I started writing this because I was bored one day, but I actually ended up getting pretty into...
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Prologue: 6 years earlier
The rain came pouring down that night with the streetlights flickering on and off. Kevin ran down the street, determined to get his sister back home safely. She’d gone to her friend’s house before the storm, but something had happened to her.
When Kevin called to make sure she was alright, someone answered the house phone, but then he heard screaming and the crunching of the phone being destroyed. His parents weren’t home that night; they had to handle a few “errands,” as they called them. They’d taken his youngest sister, Jackie, with them as well, leaving him alone that night. Kevin wasn’t the strongest, or the bravest or the most protective, but he wouldn’t let his sister get hurt. He could feel something wasn’t right, and the smashing of the phone confirmed that.
He’d been able to sense different types of energy in people for a long time now, like their determination or sadness, but in this case he felt an ominous energy coming from the presence of not only the storm, but from the number he called. Something was wrong; he knew this storm and this feeling couldn’t simply be a coincidence. His mother had told him not to go when she called him, but as the oldest at fifteen, he felt obligated to protect his two little sisters, and right now his nine-year-old sister Andrea needed his help. She’d always looked up to him, and now wasn’t going to be his time to let her down.
Kevin continued to run, approaching the house where his sister would be. The houses weren’t too far away, but it felt like an eternity of running to him with that bloodcurdling scream still ringing in his head. Thunder boomed and lightning crackled in the distance, igniting fear in Kevin’s heart. Rain beat down on his head, trying to dissuade him from his quest, but he would not allow it overcome him in his sister’s time of need. While Kevin was no swordsman or fighter, he had felt strange lately and had been able to do things he’d never thought his body was capable of.
His soccer practice the other day was only one example of these strange occurrences. Kevin had been dribbling down the field when Lance came in front of him to steal the ball. Lance was an overconfident, snotty, blond-haired know it all. Since fifth grade Lance just always had to beat Kevin at everything, including soccer.
Kevin and Lance had been considered rivals since this whole “competition” started, so Kevin wanted so badly to score the winning goal against Lance. All of a sudden Lance kicked the ball away, so to get it back Kevin somehow did an under-the-feet sweep kick, knocking Lance off his feet. He swiftly maneuvered around his fallen rival, and getting the ball back, scored the winning goal. He’d never been able to do anything even remotely like that before, but thought it was a fluke so he moved on.
The next day was even weirder though. A boy about his age in almost all black clothing appeared before him asking him to train or something. He had seen what Kevin did and wanted to teach him how to control his “power”. He’d said it was imperative in order to avoid some type of disaster. Kevin began to walk away thinking it was some kind of joke, but after only a few steps, he was tied in a type of white cloth.
The boy appeared in front of him then, his face as hard as stone, the white bandages around his left arm missing. He sent a series of images through Kevin’s mind to try to make him understand, pushing Kevin to his limit. He fell to his knees; his breathing was labored now as he saw those images of fighting and death.
The boy untied him then and agreed to let him think about what he’d seen, but warned him once again about the consequences of his actions. It was obvious that getting Kevin on his side was really important to him.
He knew something that Kevin wanted to find out, but was gone before Kevin could even blink. He was going to think about it, simply because of all the strange things happening, but wasn’t sure what he would even be training for or why. He wasn’t sure about the training, but he did want answers to why he could feel other people’s emotions and feel where they were. Kevin hadn’t seen the boy since then, but could feel his presence as he moved around. The boy felt cold all the time, hiding his emotions so well that he didn’t feel like any other human Kevin had met.
As he ran down the wet streets in the pouring rain to find his sister, Kevin had decided this was something he wanted to learn how to do in order to protect his family. He didn’t know why he changed his mind so easily, or why he suddenly wanted to hone this power, but there was just a feeling inside of him, telling him to do it. Kevin would figure out how to use this new strength in order to make sure nothing ever happened to his family, though wondered if he should have come to this conclusion sooner. His sister could be in trouble and he had no idea what he’d even do at this point or how to protect her, but there was no time for regret now.
Kevin turned one more corner and thought, Good. Only one more block. As he approached the house with his brown hair plastered to his head and his clothes sopping wet, a terrible roar emanated from that house, snaking fear into Kevin’s heart once again. It wasn’t human.
Now he had no choice though; there would be no turning back when his sister was in danger. “Drea!” he screamed over the thunder as he ran up the front porch and tried the door. It was locked. Kevin would have tried the windows, but had little confidence that he could break them after that monster’s roar failed to.
