyed half of the Earth! The one that mankind lost. However." The man invited Kevin in to his underground home. to recall what he had learned in art c lass all those years ago. Kevin was already tired of screaming his lungs out. "What's going on here?" said Kevin. "It wasn't a fire that burned everythin g down. if skydiving without a parachute d oesn't sound fun. His vision went entirely blac k for a few seconds. full of beautiful paintings and extravagant sculptures and seemed to have ev erything a person would ever need or want. "Where am I?" The man replied. Kevin glanced curiously around. he came to a sudden stop-or at least that w as what he wished for at the moment. I still call it Korgen.e string. But it used to be a large city. "That's weird. He looked to his left and right and saw that he had ended up forming a large crater. It was well furnish ed. He decided to call it skydiving without a parachute." said Kevin skeptically. no matter what he calle d it. It was a simple enough concept. Kevin got to his feet. "You don't know? This placed used to be called Korgen. The landscape as far as he could see was completely decimated. We have no more doctors. Kevin took thi s time. Kevin met up with the man. I really have to go now." ." "Aliens?" Kevin raised a brow. was it?" Kevin suddenly remembered the fire he had let loose on the stre ets of Korgen. full of many people. "When was the last time you saw a doctor?" "I don't remember. I've got people to see and things to do. "No. All of them were taken by the alien s. It was a young man and looked about a f ew years older than him. Perspective. he simply stared at the rapidly enlarging plot of land below him. "Well then. He was dressed in rags and stood out of a large hole ca rved out of the surface. hoping it w ould at least evoke a happier image." "Okaaay. Kevin thought." the man said. This doesn' t look like the inside of the tree anymore." "This is Korgen?" Kevin looked shocked." said the man. it certainly didn't feel fun to Kevin. "Get inside. Grunting. Where am I?" Someone shouted out to him. "It's not safe out there." "The war?" Kevin scratched his chin. Boom! Kevin slammed into the earth at full force. "it was the war that did this place in. his mouth agape. he was still moving after the darkness was long gone.
"No!" The man took hold of Kevin's leg. "Don't be stupid! If you go out there, the aliens will find you! You don't stand a chance!" "I'd rather take my chances with imaginary aliens than sit here with a psycho!" Kevin kicked the man aside and climbed the ladder out of the hole. "Aliens," he muttered. "That guy's insane." Kevin took a few steps outside. Looking at the ground, he froze. Massive shadow s were cast along the ground, covering the land far and wide in darkness. Kevin' s sight slowly rose to the sky. That was when he saw it. There were numerous rec tangular objects hovering in the sky. Each of these enormous objects had bright glowing lights that acted like spotlights, throwing their lights upon the ground in brilliant green beams. It looked as though these flying objects were looking for something. In a panic, Kevin ran back toward the underground shelter. A bright red ball of light fell from the sky and landed inside the shelter before Kevin could get to it. The whole shelter burst in one bright explosion of heat and fire. Kevin tripped over his own feet as he walked backwards and fell. A green light came over him. Kevin looked down and saw that his legs and feet were leaving the ground. He was steadily being pulled up into the sky! Kevin gulped loudly and said, "Okay. All right. I have to get my thoughts toget her. Think logically. Logically. I'm logical." He smacked himself in the forehea d. "That's right! I forgot! I was dreaming. Now everything makes sense. This isn 't time travel. This isn't an alien invasion. This is just a dream!" He started laughing nervously. "That's right...this should be okay...I think." Then Kevin looked up and trembled at the sight of the massive spacecraft. Thoug h he tried to assure himself with words that everything would be okay, the image was still real enough to him to cause fear in his heart. All his assurance seem ed to melt away as he stared into the light above. "Hold it right there!" said a bellowing voice. Kevin swung around in the air. In the distance Kevin saw something headed right for him. It was hard for him to tell what the object was, but Kevin did not wan t to stick around to find out. He moved his body back and forth, attempting to f all out of the beam that was pulling him up. Nothing he did helped. He was wavin g his arms and kicking his legs as hard as he could, but he couldn't break free. Kevin stared as the flying object drew nearer and nearer. When it was about to hit him, he winced and curled up. At the last second, Kevin closed his eyes. Eve rything went dark. There was only silence. Nothing happened. Kevin waited for a moment and then opened his eyes. A man hovered before him with his arms crossed. It was a super hero as far as Kevin could tell. The hero had on a cape and tigh ts. His huge muscles were constantly bulging, as though the hero had no control over it. Very stereotypical and weird, thought Kevin. But something bugged Kevin . The face seemed familiar. It was definitely someone he knew. "Here, let me help you," said the super hero with his deep, masculine voice. Then the hero flew up to the spacecraft and punched it. Like a delayed reaction , a second later the spacecraft was launched away by the hero's fist and it cras h-landed far into the horizon, forming a massive mushroom cloud that loomed in t he distance. It all happened so fast that Kevin thought his vision was fast-forw arding. However, because the spaceship was no longer around to pull him up, Kevi n started to fall. The super hero grabbed hold of Kevin and put him on the groun
d. "Are you okay?" the hero asked. Looking confused, Kevin nodded slowly. "Good." The hero then flew up to the clouds. He glared at the remaining spacecraft. The hero opened his mouth and sucked up copious amounts of air, his mouth acting as a powerful vacuum. He sucked up so much air that the spaceships were being rapi dly sucked to him. Then, when a ship was near, he would punch it down to the gro und, causing an explosion. The super hero did this for nearly twenty minutes unt il all of the spacecraft were knocked out of the sky and the earth was completel y riddled with craters. Kevin watched the whole battle. Scratching his cheek, he wondered why the hero wasted so much time. Kevin was sure that, with his speed, the hero could simply fly around and knock all of the ships out of the sky in seconds. The super hero dove and landed in front of Kevin. "Who are you supposed to be?" asked Kevin. The super hero stuck out his massive chest, put his hands on his hips, and said proudly, "I am Super Andrew, at your service." At his words, Kevin began laughing uncontrollably. He stopped for a moment to s ay, "S-Super A-Andrew?" And then he continued his fit of laughter. He laughed he avily for a long time. He was laughing so hard that he fell to the ground and ro lled around, trying hard to catch his breath because he couldn't breathe. "What's so funny?" said Super Andrew. After Kevin finally managed to stop his laughter, he stood back up, wiping the tears from his eyes, and said, "Andrew! That costume is horrible!" "It appears you are