January 13, 2009
By Brandon Buechley, LaGrange, IN

Knox Benten shambled down a lowly alley in downtown Chicago. Still angry from his argument with his girlfriend, he had to find something to do to distract his jealous rage. He had come home from his hard day working to find Marissa speaking on the phone to an unknown male voice. Of all things, this angered him the most. All he could do was insinuate that Marissa was cheating on him. After a well-argued fight, Knox had stormed out of their apartment and began his leisurely walk down the drug-ridden streets of Chicago.

Knox turned a corner and began walking down a very populated street as every step pounded into his skull arousing the worst migraine he had ever experienced. He heard a baby’s cry from ten blocks down. He hated when he accidentally focused on something as pointless as a mere baby’s cry. He suddenly realized that he wasn’t going to make his relationship last with Marissa. She was too much like her mother, stubborn. He didn’t know how she would respond if he informed her of his “ability.”

As Knox turned from the busy street onto a less populated street, he heard the whisk that only followed the one person he didn’t want to meet at this time. Whisk Again, the sound of the hunter maybe two miles away but approaching. I wonder if she is with him tonight? Knox thought to himself as he searched for a hiding place among the few buildings that littered this uninhabited street. Knox’s eyes rested on an old sugar-refining plant up the street. He took off, each step slapping the wet pavement of the windy city. Whisk The hunter was now only a mile away.

Knox found the front doors locked and ducked down a small alley to search for the other entrance. Bingo A small white door in the back revealed his only chance. When Knox reached the door, he was relieved to find it unlocked. With a push, Knox entered the plant. There were countless rusting machines set up to do who knows what. Whisk He had to hide.

Knox climbed a metal rung ladder and reached a metal catwalk above. With nowhere left to go, Knox raced to the corner and attempted to hide among the shadows. All that wasn’t hidden was a single jean-clad leg. The door burst open with a deafening boom. The sound reverberated off the metal walls. The sound would have been excruciating for any human. Knox felt it worse.

“Knox Benten ” Shouted the crazed pursuer below. “I’ve come to settle this once and for all.”

Knox stayed crouched in the corner.

When he received no answer, The hunter shouted, “Aww, what’s the matter? Are you scared?”

Knox was furious Of course he wasn’t scared. He was alone. Possibly the worst thing that could happen to somebody who ran into the hunter at a time like this.

“Now Knox, just come on out and we’ll settle this like men.”

Knox still remained motionless.

“Well, if you don’t want to come out then I’ll just have to find you.” The hunter was gone, vanishing into thin air with his signature, whisk.

Sweat trickled down Knox’s face as he tried not to make a sound as the plant became dead silent.

Whisk “Where are you Knox?”

Whisk “I’m getting bored ”

Whisk “Seriously?”

Knox still refused to move, thinking the hunter would soon tire and attempt this some other night when Knox wasn’t alone.

Suddenly, Knox heard Marissa scream, “Please, who are you? What do you want?”

“That is of no concern to you ”

A loud smash was heard as breaking glass followed next. Knox knew what was going on. The hunter had decided to distract Knox, get his vulnerable. He had sent his accomplicel after Marissa, the only person Knox couldn’t bear losing.

Although he knew the hunter’s plan, Knox couldn’t help but shout, “No, Marissa ”

Whisk There was the hunter’s pallid face. “There you are Knox.”

Knox stood up, “If you so much as lays a hand on Marissa, I swear you won’t live to see tomorrow.”

“I’m sorry to say this but that is your fate, not mine.” The hunter chuckled as he sprang at Knox.

The hunter slammed into Knox and the two men hit the catwalk and rolled to the end, throwing punches as they did so. Knox couldn’t take this encounter easily, not if Marissa’s life was hanging in the balance. He raised his fist as he rolled on top and punched the hunter so hard that the sound pained him. His “ability” often hurt him more than it helped him, especially in these extreme situations.

As the two quarreling men reached the edge of the suspended catwalk, the hunter vanished.
Whisk Knox rolled over the edge and landed ten feet below.

Whisk The hunter appeared at Knox’s side, laughing at seeing Knox in such a bad state. Knox couldn’t believe that they had once been friends. As Knox attempted to rise, his shoulder pained him too greatly and he realized that he must have dislocated it during his fall from the catwalk.

“Well, well, look at Knox Benten now. Who would have thought that he was one of the blessed souls to receive an “ability.” The hunter barked as he circled Knox with the hungry desire to kill.

The hunter’s rant was suddenly halted by the same baby’s cry from before. This was somehow significant to Knox. He wasn’t sure why but it was. The shrill cries of the baby calmed Knox, ironically. He suddenly wished he had been born like a normal human, and not with his cursed “ability,” like Marissa. Marissa Knox remembered her screams and zoned in on the area of his apartment. All he heard were the soft steps of somebody walking towards the door, followed by a chuckle that chilled him to the bone. It was a female, not Marissa

Knox snapped back into reality to see the hunter still droning on about Knox’s current state. Working through the pain, Knox reached around for something to defend himself with. After a second’s worry, Knox’s hands found the cold steel of a nearby crowbar. Luckily for him, the hunter hadn’t noticed a thing.

Suddenly and swiftly, Knox sprang to his feet and swung the crowbar with all his might. The hunter, however, vanished when the crowbar was inches from his face. Whisk He reappeared behind Knox. Knox turned as the hunter plunged a hidden dagger into his stomach. The pain was worse than loud noise.

Knox fell to the cold ground and heard the faint sounds of cheering and laughter leagues away as he cursed his dreaded “ability.”

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