He looked around frantically for another entrance, but there was none. Kevin would have to break the door down if he wanted to get inside. Even with that thought, Kevin had no way or idea of how he would even attempt to break a door down. If he couldn’t get through a window, he had little confidence he could somehow get through the door. His mind was racing frantically, his heart beating rapidly, but he would do it with his sister inside. Maybe I can pick the lock! He thought, but he had nothing on him that he could use.
He didn’t really know where to start, so he would try the classic “close your eyes and focus” technique. Pretty much everybody in those television shows and action novels did this “technique” when they were in trouble and had no idea how to use their abilities. In this case though, he wasn’t seriously confident he had abilities, but if that boy wanted to recruit him, he must be able to do something.
So he did the same as those people, slowing down his breathing and blocking out everything else. The fact remained though that Kevin had no training, and therefore had no idea how to access this energy he supposedly had inside. Nonetheless he held his hand out to the door and focused. He imagined the mechanisms in the door twisting and turning, unlocking themselves, but nothing seemed to be happening.
He wouldn’t give up, but it was hard not to when he seemed so powerless. After a few minutes, Kevin couldn’t wait any longer; he’d have to try harder. As he did, all of a sudden he felt weak. He opened his eyes in surprise as he saw that the door did open. Kevin looked down to see his hand steaming as proof. Amazing, he thought. I opened it with my mind.
He stared down at his hand until a girl’s scream shocked him out of his revere. “Drea!” he yelled, his voice laced with worry. He ran through the doorway into the house filled with shadows and darkness. The door slammed and locked behind him somehow, but he was too worried to even notice it.
It was so quiet in the house, Kevin could’ve heard a pin drop. The only light came from the moonlight shining through the few windows in the front of the house. Kevin ran through the hallways, yelling his sister’s name, trying to see through the impediment of darkness blocking his vision. He ran from room to room, trying to sense where his sister would be.
As he came to the front room, Kevin felt two types of energies: fear and bloodlust. He adjusted his eyes to see his sister sitting near the window, outlined in the moonlight. Her eyes were locked in the shadows, not moving from the spot even as he approached her.
“Drea?” spoke Kevin quietly as he kneeled down beside Drea. She continued to stare at the piercing eyes of the beast, hearing her brother, but not willing to let the beast out of her sight. She needed to know its position; she couldn’t just give it the chance to hide in the shadows once again. That thing was powerful, it was violent, it was inhuman, and its bloodlust was so strong she could feel its intent to kill from across the room.
Drea didn’t even truly understand what had happened to her friend and mother, but it was as if she could feel them. They had a certain aura to them; it was like Drea was able to connect with them and feel the energy coming from them. She had been able to recognize people based on their energy for some time, and when she focused on what she had felt coming from them, Drea knew they hadn’t been eaten or killed or even had run away, but that they became the monster. Somehow they had transformed into that creature, that’s why they “left” before it showed up.
Drea had been sitting in the dining room when they said they’d be back, but then the storm hit and the power went out. She got up and went to the kitchen where she saw this monster. She ran into the living room in an attempt to get away, to get to the door, but she only prevailed in getting stuck in the corner in the living room while the beast watched her from the darkness. She didn’t even know why it wanted to kill her, but it did, and it wasn’t going to stop until she was gone.
“Drea” whispered Kevin, “you ok?” He completely disregarded his own safety when he saw the look on his little sister’s face, but Drea wondered if he even realized the beast was there. He scanned her worriedly as though some piece of her might have gotten hurt. She was perfectly fine.
That’s when it hit her like a load of bricks; the monster wasn’t after her, she was only the bait. It was after Kevin. That’s why it had waited to kill her, leaving her unharmed to lull her brother into this false sense of security. It still waited though, unmoving as Kevin sat next to her.
“Come on Drea” she heard her brother saying, “Let’s get you out of here.” As he got up, trying to pull her up with him, Drea felt a change in the beast’s energy, a change Kevin didn’t seem to notice. It was preparing to attack, it was beginning to pounce towards them, but it was already too late when Drea yelled “Get down!”
There wasn’t enough time for him to move out of the way and save her at the same time. The monster was already moving towards them at an incredible speed; it was only a few more seconds before it would be upon them. Kevin knew that; Drea could see it in his eyes, yet he still didn’t move out of the way.