mistaken, sir," said Super Andrew. "My name is not Andrew. I am Super Andrew." "What?" Kevin snapped, "Stop playing around! We've got enough trouble as it is! " Super Andrew blinked. "You act as though you know me." "That's because I do know you!" Kevin gestured to himself. "Are you kidding? Af ter all we've been through, you can't even remember me? I'm Kevin!" Super Andrew rubbed his chin as he studied him. "You don't look familiar." Kevin shouted, "We've been through life and death together! Remember the time w hen I drove the car and hit a street sign, even though I was aiming for the tras hcan on the other side? Or do you remember when we stayed in the movie theater a nd, after watching ten films in a row, the projector caught on fire and Tom trie d to put it out with buttered popcorn but you insisted we use a fire extinguishe r? Can't you remember when we tackled the purple mist or when I chased after the dragon to help you? Can't you remember anything?" His face scrunched with pain, Super Andrew fell to his knees, his palms pushing against his temples. "Kevin...Kevin...no...I know you...but I don't want to...I
don't want to go..." Out of concern, Kevin knelt next to him, patting him on the back. "Are you okay ?" "I'm Super Andrew...I can't go back to being Andrew..." "Why not? What's wrong with just being Andrew?" Andrew looked at Kevin through his red teary eyes. "Andrew is weak! Andrew is u seless! Andrew can't do anything! But I...in this world...in this place...I can do anything! I can help people. I can beat up villains. But when I'm just Andrew ...I can't do anything. "A few years ago, my dad died in a car accident. I felt so powerless. I always imagined back to that time, thinking, what if I could've saved him? What if I we ren't just a powerless little kid? What if I could stop time, or move at the spe ed of light? I could solve all my problems. I wouldn't be alone. I wouldn't be p icked on at school. I wouldn't be so pathetic. I'd be confident. I'd be happier. " "I'm sorry, Andrew, to hear that," said Kevin solemnly. "But this place isn't real. You think you can do everything here, but the truth is that everything you do here will never amount to anything. When you're awake, when you're alive...t hat's what matters! And don't forget. Your dad may be gone, but your mom is stil l out there. And she's dying because you're wasting your time here! "Even superheroes still have problems! The problem is not what you don't have. The problem is you don't understand what you do have. You think you're weak? You might be. But I don't care about that. That meant nothing through our journey t ogether. Did you see how far we got? We were so close to saving the world. And w e're even closer now to saving it than ever before!" Kevin paused to think for a moment. "Look. I understand that you want this drea m to be real. But it will never be real. Don't believe in what you want to belie ve in. Believe in what's real-what's truth. You know the truth...but you need to accept it." At that moment, Andrew stood back up. His body shrank back to normal. His super hero costume tore right off. He was looking like his old self again. "I'm sorry for the trouble I caused. You're right. I can't believe how stupid I was to thin k I could just live a lie...." Kevin smiled. "Don't be sorry. You're not the only one to make that mistake. Lo ok at the whole world!" He placed his hand on Andrew's head. "Now, close your ey es. I'm going to open your mind. After I do this, you'll have more power in this dream world. Then we'll split up. I want you to go and help others. Show them r eality. We need a chain reaction. The more people we help, the easier it'll be t o break this Dream Wave." "Have you had enough?" Gasping, Genesis struggled to stand. The mighty power of transformation had left him. His body was once again that of a dog's, frail and feeble compared to the dragon before him. "You still have the courage to stand before me?" hissed Kain wearily. The drago n licked the wounds on his bloody wing. "I must commend you. You were a worthy o pponent." Kain took steps toward the yellow Labrador, and as he did so, Genesis barked at the lizard as loud as he could in his last act of defiance. Kain lunged his hea d forward, stretching his neck all the way out. Genesis's legs succumbed to the exhaustion and he tottered over. Lying by the side of the road, Genesis winced a
"Once a Dorky pig. "Behind you!" Terminus twisted his head all the way around. the local bully. he turned his head left to look outside. "No. It's a good thing my sk ull is hard. The figure of a huge bird remained suspended in the air. believing that he was as good as dead. "I don't snort anymore. unveiling the horrifying set of teeth. always a Dorky pig. his tail was swinging back and forth. Genesis? One clean blow to the back of the head! This will be a tale to rem ember!" Terminus landed next to Genesis and slapped the dog on the back. Kain's he ad. Embarra ssed. "Good w ork. He checked his watch. Bam! Before he coul d even flap his wings to take flight." His cold eyes wandered across the scene before focusing solely on Genesis. Sinc e his desk was right by the window. shards fell like sparkling rain. we'll need to treat those wounds. Terminus screeched spiritedly. Genesis scanne d above. where were we?" He fell silent for a moment. Terminus had f inally arrived. The sound of a loud impact reverberated off the buildings and walls. sitting on desks and chatting amongst themselves. friendly chatter echoed." h e said. bone-rattling howl. He saw a part of Kain's massive neck on the road. But first. "Terminus!" Genesis shouted." . and his gang of miscreants. had been smashed into a gaping hole in the pavement. Though Kain's head was still firmly in the groun d. "I remember." "It doesn't matter. only to catch a glimpse of a larg e log-like object swinging at him. The sweet taste of revenge. Then the earth shook violently. Andrew was in the front row of his history class. The noise of muffled.nd averted his eyes. "That was surprising. "I did it! The dragon is finished! Did you see t hat. An ." Freddie sneered. he was pelted away with a powerful blow. Andrew frowned. Andrew rubbed his eyes and stared blankly at his desk. Then he swallow ed. Kain planted his feet on the street and aggressively yanked his head out of the crater. He lifted his head and light f looded into his pupils.. l aunched right into the window of a tall office building." He gazed at the dragon's body. The air fe lt familiar and comfortable. "Hey Dorky!" A few boys walked up to his desk. It was still dark. It was the dragon's tail.Kindred Everything was black. he thought. His lips parted broadly. "Ah. old friend! Now you deserve some rest. allowing him to see everything around. His fellow classmates were bu nched together in groups. Andrew opened his eyes. yes. Kain rubbed his head and groaned. Andrew snuck a few stealthy glances left and right before quickly drying t he desk with his shirt. "Now then. Genesis glanced up. Drool. Perhaps-" His eyes widening. The sunlight was quite bright.. It was 2:35. Then he noticed he was staring at something really close. however. licking his lips. In a few minutes school would be over. Genesis barked. Kain cried out in a loud. From the shattered glas s. The re were a few drops of water where his face had been. "Dorky the pig! How's it shaking ?" It was Freddie.
