The Dark Hour

February 29, 2008
By Karla Kozak, Huntingdon, PA

It was an ordinary day at Huntingdon Area Middle School (HAMS) in room thirteen. A boy was struggling with his test.
“Hey Ranger,” another boy whispered.
“What?” Ranger replied.
“Can you help me with my test?”
Ranger shook his head and turned around to continue on his test. The boy gave him a look and then started talking to other people. A couple minutes later a kid opened the door. Ranger turned around to see who was there and realized it was a person he had never seen before. The boy was around Ranger’s age and wore a gray sweater with blue shorts and a Boston Red Sox baseball cap.
“You must be the new kid,” the teacher said.

The kid stood still and was speechless.
“Class is almost over but you can just sit there for the rest of the time in this period.”
“Okay,” the boy replied quietly.
The boy walked to a desk right beside Ranger. Ranger just finished his test. When Ranger got up to turn it in, it was time to leave for next period class. As Ranger was walking to his locker the new kid came to ask him where the gym was located.
“It’s over there,” Ranger said pointing his finger to the gym.
“Oh, okay,” replied the boy as he headed for the gym.
“Hey new kid, I have the same class! Wait for me and I’ll come with you. Plus you don’t want to accidentally walk into the girls’ locker room.”

The boy sighed and told him, “Sure.”
As the two boys walked to the gym, Ranger started talking to the boy.
“My name is Ranger.”
“All right Ranger, what are we doing at gym today?” asked the boy.
“I believe that we are doing baseball.”
The boy smiled as they walked into the gym. Later on all of the 7th grade boys walked outside to the field. Ranger spoke to the coach and told him about the new kid.
“Well,” the coach said while he scratched his chin, “He’ll be on your team,” The coach picked up his whistle and blew it. Then he yells, “Play ball!”
Another student approached the new kid and started to yell at him. “Come on new kid, you go first!” He picked up the bat, gave it to him, and told him, “ Go Joe!”
“My name’s not Joe, it’s Devin.”
“All right then Devin, play!” ordered the boy who sat back down on the bench.
Devin grabbed the helmet from the ground and placed it on. Then he put his bat down to crack his fingers and hands. He takes the bat and walks over to plate. The pitcher throws the ball, Devin swung the bat with all his strength, and hits the ball across the field and over the fence. One boy tried to climb over the fence to retrieve the ball but fell backwards onto the ground instead.
“Dang it,” yelled the boy who got back up from falling off the fence. Then he threw his mitt to the ground with anger. Another teammate came along who crossed his arms, shook his head, and stated, “ How are we gonna play? We don’t have a ball now.”
The coach paused with his mouth wide open. Ranger was in the same state. By now Devin was already at home plate.
Devin waved his hand in front of Ranger’s face and asked him, “Are you okay?”

“Oh it’s just that was an awesome shot,” said Ranger.

“Thanks!” replied Devin.

“I think we don’t have baseball till next year,” Ranger said disappointedly.

“Sorry about that,” said Devin.

“It’s okay,” reassured Ranger.

“I’m also sorry that I was being rude earlier, my name is Devin.”

Ranger shook his head “Devin…. I’ll remember that.”
Later on that day Devin, Ranger, and the rest of the students went back home to do their homework or after school activities. Devin was in his room with some odd looking person. He was a tall man with a black face, frizzy white hair, and orange-red eyes. The scarf around his neck matched the colors of his eyes.
“How was your day at school?”
“Okay I guess… I made a friend there which is good, right Orpheus?”
The man took out his harp and started playing it with elegancy. He smiled and he nodded his head.
Orpheus stopped playing and asked, “Devin?”
“Yeah,” as Devin was doing his homework.
“When you were at school was there an odd presence?”

Devin paused and looked up at Orpheus. “Like what?”
“I sensed another persona… I hope this wasn’t a bad time to tell you,” said Orpheus.

Devin stood up with his eyes wide open. “ When?”
“When you were near that kid with the black hair.”

Devin paused and said, “ Ranger…. Oh God! What time is it?”
“11:55 pm”
“Do you think you can teleport me to Tartarus?” asked Devin.
“I thought you said we weren’t going to train.”
“Change in plans then,” said Devin as he was putting on his orange armband imprinted with the letters S.E.E.S. “Let’s go!”
Orpheus gets out his harp and plays an odd melody. Light surrounds them and they are gone in a flash.
Suddenly they found themselves at the parking lot of HAMS. In place of the school stood a very tall, distorted structure, as if it had no fixed supports or dimensions. It was so tall that it looked like it could touch the moon.
All of a sudden Devin and Orpheus saw a strange looking creature with two arms and two legs on the ground and four arms on its back holding two masks. These masks could talk and appeared to have a mind of their own. The larger mask started to speak.
“I can sense it,” he said.
“What?” asked the small mask behind him.
“I sense another persona user.”
“What?” asked the smaller mask.
“There’s someone behind us!” exclaimed the larger, dominant mask.
“Oh crap! Orpheus, teleport to Ranger’s house!” Devin yelled.
Orpheus quickly picked up his harp, did his melody, and teleported. They landed at the doorstep of Ranger’s house. Devin grasped the door handle but it wouldn’t budge.