He positioned himself sturdily in front of her, his arms crossed out in front of him to protect his chest and his sister. It was the only thing that he could do with the little time he had left if he wanted to keep her safe. There wasn’t even enough time for Kevin to focus to try and come up with a plan to save them both with the beast converging on them. He knew what would happen, but still he remained, his resolve unwavering. If he survived by cowardice, abandoning his sister, Kevin would never be able to forgive himself. “Kevin!” screamed Drea as the monster stopped right in front of him.
It slashed at his stomach with its terrible claws. It was as if the world was moving in slow motion as Drea saw her brother fall. He fell slowly, landing on his side. Kevin’s blood stained the floor and the beast’s claws, and as the monster took in the sight of his prey, Drea took in the sight of the monster.
It was a wolf-like creature standing upright like a human, its deep purple fur outlined in the moonlight. It was probably six feet tall or more with hooked claws extending about five inches out of its huge paws. Its eyes were the most terrible part though; they shone red in the darkness, with a black slit running through them like that of a cat’s eye. Somehow this thing used to be her friend, but now it stared at her with cold eyes, almost smiling as the tears streamed down her cheeks.
Drea wanted so badly to go around in front of the monster to see Kevin’s face, to hear his last words, but she couldn’t move; she was paralyzed with fear by this beast. The only thing Drea was capable of was looking at Kevin’s blood drip of its black claws. It looked at her and said in a deep voice, “Pathetic.” Then it turned its attention back to its prey.
It was about to deliver the final blow when a shadow smashed through a window with the clang of broken glass, stopping the wolf’s claws with a foot-long knife. It was a boy who looked to be Kevin’s age, standing at about five foot seven. He had obvious skills with a knife, but Drea felt much more than that in him.
He was cold, almost like the wolf; there wasn’t much feel at all to his energy. He lacked the bloodlust though, taking on a type of neutral feel. It was as if he was used to this kind of occurrence, but Drea could still feel a sense of duty in his heart and his desire to protect. He looked back at her with his powerful green eyes as he saw her crying in fear and pain, her heart practically breaking at this point.
Then he turned his attention back towards the wolf, still struggling to keep the claws at bay. He held the knife with both hands so he wouldn’t get cut, holding the wolf off somehow. He kicked the wolf in the stomach quickly, sending it flying backwards into the shadows. The boy followed it out of sight. Drea could hear the sounds of their fight across the room as she sat staring in their direction, listening to their dance coupled with the clang of metal on claws.
Kevin grunted, trying to move, snapping Drea back to her reality. She crawled around to the other side of him to see his face and hear his voice again. “Kevin.” she whispered, rolling him onto his back. That’s when she saw the cuts deep in his stomach and the blood pooling around them. His flesh was completely torn, and the inside of his stomach probably was too, but all the blood covered it up like a veil of red trying to obscure her vision.
Somewhere deep inside her she knew it was hopeless, but that didn’t stop her from clinging to her brother’s life. She had to do something or he would die, but Drea had never been in a situation like this; she had no inkling of what she would do. Kevin looked up at her, smiling a sad smile as he saw the tears run down her face. Blood trickled out of the corner of his mouth as he did so. Kevin lifted his hand up to Drea and put it on her cheek where she held it for him. He felt cold, his life ebbing out of him with every moment that passed.
“Don’t worry Kevin” she whispered, “I won’t let you die here. I’ll get you home safe.” She continued to cry as he wiped her tears with his thumb. She was about to start ripping her clothing up to try and make some sort of makeshift bandage when he interrupted her.
“No Drea,” he said quietly, “My time is up. These wounds are too deep and you know that.” His voice was raspy, his breathing labored. He used his other hand to reach under his shirt, revealing a golden necklace. It was a beautiful chain with a charm shaped like a tiny shuriken. It was golden with white accents where the blades would be.
He snapped it off his neck and handed it to Drea. It was warm, almost burning under her fingers, but she paid no attention to it as she listened to his final words: “I want you to have this, Drea. Remember me by it. Keep it close to you. When you’re in trouble, hold onto it and help will arrive. I’ll always protect you.” He ended in a whisper as his hand went limp in Drea’s hands. She could practically feel the life leave his body. “Kevin!” she screamed as more tears fell from her face.
Then a terrible roar echoed from the other side of the room. She looked over in a panic; Drea had completely forgotten about the boy and the monster. The roar wasn’t like before though; it was painful this time and felt like it was weakening in intensity.