huh? Why would I. Then he spat in his normal voice." Kevin tightened his grip on his shoulder. not weirdos like you with your nasty . "Or you'll what? Loogie all over me?" "I'll tell the teacher on you." Andrew pushed his hand away." said Andrew slowly. "No one saw anything . Like that gunk I saw you wiping off your desk. might be wor th touching. It was all green and sliiiiimy." said Kevin." said Kevin. "The teacher?" Freddie laughed." Freddie mimicked Andrew's voice in a squeaky tone." Andrew started to get up from his seat. Freddie shrieked at the sudden sharp pain and pulled away. "Are you sure you're in middle school? Because you sound l ike a little baby." Andrew replied.. He ran his fingers viole ntly across Andrew's hair. I have more important things to do. "Hmm? What's your problem?" "You're my problem." He opened up the bag and searched inside. remember?" ." "Don't touch me. "Whatever. It's about gunk. He glanced back an d saw Kevin glaring at him. snickering." Freddie looked past Kevin to see Brad leaning by the doorframe. And who would believe you. "Are you really in middle school? Who talks about such things?" "People like me. "He can't and won't do anything!" He spun aroun d and asked his friends. "Did anyone even see me touch this creep?" All of Freddie's friends shook their heads in reply. "See?" Freddie turned back to Andrew and smiled deviously. waving playfull y back at him with a bright smile.. "But apparently." Kevin paused." "Give it back. "Give it back. "Stop that.d it's not just about snorting. Brad was the giant of t he class. You had one great big loogie. "Now your book bag." "It wasn't phlegm. greasy hair and your ugly glasses. he coolly dropped the backpack and followed his friends over to the other side of the classroom." Freddie flicked Andrew's hair ba ck with his fingers. "want to touch you. "No problem. anyway? I wouldn't. beaming. on the other hand. Freddie swallowed loudly. "So are you coming with me or not? Did you call up your mom and ask if it was okay? " Andrew blinked several times." Freddie snatched u p the backpack on the floor. "Wha-what? You want to mess with me?" "No." Freddie said snidely.if you're up to it." Freddie felt a hand rest on his shoulder. "but my friend Br ad wants to." said Andrew. "Guys like him will never grow up." Acting rather cheeky. Freddie shrugged. but Fre ddie pushed him back down. Standing at six feet. "Where? For what?" "Katie invited us over to her house. Maybe some oth er time. gesturing with his thumb over his shoulder. Normal people. "Thanks Kevin.
I should be home before she gets back. "Is this the right place?" asked Andrew... Just the three of us.. Bu t he was glad. "Now that I think about it. Andrew had a difficult time accepting the serenity. It was extremely quiet. It was really weird. Seeing that she walked to school everyday. With a slight grin on his face. Andrew had a difficult time accepting the insane situation.wait. thought Andrew. During the battle. The rest of the neighborhood looked nothing li ke it." "We did leave a later than normal.. No. "What do you mean?" Andrew hesitated and shrugged." Andrew replied." "Anyway. since Tom can't ma ke it." "Cool. nodding slowly. "Do you feel like something weird is going on?" Kevin cocked his head. During that time. "This should be fun.." said Kevin. He was glad that it was finally over. and the bottom of the doors had cracks so large that mice would have no trouble making an entrance. On top of that.?" When they arrived at the place. there were leaves all over the driveway." said Andrew. Kevin appear ed content. I haven't seen a single car on the road!" "Is it really that strange?" "Yeah. There was no one around.. The roof was falling ap art. the r est of the property didn't seem to be properly tidied. Still worried. But now that there was sud denly peace and normalcy." As they walked out the front door of their school. "I don't know.. Though it was nearing the end of winter.. Katie's home was ancient and it showed. Bu t now that everything was back to normal. Katie's house was surprisingly far. You know . "Why are you acting all surprised?" "I.."Katie did what?" Kevin chuckled at Andrew's odd response. When they were thrust into the battle for mankind. As they walked onto t he road.for saving the world and everything. I don't need to tell my mom. S he works late.anything from this morning. Andrew wondered how Kevin felt about the whole thing. she's just throwing a small. Andrew repeated. Andrew looked up at Kevin. He started to slowly remember the battle that transpired a mere few days ago. it felt surreal. it was like they had entered another dimension." said Kevin.I don't know how to explain it.." Andrew closed his eyes for a second. Andrew studied the streets and houses as they passed them by. Andrew and Kevin stood by the sidewalk and gawk ed at the front. his life was always on the line. "I'll come. Andrew tapped Kevin on the arm.. The moment they stepped onto the front lawn.can't really remember. It took them nearly an hour before they reached her neighborhood. There's something that's bugging me. little celebration party for us. a few of the windows were broken.. Like. Andrew was deep in thought." "Okay. Is everything really back to normal? There's no one in the street. "I didn't even see a school bus leave.. "We did. The grass had grown tal l enough to encompass large dogs. It was almost like a dream. . Andrew had expected a much shorter distance..
." "Cut the lies." Andrew shu t his eyes tightly as though in pain. landing loudly upon the wooden porch. Then he slowly came to a realization. two pe ople suddenly appeared in the center of the room. I guess she's back to normal. "Now let me introduce you to my family. "This is not real. Her complexion was v ery pale in comparison. approaching the father to shake his ha nd." Andrew replied. Katie ran outside to greet them. "Kevin. Andrew raised his eyebrows. "Ouch . "I can't remember what I did today..." "Oh.." The front door swung open. really t errible.and then fell out unexpectedly. "Just say it's terrible. Katie gestured to them. His hair and eyes were dark brown. "What are you talking about? Of course it's real!" "Your father is cold-freezing even. "So? How do you like my place?" "It's.. Kevin helped Andrew put the front door back on. Kevin was no longer around. I t was missing hinges." said Andrew." Andrew chuckled and broke into a smile. Kevin looked at Andrew. There was no hall or kitchen or anything other than four gray walls and a few w indows." Andrew turned back to search for his frien d. It's a really good place. "Pleased to meet you. "That's my house you're talking about!" Then she walked back inside her home and gestured for them to come in." Andrew caught a fleeting glimpse of the walls changing color... examined the new bruise on his face and whistled." . After they entered the house. His skin w as very tan. Andrew had never even noticed there were other people in the room with them. Then Andrew turned around to see what the inside of the house looked like. He had great difficu lty with it.my memory. I like it. Kevin just disappeared.lovely and... The structure and layout was simple.." "I wouldn't consider her normal to begin with.. Smiling warmly. The mother was beautiful but was much shorter. The whole house was simply one big empty room. Both parents had bright smiles.nice. the father shook his hand but said nothing. so they simply stuck it in place and tried to wedge paper in the gaps to keep it tightly closed. A r eally.my memory. "You guys made it!" she said cheerfully. Andrew yanked his hand away hastily from the father's grip. "Cold!" Andrew star ed at his trembling palm. And most importantly. There was not much in the way of fu rnishings either. "It's terrible-really." Katie giggled. causing him to stagger backwards.. Waving. "It's."Pretty sure it is.. There were cracks in his skin. "Here's my mom and dad.. "is doing things it shou ldn't be able to do. Aren't they wonderful?" The father was tall and handsome. really solid building.. moldy and broken down and nast-" Katie slapped Andrew on the cheek. When she said that. This house.." Andrew tried desperately to think of nice words. glaring at him." said Katie. Sir. It's so ugly. as if they were extremel y happy." snapped Katie." He looked at Katie. "Frostbite?" Perplexed. "This is no t real.