“It’s locked!” said Devin frantically.
Orpheus started playing a fast melody and told Devin to step back. Suddenly an explosion of fire occurred before the door thrusting it to collapse inward, nearly hitting Ranger.
“What in the world!” cried Ranger. “Who’s there?”
The house was in complete darkness with evidence of thick smoke to breathe.
Ranger grabbed the figure in front of him and punched him in the head in self defense.
“Hey watch it, I’m Devin!” yelled the shadowy intruder.
“Why are you in my house?” asked Ranger.
“Ow! Did you have to hit me so hard Ranger?” asked Devin.
“Yes, you don’t just bar-“ Ranger paused to see that there was a giant looking being beside Devin. “Who is that?” he asked, eyes wide open.

Orpheus looked down and said, “My name is Orpheus and I am Devin’s persona”
“What’s a persona?” asked Ranger.
“A persona is a god like creature made by you humans but we can only be summoned by persona users to defeat shadows.”
“And that is why we came here. We need your help Ranger.”
“That’s impossible, you must have the wrong guy,” said Ranger.
“Well if you weren’t a persona user you should have turned into a coffin by now,” explained Devin.
“What?” asked Ranger.

“Yeah, every nonpersona user turns into a coffin.”
“Won’t the people remember that?” wondered Ranger.
“Nope they don’t remember anything of the dark hour.”
“Dark hour? What’s that? Ranger asked again.
“Just forget it! I’ll tell you more later. Now go and get ready. It’s time to see your power in use.”
“Okay,” replied Ranger as he ran to his room to get changed into day clothes. At 12:30am Ranger ran out of his room.
“What took you so long?” inquired Devin.
“Let’s just go already,” replied Ranger.

Devin puts out his fist and says, “All right then, you heard him Orpheus.”
“Of course master,” answered Orpheus who got his harp out to play the melody. They teleported to Tartarus.
“Whoa!” Ranger said in amazement. “I see we are at the HAMS parking lot, but what happened to the school?”
“Oh you mean the building? That’s Tartarus, the place where all the shadows come from,” explained Devin as he stood stretching his arms.
“There they are!” bellowed the shadow.
Devin and Ranger turned around to see who it was. “Oh Crap!!!” Devin yelled.
“What is this, a freak of nature convention?” Ranger asked.
Then the shadow pulled out his sword and started running towards them. Devin got in a fighting stance while Ranger started freaking out. When the shadow was two feet above them, Devin kicked it on the chest causing it to screamed. The shadow threw its sword at Devin and stabbed him in the chest. Blood splashed everywhere. Ranger froze and his skin turned white. He couldn’t believe his new best friend was just killed.
No…… Where is this dumb persona. Come out! Now!
Then a white figure wearing a Greek warrior helmet and blue breast plate, came out holding a giant golden spear in his right hand.
“Art that I’m thow from the sea of my soul. I am Ethan Greek warrior of Athens.”
“Oh wow!” Ranger said in amazement.
Ethan held his spear back ready to strike the shadow. Likewise, the shadow was ready to strike with his spear as well.
“What shall I do master?” Ethan asks.
Ranger was not sure what Ethan was capable of doing, but gave the order to kill the shadow because of Devin’s death. “Go ahead, kill that thing!” Ranger said, holding his fist out in anger.
“So shall it be,” Ethan said calmly. He takes his spear and maneuvers it swiftly, stabbing the shadow in an off-guard move. The shadow, with profuse blood coming out of his chest, blows up.
Ethan levitates to Ranger and says, “Enemy shadow destroyed, Sir. Summon me when it is necessary.”
“Good job Ranger for summoning your persona.” Ranger turned around to see who was speaking.
“De-Devin is that your?” asked Ranger.
“Okay Orpheus you can change back,” said the original Devin, as another Devin came walking by.
“Of course sir,” said Orpheus who turned back to his regular form. Orpheus then congratulated Ranger on doing an excellent job with his persona.
“Awesome,” said Devin who gave him a thumbs up.
“Thanks! But when did Orpheus transform into you?” asked Ranger.
“You know, when we teleported. Orpheus transformed into me and hid me behind this bush not too far from you guys,” answered Devin.
“Oh,” said Ranger.
“ Basically Ranger, Orpheus was with you the whole entire time” said Devin. As Devin and Orpheus was walking away, Devin told Ranger, “ It’s going to be like this for the rest of our lives until we defeat the shadows. So you want to save the world and destroy the shadows.”
“Yeah, sure,” said Ranger.
When Devin got to his apartment, Orpheus tells Devin, “Thinking of Tatarus, don’t you have your homework to finish? You know HAMS will be there in the morning, teachers included.” Grudgingly, Devin picked up his transition math book and started his homework.

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