She saw the beast fall suddenly as its head and torso slipped out of the shadows. It began to dissolve into the darkness, disappearing right before her eyes as if it never existed. The monster was gone. She automatically noticed that the necklace was cooling off; it was no longer burning as it was before, but it was still warm in her hands.
Footsteps then echoed from the shadows. The boy had survived, somehow defeating the wolf. He emerged from the darkness where Drea could finally see what he looked like. He was dressed in a loose black t-shirt with black cargo pants. The rest of his arms were covered in white bandages, but it didn’t look like he was injured in any way.
His short, black hair shone in the moonlight as he walked towards Drea, cleaning and hiding his knife in the folds of his shirt. He kneeled next to Drea and looked over at Kevin. He did look sad, but his demeanor still felt cold. He was as still as a statue until he ruffled his hand through his hair to wipe some of the blood away from his eyes. The monster must’ve hit him in the head or something.
Drea looked at him in disbelief as he sighed what seemed like a sigh of disappointment. He didn’t even shed a tear for her brother. It was like he didn’t even care. Who was this boy to sit around and act like this was normal for him?
He reached out and closed Kevin’s eyes carefully, not looking at Drea as he did so. Blood was still pooling around them, but despite that, Kevin now looked serene, in an almost grotesque sort of way. Drea couldn’t stand to look at him, the color ebbing out of his face, his body becoming still. It was only the boy’s mock concern that let her turn away: “I apologize for not following your brother more closely. If I had kept a better eye on him, I wouldn’t have shown up so late.” He continued to look down at Kevin like he’d failed, like he was the one who should be sad, like all that mattered was the fact that he couldn’t be there in time.
Drea couldn’t take it anymore. Her brother was the one who died and yet he was acting as if it was hurting him! It seemed like he didn’t even care about what had happened, and that he only cared that he had failed in watching over her brother. She could feel no compassion in him, only that gnawing sense of disappointment.
She grabbed him by the front of the shirt and pulled him towards her, anger mixing with sadness dancing on her face. “How can you just sit there like you don’t care?!” Drea yelled as she looked his straight in the eyes. “Does it even matter to you that my brother died? You act like it was your fault and like you’re the one hurting.” She gripped his shirt even tighter. “You don’t care, do you?”
It was dangerously quiet. He continued to stare at her as if neither she nor her brother mattered to him. That only made Drea even angrier, so angry that she took her right hand and punched him right across the face. Hard enough to hurt her knuckles should be hard enough to hurt his face. He swiveled his head back around to face her, his eyes wide with disbelief at what she had just done. “How can you be so cold that death no longer matters to you?” She said as her voice broke with the sadness overtaking her. “You crash in here to defeat that thing and yet you’re just like that monster if you can’t even recognize the value in human life.” She let go of his shirt and set her eyes down upon Kevin once again, the reality of his death sinking in.
The boy still stared at Drea with that surprised look on his face. He could feel her aura because of his training, but he hadn’t expected her to also be able to feel his aura. She was able to feel it so well that she saw things in him that he wasn’t even willing to admit to himself. Somehow she was able to achieve this level of power without any type of training. She was even able to feel his entire being just by being near him, and what she said hit him hard. To be compared to such a monster was unfathomable. Sure, he’d been doing this for a while, but why didn’t he still feel the pain that this girl was feeling? What had he lost? He pondered that as he watched Drea look down at her brother, sadness in her eyes.
“I’m so selfish,” she whispered. “I put my own life before his… I couldn’t even move with that monster here. I couldn’t save him. I couldn’t do anything.” Drea couldn’t even cry anymore; she’d cried so much that her tears were all dried up. Her face felt as though it was contorted permanently in sadness, her expression fixed in pain. She only wished she knew why he’d given up his life for hers.
“He protected you because he would never have been able to forgive himself if you had died. You meant everything to him. You know that don’t you?” He said, making it seem like he’d known Kevin for his whole life. Now it was Drea’s turn to stare at him in disbelief. How had he known that about Kevin? This boy was definitely something special.
He sighed as if contemplating something as he looked down at Kevin one last time before turning to Drea once again. “I’m afraid I can’t let you remember what you’ve seen here tonight. You seem to be like your brother in more ways than you know,” referring indirectly to her ability to sense aura. “It’ll only put you and your family in more danger if you were to remember this.” Now he did seem genuinely sad as he stood up and stared down at her.