. I didn't. "THA T WAS A LIE!" Andrew regained his balance and said. "These are my real parents. That's why they're here in my home.six months now. You're hurting everyone." "No. You're the one who do esn't realize it. L ook at your parents." "SHUT UP! SHUT UP!" she shrilled." said Katie..it doesn't look like that to me.stop this. Facing downward. Katie snapped." she said softly." With a sweep of her hand. "It's real.. "Who told you that?" "You did. "Stop. curious to see the expressi on on her face. Katie looked up at him. "You once told me that your foster parents hate you. I don't remember that." "Katie." Her eyes widening. mashed pota toes." Andrew said gravely.." Katie moved toward the middle of the room and a round table appeared beside her . Her parents sat around the table.. "you told me before that you were in a foster home. That's wh y they love me so much." Andrew observed the changing wallpaper and saw image s of her memories." Andrew said. Katie . You need to stop. "If I trust them. Andrew?" Katie smiled. Come here and eat. Her tears flowed like rain and was unending. "I-I've be en with them for.." Andrew said.if you keep rejecting it. Then Katie pushed him back with all her might and screamed.. giggling gleefully." "But Katie. "Come. "You told me that. t he table was soon filled with plenty of food: a large cooked turkey. this time more firmly. brushing away her tears. They are different people." "That was a lie. "Don't be shy. It's rotting away... are these your real parents?" "You're talking funny again. they'll hurt me! They'll love me and th en abandon me! I hate them! They hate me! That's the way it should be!" Then Kat ie digested her own words and fell to the ground. "I'll never get hurt. among other things."What are you saying. They love you. You have to give them a chance. "In those six months.." "You did." Andrew said again. and salad." "Katie. Please." "NO!" Katie screamed.it should be. she fell quiet and there wa s a long period of silence. sobbing." Katie began to cry. This isn't where you want to be .. Andrew drew near to her. "Look at this place. "How do you know if you'll get hurt again? They are not the same a s your parents. I bet you've tried to make their lives miser . "Come join us for dinner. "Why are you doing this to me? Please stop th is." she said to him. Again.. But they can't give you their love if yo u keep pushing them away. Everything here is rea l. They don't even look alive... how long have you been with this last foster family?" Still on her knees. Now that I see inside your mind.e ven yourself. Katie. That's the way.
"More creatures are approaching! It's a new w ave and much larger! They'll reach our position in approximately ten minutes!" "Again?" Tom's jaw slackened. "If we don't pull back now. "But what kind of backup plan can we have? We don't have options. we can always fight." Tom frowned." Andrew beamed.." "Fighting on two fronts was a bad idea.. "Maybe. Then." Katie sniffed. Thank you. Even if the areas are narrow.this is getting worse and worse. We could pretend like solution and lead the animals away. Tom yelled.. they're willing to make an eff ort.. "Then they won't even bother with this place and Kevin will have .I don't know. "What you want doesn't matter! We have to hold them off for as long as we can!" "Tom! Tom!" the computer shouted. And it's already been two hours since Kevin last spoke with us. The tears stopped flowing.I don't want to pull back. "We have to pull back." Tom bit his lip. we don't have enough soldiers to handle both sides.give them that chance.able. we'll lose too many soldiers. Helios sat on Tom's shoulder. "But." Helios made direct eye contact with Tom. Raising his clenched fist high. "You saw how those bears tore through the first barricade! It won' t-" "It's just a matter of stalling time. with our full force. She knelt there for a while." "If we pull back now.. ran to Andrew and embraced him." said Helios. but Helios gave him quite a reproachful an d intimidating stare." said Helios." "They're breaking through!" a dog barked.. "Push them back!" Musing. But I'm glad you're feeli ng better because we've still got a lot of work to do." Tom nodded. "What are you talking about?" "They don't e could hide make a final we have the know what's going on here. They have no idea what Kevin is doing.." Helios snapped. So please. "If you don't want to run. But regardless of what you've done to them. "We can't hold them back for much longer. trying t o regain her composure. We won't last much longer like this. W Kevin's body somewhere inside." Tom consid ered passing out at a time like this.. If we do that-" Tom finished. "But they're already crushing us! Why would they need more reinforcements? Oh gosh. I didn't do anything. we could push to the surface through one of the exits. Maybe it's time we formulated a backup plan. we'll be trapped.I should.. "Don't thank me.. Then she stood up. Tom raised a brow. We should pull back and hole up insid e a department.
Rats. Instead. Once the noise ec hoed through the park. "I don't believe it! Did my mother tell you guys to come?" "That's right. It took them a bit of time and e ffort. fall back!" Almost immediately. For a moment everyone hesitated.as much time as he needs. afraid to give any commands that would disturb the eerie. The ground turned into a moving sea of brown. but they managed to reach the short ladder that led to the outside." said the rat." Helios grinned wryly. A rat met up with Helios and bowed down before him. they parted and scattered. Astonished at the sight. The larger dogs went ahead to make open a path for their group. If I think it over. "You won't even think it over? I know I suggested it. Tom looked at the strange ground. With his trashcan lid in hand. The Forest Army had mustered all their remaining forces and gathered them to this one spot for their last stand. They were clinging off the backs of bears. "We are the Korgen Vermin Militia. I'll change my mind. telephone poles and streetl amps. As the enemy tr ied to pounce him. "Let's go with that. ye lping as they fled.Denial - . "Fall back! Everyone. pause." . but I'm aski ng you to put your life on the line. "You're braver than I thought. the bears began growling and the wolves started howling. Then he decided to take a slight step forward." Tom shouted to the end of the hall. Tom screamed as he t ried to shield himself from the attack. Tom gulped. Vibrations of th eir frenzied charge shook the blades of grass tremendously. he deflected them with his makeshift shield. What is your command?" Helios smiled. at your servic e. The Forest Army rushed in for the kill. Tom plowed through the smaller forest creatures that blocked the door to the exit. It was amazingly quiet. They were climbing up benches. The silence was broken. The Forest Army simply stared at the small for ce of the HPC. gnawing at their skin. "Let's mop up this mess and get this Forest Army out of our city !" The rat nodded. I won't make you-" Tom said reluctantly. a small group of dogs and cats rushed to Tom's side. Tom accidentally stepped on a branch. "My liege! You're safe! The Queen was so worried when she discovered that you were still alive!" Helios exclaimed. "As you wish. Swarms of rats wer e all over the place. Tom q uickly closed the door behind them and helped the pets up the ladder." He added quickly. They wer e covering up entire wolves and deer with a blanket of their bodies. Crack. Then he fo llowed them out. yet calm. black and whit e. Compared to all that surrounded them. It was then that h e discovered the small furry creatures scurrying about. "Let's do it. the small force of the HPC was like a tin y dot in the landscape. Their small group was surrounded on all sides." Helios said. Tom ge stured for them to follow him. But the wild animals didn't attack them. hoping to inch his way to a running start.
Humans sometimes ju st want to get away from it all. I just. "The guy from the boat ride." said Kevin. "If you like. The boogeyman jumped high into the mouth of the creature as it continued its weird transformation. "I don't like the look of this. It caught Kevin by surprise and snatched him off the ground." he said.. The Coveits lumped themselves together like clay.. Hundreds of images flashed before his eyes. Mr. molding and bending into a hu ge massive body. "Yes. Then the giant hand dragged him down beneath the ground. it was easier to walk through that since the rest of the landscape was covered in giant scoops of melting ice cream." said Kevin. He was in another dream world." said the man.. Kevin fell facedown on the floo r.and I steer them in the right direction." A man was standing by the side of the Coveits. "And you're the kid stirring up trouble. you can call me the boogeyman .. he noticed that a group of giant dark creatures had surrounded him . when the transformation was complete. Kevin jumped out of the way and rolled along the surface of hard candy.and it was headed for him. It was a mass of black sludge that was soaring over the land." "Ah." Kevin felt frightened at this man's presence. "So I take it you're the one who made the Drea m Wave?" The man laughed. He picked himself up and looked around. He was being pulled through dream a fter dream. the humans have done this to themselves. Even so. I am the oil in this engine..Kevin walked along a road of candy-coated bricks. Kevin grunted. Another pile of black sludge. But before he could gaze at strange planets and stars in the distance. Its skin was a sickly red." said the man. "What is that?" he wondered. popped out of a scoop of ice cre am." "I can't let you do that. when the giant hand finally released him. The hulking beast stooped down and roared. "Somebody sure loves their sugar. recognizing him. This o ne was in outer space. Coveits. As it drew near. Then. almost th . deep into a dark tunnel.make th e experience smoother for them. It was kind of sticky and har d to walk across. Who dares interfere? He stopped as soon as he noticed a black dot off in the distance. a new monster was formed. "No.." said the boogeyman. Boogeyman. resembling a giant hand. "Who are you?" "I go by many names. he got a better look at it. "I'll put a stop to you!" "You're welcome to try. Then." said Kevin.
almost as if they were b eing reflected off funhouse mirrors. "It's getting worse and worse. Houses were bending and twisting around. On its back were ten horns." . the ground was becoming alive. There should be someth ing-" Before she finished her sentence. the land was covered in sheer darkness. To her horror.. "Did you say something?" Katie asked. Aside from the bolts of lightning that flashed far and ne ar.. "That way. it also had six arms a nd crawled down on the floor like a spider.. Andrew said. "I still don't like the look of this. The segments of bark on the tree moved in such a way that it gav e the tree facial features of a human. "Is this your doing?" Katie shook her head." Andrew and Katie exchanged wide-eyed glances.e color of rotting raw meat. "Now that you mentio n it. "There must be a way out-like a door or something. Andrew took her by the hand an d they fled the scene. "This way.. When they reached the stree t. creating a huge gap between them. "Okay." As they sprinted across the neighborhood.. where people would normally have a nose.. If you think about it." said Kevin. Lumps in the road formed in to human hands and they reached out for her legs. now hidden by ov erlapping gray clouds." She looked at him bri efly before turning to the opposite direction. Stay here. revving their engines as th ey went up and down the sidewalks." Andrew then noticed some thing falling from above... It had an eye on its forehead and an eye on its ch in." said Katie." said Andrew breathlessly." shouted Andrew. maybe you'll find it!" Her arms crossed.. I think I may have seen something like that before. In addition to its two legs. Fire hydrants changed colors rapidly from r ed to black or blue. Andrew shook his head. Stay. Katie looked down. They fell back as they eyed t he great plant. everything around them became blurry and distorted. Since it's your dream. "I thought you said something. Its head would twist and twist around like an owl's. The floor sheared apart. which pr otruded from its spinal cord. "We have to leave this dream. Cars came to life on their own. "I don't think so. "Watch out!" A large oak tree landed upright in front of them. nodding "the exit should be at the dead end of this road. The eyes of the tree looked straight at t he kids and the lips mouthed words. you said?" "Yeah. The clear blue sky was long gone.. Katie stared at the ground thoughtfully.don't leave. you should know where it is. and right in between. the blood drained from her face. Andrew pointed to the sky. it had a gian t mouth. He held Katie back. "It's getting dangerous!" "But how?" asked Katie. Think. Her house was experiencing powerf ul tremors. Andrew pu lled her over to his side and they ran for the door. Andrew turned to Katie.
Andrew blocked the movement of the branches and forcef ully shoved the tree back. Then. as if they suddenly realized they weren't truly alive to begin with. "Get off! Get away from me!" Katie swung her hand down with the full rotation of her s were cut cleanly and fell to the ground. hacking away at the moving forest. twisted and waved the ir branches. He probably still had some of his powers. shriveled and t her hand. "Are you sure this is it?" asked Katie. but apparently there was no longer any need for it. The branche gnarled.. Andrew exclaimed."But this is your dream. but without th e muscular body. The branches came alive and swept across. Andrew was right behind her. "They've got us!" Katie squirmed. The tree toppled over on its side and couldn't get up . With her b them." Yelling out her battle cries." said Katie.it looks different.. restraining her laughter. we should be able to fight back. Taking rapid breaths. two more would rise from the broken wood. "That must be the exit!" They wanted to walk into the blue circle but they couldn't. Katie was unable to contain her laughter at how ridiculous he looked in tights. "That must be it!" said Andrew. The trees all aroun d them suddenly became animated. She was holding onto a large sword and never lade she chopped off any branches that were grasping for upper body. attempt ing to brush Andrew away. Katie was greatly outnumbered. Andrew grimaced. "Now's our chance. the trees couldn't stop laughing." . she swung the s word around. Even the trees howled in laughter." said Katie quickly. big and small. Andrew took off his shirt to reveal his superhero garments underneath. Together. he just didn't feel as dashing. The two teens ran past the fallen tree." said Andrew. In fact. She walked up to the portal. He looke d at himself in dismay. they watche d the gateway uneasily. a nd they all fell down and rolled around in hysteria. gripping the hilt tigh tly. At first the trees retreated frightfully at the sight of the sharp blade and it s restless owner. "We'll fight fire with fire. He had pla nned to show off his superpowers in the dream world. "We can't let the dream get the best of us. The limbs of the trees reached out and grabbed the kids by the legs. boldly approaching the force of the blade without hesitation. Then they encountered a blue swirling circle of light. "I don't know. "I never had this problem in mine!" "I'm just as clueless as you are!" "Whatever it is. The trees. Katie looked a realized it. The branches acted more like vines with their incredible flexibilit y. There was no end to it. For every tree she sliced apart. I'm not letting some talking tree stop me from leaving!" Andrew charged at the oddity. the trees attacked again.