At first Drea didn’t understand, but then the full weight of the situation hit her: she wouldn’t be able to remember her brother’s final moments. “You’d really force me to forget what happened here tonight?” Drea said as she stood up, the fear of forgetting creeping into her heart. She may have only been nine, but the height difference between her and him made no difference to her.
“You won’t remember the wolf or myself, but I’ll allow you to keep the memories of your brother, even if it is against the rules,” he said with bits of compassion finally creeping into his heart. It was obvious he didn’t want to break the rules, but he seemed to be resolved to help her after she punched him. “It won’t hurt at all.” The boy got down on one knee so he could look Drea in the eyes. His eyes began to glow purple as he focused in on her thoughts.
All Drea could remember was a white light enveloping her vision. She remembered the feeling of someone invading her thoughts, of someone prying into her secrets and moving in her mind. Whenever she tried to access her memories of that night, the white light always came back. She tried to hang on to them as he wiped them all away.
Slowly she forgot about her friend and her mom, about the wolf, and even about the boy, but just before all her memory was lost in that white light, she asked, “What’s your name?” Her voice echoed as she said it. Drea wanted to know at least the name of her savior, even if she would forget it. This boy was something special, she knew it, but she just didn’t know why. It’s too late, she thought; he must’ve been gone already and her memory along with him. Finally she heard, “Daniel,” just as her mind went completely blank and she lost consciousness.
Drea woke up in her room. She lay on her bed, unsure of where she was. She must’ve stared at the ceiling for an hour before she found the energy to get up; she was feeling weak for some reason.
She got up out of bed and looked around; something seemed like it was missing, but she couldn’t quite remember what it was. Drea thought she’d see Kevin to find out. He’ll know what’s going on, she thought cheerfully as she walked across the hall to his room.
“Hey Kevin…” She stopped right in the middle of her sentence when she saw he wasn’t there. Where did he go? She wondered. Just as she was about to go downstairs to ask her mother, the scattered memories of that night flooded back to her.
She saw her brother fall and bleed, but had no memory of why they were in a strange house and how he had even gotten hurt. Drea fell on her hands and knees as the memories of her brother came back to her painfully. It hurt to remember in the same way it hurt to forget.
After her brother died, she must’ve fainted, and that’s when an ambulance or something had come to get them. Yeah, that’s it. Then why did it feel wrong though? Wouldn’t she be in a hospital if an ambulance had come by? Her memory of his death came in pieces, like someone came in and cut out some parts with a scissors. She did remember him dying though and that hit her the hardest; knowing that she would never see him again made her feel so small and empty inside.
As she sat there on her hands and knees, she remembered one more piece of that night: Kevin had given her the golden shuriken necklace.
Where is it? Drea thought frantically, until she finally noticed something hurting her hand as she squeezed it closed on the floor. She opened it to see that the chain was still in her hand, and she was holding it so tightly that it cut into her palm causing droplets of blood to drift slowly down her hand; it was somehow cool under her fingers even though she had been holding it for so long. Kevin had given it to her before he passed, telling her to keep it close to her so he could always be with her. She began to cry again as she watched the blood dribble out, thinking about the way she remembered it pouring out of Kevin.
All he ever wanted to do was to keep her and Jackie safe, which must’ve been the reason he was gone and she wasn’t, but still she could not remember. She didn’t know what she was even protected from that night, but she knew she couldn’t let what he had done for her be in vain.
Now it was her turn to protect the family and take on the burden that Kevin had carried to his death. Drea would protect everyone now as he had done his entire life; she’d make sure nothing ever happened to them ever again. She could only imagine the amount of pain her little sister and parents felt at Kevin’s death if she felt so terribly about it.
Drea looked at the chain in her hand, feeling the smooth gold in her hands. She wiped her eyes defiantly and held up the chain. As she put it around her neck she made this promise to herself: to protect her family no matter what.
She didn’t remember exactly how Kevin had died, but she knew he did it to protect her and she wouldn’t dare forget that. She’d take on his job; Drea only hoped that she could do it as well as he had done. She only wanted to please him and protect the family he held so dear. She would no longer be afraid, and even without any type of fighting abilities, she would put herself in harm’s way to prevent another situation like this from ever happening again.
She stood up and wiped the last of the tears from her eyes. It was decided. She would no longer be the same Drea that everyone knew; she would be stronger, tougher, and she would become the hero that this family needed. It would be her burden now, and she’d bear it proudly. Drea would live up to her brother’s name. She would protect them no matter what.