"But whatever we do. our ru les.. Katie as ked." Another voice screamed. "Oh. Katie retreated slightly. We need to use powerful weapons against him. This isn't a battle against flesh and blood. This is a battle against our m ind! If you think you're weak." said Kevin. it was Katie's. So let's just deal with this thing before it gets out of hand." "We cross over together. "But I don't want to risk it. "And he's pretty ticked off that we're trying to set people free from their dreams. "But I guess you didn't need me to tell you that. Andrew! Katie! We've got trouble!" The monster's head poked out of the portal." said Andrew with a smile. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" The loud scream echoed through the portal." a voice said darkly. "How are we supposed to beat that thing?" "Well.. Andrew simply stared blankly and swallowed. "Our dream. The light of the portal intensified.. I don't want to think about what will happen if he can destroy the dream. Distract . Katie gave him a menacing glare." Kevin added. "Well. "What are you doing here?" "Andrew! Kat-What the heck are you wearing?" Kevin's jaw dropped at the sight o f her dress." Kevin explained.. "WHAT IS THAT THING?" Andrew shrieked." said Kevin. As she watched the monster tear a gaping hole through the dream world. "Kevin!" Andrew said. "Are you kidding?" Andrew said. Think of the m ost powerful thing in the world that you can imagine and fight with it."That's not very assuring. "No." said Kevin. I me an. Kevin fle w through the portal and tumbled to the ground." The monster couldn't quite squeeze through the small portal.but now it's our dream. "He calls himself the boogeyman. "I don't know. Got it?" Andrew nodded. "whose dream do you think is this?" "Katie's?" Andrew said.. Kevin continued. If you think you're strong.." said Kevin. you're weak. we have to do it now. "What should we do?" "I was thinking we should beat it up. "No one is going anywhere. He pointed at the hole that was getting bigger and bigger. you're s trong. so it pulled it ap art. Then Kevin quickly said. its freakish bloodshot eyes staring at the teens." "Destroy the dream? Is that possible?" said Andrew. while we're still i n our dream.
Transform into the most powerful thing you can think of!" After seeing Kevin's choice of weapon.... but you can't fool your subconscious." "Oh. "And now I'm the most powerful thing!" "Now it's my turn. However." said Andrew. Maybe we have to use weapons that we know ar e real.until she was as big as the monster itself. "I'm not sure what he's planning. "But let's see if we can take o ut this monster before he gets back. They both continued to attack the monster..to think of the most powerful thing." . the flames of the engine roaring. The houses crumbled around him and the broken pieces swirled around in a huge tornado. The only thing that remained was a huge robot. Then he jumped up into the sky and fell in the catastrophic winds.him for now while I prepare myself. Then Andrew began firing away hundreds of small missiles. boogeyman! Want a piece of this? Huh?" The monster paid him no attention. "Wait." said Katie. Andrew realized something. "Why?" asked Katie. as if a powerful magnet drew them. Whoosh! The jet fighter shot into the air." said Kevin. his voice echoing in their minds. he was curious as to what Katie what do. The monster growled back and used one of its six arms to punch her back.. Pieces of broken down cars flew toward him. "I know. "Hey." said Andrew. "True." Kevin leaped high into the air. "You just grew bigger. "You can fool you rself. "Nothing is working!" Andrew exclaimed. sounding disappointed. Now all I need you guys to do is open up that mou th." said Andrew. it won't be effective. sitting in the pilot's seat of the robot. The wind subsided and the tornado di ssipated." said Katie. An d then it disappeared into the sky. All of a sudden s he began growing and growing.what did Kevin say again?" "He told us. But you don't have to worry about t hat... "How come we can't hurt it?" Suddenly. the monster shielded himself with his arms and appeared unha rmed. The broken glass and scraps of metal came togeth er and formed a jet fighter around him. but nothing they did seemed to hurt it.something we just made up. Kevin sat snuggly in the cockpit and eng aged the throttle." said Andrew excitedly.. Katie punched the monster in the face." said Andrew. even in a dream.. She closed her eyes for a bit and concentrated.in the world and use it.." "That's right. "Maybe if it's fake.. It kept its focus on destroying the dream. "You're such a geek. Katie nodded..then. Andrew closed his eyes and thought for a moment. "But I don't car e because this is AWESOME!" Then he called out to the monster. I've got my weapon ready.
"Open it all the way. He zipped through the shatt ered streets.. "All right! I got it open for now! Hu rry. "What are you spacing out for?" Katie snapped. trying to swat her away. The sight of the monster came into view.. And then darkness fell. Kevin's small jet fighter slipped through. There's no way you're going to get me to open this mouth now! "Oh yeah?" Katie said smugly." said Kevin.." "Don't just let it hang open." "I don't know about this. "Hurry up a nd pry that mouth open! I can't keep this up forever!" "O-oh. A massive shockwave was released and tore the whole dream apart. the monster shoved Katie and Andrew aside. "W-what's happening?" Katie asked. dodging the attacks." said Kevin. She ran up to the monster. But just as he start ed thinking about how he should open up that mouth." Andrew replied. He got close to the monster. Then. Kevin pushed the jet 's engine to its limit. Kevin! Do whatever you have to!" "Roger that!" Kevin flew his jet fighter back down to the ground. rising steadily. The monster got redder and redder. The monster tried to smack her away with an open pal m. "Stop it!" H e flung his other hands around. the monster closed it.. Andrew thought s he was going to punch him again. flying faster and faster..BO OOOOM! A giant fiery explosion emerged from the belly. Andrew steered the giant robot toward the massive monster. He was locked onto his ta rget: the monster's mouth. Its skin began to glow as if a bright light was shining within.. The monster grinned. Andrew screamed as the robot was breaking into pieces.. A surge of flame escaped from the monster's mouth. I need it to s tay open. "Did he make it?" Andrew wondered.. unable to hold back the laughter.she tickled him. enveloping the beast in a solid beam of light. Andrew froze at the strange scene unfolding before him. The boogeyman was ticklish! "No! Stop!" the monster growled.and all was silent. okay.but this time. Katie blocked with one hand and reached down with the other. You think I can't hear your thoughts? I heard you loud and clear. "But it's already open.. "Just do it. shoved the robot han ds into the mouth and forced the jaw open." said Andrew."Open that mouth?" Andrew raised a brow. . Everything faded. Everything shook and crumbled. shielding herself from the light.. Just as the monster was about to close its mouth. At that moment. Kevin pulled up.
" Andrew dropped his backpack by the bed and unzipped you're going to hate me for this. Another was saying it was a terrorist attack by radicals who thought society placed too much emphasis on working and not enough time on rest. No one knows what we did.. His br eathing slowed as his eyes came across the foot of the bed. All of them were confused of course. Besi des. Andrew drew near to Kevin's bed. No one really remembe rs much. Andrew grabbed his book bag." Scratching his cheek. right on existing stack. huh?" An drew chuckled to break the silence of the room. as he lay there unconscious. He entered the patient's room. those crazy ide as aren't crazy enough to be the truth. this time more urgently. . as though unwilling to reply. "I know you're probably sick and tired of me talking about it . around and closed the doo to his feet and straighte Andrew continued. "How are you doing? Are you feeling any better?" I'd drop by it. The door opened. jumped ned up. He swallowed. They don't re member their dreams. turned r. "A ndrew. Andrew sat on a bench. trying to sound cheerful. "Hey Kevin. That's for the best I think. everything went back to normal. There hasn't been much change in the past twenty-four hours. People can sure come up with some crazy ideas. I'm not sure who they were." Andrew said again." "I don't want you to keep your hopes up. All they know is that everyone was asleep for a few days." She hesitated. A small bead of sweat trickled down the back of his neck. Maybe you should come back to morrow." a stack of papers from his bag and placed it on the table. One guy was saying it was an elaborate plot from the government to cut back on food consumption. There was nothing he could do to shake off the Andrew continued to stare as a woman came out." Andrew waited for a response. it's not like we did anything special. "Speaking of which. He look calm his nerves. Probably some scientists and some conspiracy theorists. Andrew thought for a moment. Andrew placed his hand on the handle of the door. his back ed up at the door facing him. Kevin was still motionless. "There's really nothi ng more for me to say that I haven't already said. this mor ning on the news they were talking about it. It didn' anxiety. It was a nurse. But after the past week. "I know He took out top of the against the wall. "I just thought and say hello. "But then again. "How is he?" Andrew asked." The nurse nodded wordlessly and walked away.All Is Well Twiddling his thumbs. all things considered. The doctor still is clueless about his current condition." said Andrew. but I brought all your homework. The nurse sighed and studied him for a moment. Time almost came to a standstill as he gazed over Kevin's peaceful face. like some forced diet so t hat our population would lose some weight. "How is he?" "His body is still in good condition. They were interviewing people. He took a deep breath to t help." "I know." "I-I want to see him now. But I still want to see him. was it?" "Yes.
die like this. We saved the world. He told me these stories of how he fought this ma ssive battle against Kain while we were all asleep." Andrew stared at him for a long time. "I heard from Tom yesterday. "I hope Kain isn't looking for some personal revenge." Kevin said nothing.I don't know what I would've done." Andrew sighed thoughtfully." Andrew grinned bitterly. It's silly. I wanted to surprise you myself. "I woke up in this morning. "Hey! You're g oing to snap me in half! I don't want to be stuck in the hospital for another we ek!" "Oh. "That's all I have to say for now." said Kevin. I don't want to see y ou. Maybe Katie will come too." Andre w shivered. He turned away and then did a double take." He paused. "Bu-bu-but how? Bu-bu-but why?" Kevin shrugged. I wasn't able to contact him bef ore." Andrew stuttered. he ran to bed and gave him a st rong bear hug. Andrew slammed his fist against the mattress. I was awake the whole time. "And yes. "I don't want to see you like this. "Say something.. If only I had known. But gi ven the chance to do it in real life? I'd do it as much as I could. Andrew froze. Suddenly. but I would've done anything I could to prevent this!" Andrew dried his teary eyes with the sleeve of his shirt. "I know what you're going to say.it wouldn't matter." He bit his lip." Andrew released him and backed away. Speechless. Kevin was really sitting up. "It's scary to think tha t the dragon is still out there. Just r emembering that moment when I was almost. his cheeks flushed. "Why d idn't you tell us this would happen?" Andrew broke down. But it wasn't.. I want to know what went through your head at that last moment.. To hi s surprise. I'd hate to op en the front door one day and see that cranky old dragon at my door step. I tried calling him over the past few days and he only ended up calling bac k last night. It was the chance of a lifetime. "I got a little carried away there. thinking it was just his imagination or an illusion. It's totally overdone. That's probably what haunts me the most.Then Andrew said.... Andrew rubbed his eyes. "But I guess. sorry." . Feeling the pain of being squeezed. "If I were in your shoes. I'm amazed he isn't traumati zed by the experience. "Well. Tell me something. unable to look upon Kev in's emotionless face. Because it' s all about how much the world means to you. He's doing well. Kevin managed to breath out. Kevin was sitting upright and smiling back at him. He glanced over his shoulder and looked at Kevin one more time. I'll try to come again tomorrow. I would've done the same thing. isn't it? We always watch movies or read books abo ut people saving the world." Andre w picked up his bag and walked toward the door. didn't you?" Exasperated. You knew this would happen . I'd gotten sick of it. It's about time for me to go. Andrew felt a lump in his throat." "But the nurse said-" Kevin laughed. I'd hate to end up in that situation again... I still get nightmares every night of that dragon. "When she told me you'd been coming to see me everyday. better not jinx myself. I told h er to act the same as she always does.
"You don't know? But didn't you see Kain?" "I did. "Now. They just disappeared." "See? Who cares?" Kevin sat down at the table. No one cheered. I haven't seen him.." Kevin became silent. I can't believe it.everything's-back-to-normal celebration!" He popped ope n a can of soda for an audible effect. Af ter I got plugged into the device. "Not even Helios will say anything? " Tom said."It's okay. though it's pr obably not as impressive of a story as you would hope. I'll be gettin g out tomorrow... Kevin wasn't sure what to say. Katie and Tom. Some one came to me. At that moment. "No one has seen them?" They shook their heads in reply. For the past week I've been sea rching around town.." Tom replied. "Thi s is our official.. "Are you listening to the people next to us?" Tom said. Now go on. Tom shifted in his seat. Genesis." "That's. Really. their brows raised.I didn 't see them during or after the battle. but not what I expected." Kevin said. I tried going into the sewers-which was a lot of trouble I might add-but the rats aren't talking. An d the animals won't speak to us anymore. Andrew said." Eyes wide open. They all stared at Kevin. Luna. "But Genesis wasn't around. Tom's been searching in Korgen. Kevin stared solemnly at Tom. Get out of here. Told me I was int erfering with his plans. I guess all the animals are pretty serious about the no-talking rule." said Kevin. There was a long pause as the four of them just listened t o the chatter all around them. Then he turned to Andrew and Kati e. Everything is back to normal. but I'm still not feeling all that well. isn't it about time you explained what happe ned at the end of the dream thing? It all happened rather suddenly.um. "Not really. With it. "I guess I might as well tell you guys all about it.. I'll do a quick recap." His face downcast. "Kevin. He called himself the boogeyman.. "Well. He was a strange guy." He turned to Tom. I want to rest." He looked at Tom.and I was t otally clueless at the time. "They haven't tried to contact us. "What I really wanted to know was what happened to Genesis? Yo u guys haven't said a word about any of the agents from the HPC. I used it to gain control of the dream. "But now I can actually talk to you for real !" "Sorry. Terminus. I knocked some sense into Andrew and searched for someone else to help. coughing. "That's disappoin ting." said Tom. There's no trace of them.. I was . "I can't believe we're doing this openly in a mall." "I don't know. Andrew cleared his throat." "So soon?" Andrew cocked his head.." "Thank you for coming!" Kevin bowed jokingly before Andrew. I'll see you at the bus stop on Friday. let's begin our meeting. What if people listen in?" Kevin shrugged.. glancing around the food court. "I'm happy I'm alive too.
do you? What if it was your own dream? Maybe it was tota lly a figment of your imagination." said Katie.. by chance." said Kevin. "What's the rush? We haven't had the chance to just sit down and r elax.. I mean. "But that's what I'm thinking. I wasn't sure if he was really the boogeyman. Does that mean the boogeyman was the cause of that huge mess?" "I don't know for sure." said Andrew.too late for that.well. "Yeah. I got some homework to do and this time I plan on finishing it tonight. I couldn't do anything.pretty scared." Kevin shot a confused look at her. But I needed to use the most powerful thing I could think of. "Maybe. I may not have seen on e in real life.I knew we could overp ower him." "That's an interesting perspective. like as if he suddenly got t he power to rob a huge bank. we don't really know for sure if we solved the problem! What if this whole mess starts up again?" "Someone will deal with it when the time comes. Kevin smiled. Maybe the boogeyman never existed.. there was nothing I could do. it's getting kind of late. My perspect ive is this: the boogeyman was like a small time criminal-like a pickpocket." Kevin said. Tomorrow is Saturday.. "Your mom? What the-Since when did you care . I shouldn't keep her waiting.. Kevin sa id. "You have to live every day l ike it's your last because you never know what might happen. "As I said in the dream." Katie growled." "To be honest. "Oh. It still worked. "Yeah!" said Kevin. That would explain why only you were able to hurt it. the only way for something to beco me effective is if your subconscious accepts it as truth. "a hydrogen bomb is more powerful than an atomic b omb. "What's with that smug look? If you don't really know what happe ned. "Wait. We ca n hang out then. what could I really do against him? I wanted to st op him... So I ran to you guys for help. but I know for a fact that it exists.." Andrew said." Kevin stared at Andrew. I didn't know what to do. "And speaking of time. "You don't know even know wher e that thing came from." said Andrew." "All this stuff has got me thinking. but really. I might as well go home now. "My mom's worried about me. But with the three of us. The n." said Katie." "You too?" asked Tom. "If we're done here." Katie stood up and pushed her chair in. uh... And if he was. "Isn't it?" "Sounds like a bunch of guess work." Tom looked confused. I guess. he had the opportunity to hit it big." Kevin's smiled widened.Maybe it was just another part of you-a part of you that didn't want the dream world to e nd. I'd better get going." "An atomic bomb?" said Andrew. Alone." Standing up.
well." "At work? Kevin. "Shall we go?" Andrew nodded." Kevin nodded. Kevin pointed at her and raised a brow at Andrew. When he heard Kevin entering through the fro nt door. I'm starving. "I didn't want to disturb you at work. "What's going on?" "Some things have changed over the week. He cleaned the trash off the table." "You don't mean-" Tom said. "Every day is importa nt. "Where have you been?" "I was out with some friends. I have to help my parent's with their business. "Well." He wave d goodbye and disappeared into the crowd. "You should have called me. "Okay. "You should find better things to do with your time than waste mine and yours. got his stuff and followed a fter Kevin.." Freddie stared at Andrew as he headed for the exit. " "Did you have dinner?" "No.about going home early? I thought you hated your parents. Kevin straightened.uh. I had n o idea.. Where's mom?" .being honest. He didn't have his wristwatch. "I'll explain later. Freddie said. he turned off the TV and sat up." said Andrew. his parents were already home from work. well. And it's caused more trouble than it was worth. "It's the little grocery store on Felix Avenue." Andrew asked. His dad said dryly.. "What was that all about?" When Kevin went back to his house." said Kevin." Kevin replied. looking at Andrew. Every single day." As he left." His dad started to sound serious. Only a small snack. he bumped into someone. Time sure goes fast when you don't have a watch. it's almost eight." said Tom. His dad was reclining on the sofa. "The movie theatre?" "Nope." "Sorry. If it isn't Andr-" Andrew said quickly and confidently. "Really?" Kevin checked his wrist. "I guess this is goodbye." "It's in the fridge. he said. "Wow. Tom grabbed his backpack. It was Freddie. Let's just say I have a bad habit when it comes to." Katie shrugged silent ly and left.. I wonder where it went. While walking.
... so the boy is finally back. "Good to se e you." Kevin smiled." A voice suddenly said." Kevin cocked his head out of curiosity. "I might be able to get away with letting a dog. "Luna! You're here too!" A parakeet flew down from the curtain and landed on Kevin's pillow... "But unless the whole world goes into a famine." said Genesis.." Kevin smiled. "I wouldn't want to wake her..never thoug ht I'd miss sleeping so much.. "What are you doing here?" Genesis replied." "Very well. "I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd see how you were do ing." snapped Helios." He jumped onto his bed and dug his face into the pillow. "Oh.. Genesis continued." "Yeah. his enthusiasm fading. "WHA-WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? WHERE DID ALL THESE ANIMALS COME FROM? WHAT ARE THEY DOING IN MY HOUSE? AND A RA T?! A RAT?! WHY IS THERE A RAT IN THE DRAWER?" She turned around.but a rat? No way." A black cat crawled out from under the bed and stretched its legs. If my mom-" "KEVIN!" The door flung open." said Kevin. really need to.. Kevin." Wondering who had said that." . His mom popped her head in." Kevin ran to the door." "Terminus!" The drawer of Kevin's dresser suddenly cracked open. I was tired of waiting. "Ahh. She's had a rough day. A white rat stuck his head out. "We'll be watching over you and the others.even after a week-long coma. "Oh. "But before we go." Her voice trailed off as she goggled at the sight before her. I think I s hould be fine. cat and bird in th e house. I'd just like to say that we'll b e hanging around the neighborhood for a while.. Kevin bolted upright. "Speaking of rest . Official HPC business." "Hey. "Can you please keep it down? A lot happened at work today and I really. A yellow Lab w as sitting by his bed. ran into the h all and screamed to her husband. "HONEY! CALL ANIMAL CONTROL! GET THE EXTERMINAT OR! WE'VE GOT A PROBLEM!" "Oh boy. "And Helios.. "Because you never know when Kain might return. "You guys should get out the window before my mom gets back. "Am I the only one you're not happy to see?" Kevin said. "Are you sure you want to take a nap? You'll miss dinner ."She's sleeping. "Genesis!" Kevin shouted in excitement. Kevin looked around." Kevin went to his room and dropped his book bag on the floor." said Kevin. slammed it and locked it.." Luna added..
" A free ebook from http://manybooks." Terminus said." "Say no more." said Kevin. we'll be around." "Sure.Helios nodded." Before Genesis hopped out the window.. We apologize in advance for the trouble we'll cause. So to be on the safe side." said Kevin. if you don't want us around. "I don't care about the trouble. but we also aren't sure if we've managed to solve the sleeping epidemic for good. "But of course.. we understand compl etely and will give you your space as needed. "You guys are welcome to bring as much trouble as you like. he barked." His face was split by a wide grin.net/ . unable to stop smiling. "Sure. "Then we'll see you and the ot hers tomorrow. "There's that.
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