Hooked On Comics

This is a great day for comic book fans. My friend Austin is a huge DC Comics fan and he inspired me to write a DC fan fiction story. I never realized how hard comic fan fiction was until I tried writing this story, however, after countless hours (actually, I can count them, it took 3 days) working on this, I think I found an almost perfect balance of comic and novel. My story also takes place in the TV show, Young Justice, universe a few years after season 2. If you haven’t watched the show on Netflix yet and then start studying. If you’re unfamiliar with the super heroes then here you go:

 

 

A New Dawn:

Volt and Ash

            As the fans flooded out of the concert arena towards their cars to either go home or find a party to attend to drink more than they should, one group of college kids had other plans. “Alright, let’s get this show on the road,” rallied Austin. He’s one of those hipsters you wouldn’t know was a hipster until you listened to his Spotify playlist. He sported a red, star wars shirt with black shorts and a pair of red Chuck CONS. His friend in the black and blue sweatshirt, beanie, jeans and grey skater shoes looked more like a hipster. Which he was.

“Can we go get some food before we leave? Let’s go downtown and relax a bit.” Maze had never been to Phoenix before, so he wasn’t eager to leave without exploring a bit.

“Yea, I want food,” Bre chimed in. Every group has to have some feminine influence and she wasn’t quite it. She had the looks of an innocent, Asian woman, but was more of a guy than actual guys some times.

“It’s decided, time to get dinner,” Selene concluded. This strong willed Hispanic on the other hand was definitely a woman to be reckoned with. Bre and Maze cheered as the gang drove downtown.

Downtown Phoenix was hot. Unlike most places in Arizona, Phoenix had many tall buildings, making it much warmer than it should be. The area was full of college kids, drunks, and drunk college kids. Maze noticed one suspicious duo in black hoodies, but took it as a common thing. He was too hungry to care. Austin was watching news on the Justice League’s heroics on the pizzeria’s T.V. He was a total fanboy, especially when it came to the Flash. He idealized all speedsters, really. As the night continued with laughs and mouth stuffing, a commotion erupted across the street that gained the gang’s attention. “Hey, asshole, I’m talking to you!” Some frat guy was yelling at one of the black hoods from earlier. “The drugs you sold me, killed my buddy!” He grabbed one of them by the arm and ripped off their hood. The dealer turned out to be a girl. Her black hair flowed about her face as elegantly as a model. She brushed off the angered frat guy and continued to walk away. The other hood, however, confronted the guy. After he threw off the jacket, he punched the loud mouth so hard that he flew several feet through the crowd. The buffed up black man grew even bigger as people started to run in every and all directions.

The gang, like everyone else, realized they were near a Meta and decided to leave before the situation got worse. Suddenly a whistle was heard in the air and a bunch of goons in red and black gear carrying sonic blasters came out of alleys and manholes. “What the hell is happening,” yelled Selene. She was frantically running past people and masked weirdos while holding on to Austin’s hand.

“We should head back to the car,” Bre announced. Maze and the others were headed to the parking garage down the street when a group of masks surrounded them.

“Well, this is not good,” Maze said, “I’m pretty sure we didn’t pay for our pizzas. We’re gonna die because we dine and dashed.” He chuckled at his own joke. Bre looked at him like he was crazy.

“Really? Really, Maze?” The others had no response because they were too frightened by their situation. The masks were about to shoot when some of them levitated and were flown against a nearby wall while others were hit with electricity or beat up by a guy in jeans and a black superman t-shirt.

“You all need to get out of here now!” Superboy ordered. They nodded their heads and resumed their escape from the now increased chaos. Maze looked back at the destruction and saw Static Shock, Miss Martian, and Gear flying around while Nightwing, Blue Beetle, and Kid Flash were battling it out on the ground. Maze was so interested in what was happening that he ended up tripping over rubble from a damaged building.

“C’mon, bud, we need to get out of here pronto,” Austin said as he helped Maze up. Maze saw the drug dealer girl from earlier running on the other side of the street. She stared at him like he was the strangest thing she’s seen all day. She disappeared down an alley right before a huge explosion shook the ground. Austin and Maze watched the ground crumble before them. They tried to catch up to Bre and Selene, but the ground collapsed beneath them before they could and they both fell into the abyss.

“Oh man, I will never ask to explore this city ever again,” Maze moaned. He woke up to a nauseating stench and aching pains all over his body.

“Where are we and where are my glasses?” Austin asked disoriented. He stumbled over rubble and sewer water until he hit a wall. Maze found his glasses in the river of sludge and wiped it clean before handing it to Austin. With his vision clearer, Austin assessed the situation quite nicely. “Fuck.” He looked to the hole they fell down from and said, “Guess we aren’t going back through there.”

“Nope, we definitely are not. We should go down the tunnel until we find another manhole to climb out of,” Maze proclaimed as he shook the sewer water off of his jacket. Austin swiped pebbles out of his dirty blonde buzz cut when his phone rang.

“Hey, Selene,” he answered. “Yea, we’re both fine. We’re about to find another manhole to climb out of. No, I don’t see any.” Maze just leaned against a grey, bricked wall while he waited for Austin to finish. He checked his phone and found it dead. “Yea, babe, we’ll meet you at the parking garage. Fifth floor, got it. Ok see ya later. Love-” the phone ended the call and turned off. He looked at Maze who was eagerly waiting for a response. “We’re going to meet them at the parking garage.” Maze just nodded. “I hope they’ll get there safely.”

“One of them is a short Asian, lesbian and the other is a Mexican with mace around her neck. I think they’re better off than us,” Maze reassured him.

“Help! Help us!” A voice cried out from down the tunnel. Austin and Maze ran toward the screams. The duo came across a woman trying to lift a huge boulder. She saw the duo approach her and pleaded, “Please, please help me get my husband out from underneath this rock!”

“Of course we’ll help you ma’am,” Austin pronounced without a moment’s hesitation. Maze joined him in trying to lift the stone off of the man’s legs to no avail. They could lift it up, but not enough to get the rock off completely.

“You all need some help?” A twenty-something guy came out of the shadows offering to lend a hand. He had long black hair tied up in a knot and was wearing a black bandana. The effort of the three boys was just enough for the woman to pull her husband out from danger.

“Thank you so much, I am in your debt,” the husband moaned.

“Yes, thank you all for your help,” the wife added.

“No worries, ma’am, it was the least we could do,” Austin smiled.

“Yea, we were just doing what was right,” Maze chimed in. He and Austin continued to head through the sewers to what they hoped was the direction of the parking garage to meet up with the girls while the married couple went a different way. “Hey, where’d the Native American kid go?” Austin shrugged. At some point in that encounter, the stranger had disappeared. Maze was hoping he was alright, but soon had more to worry about.

“It seems I have two new guinea pigs for the boss to play with.” A man dressed in baggy clothes approached from the direction the duo just left. He looked like he just finished taking a nap in a back alley. Austin and Maze looked at each other and started running. The mystery man’s arm drooped to the ground and turned green. He then threw it down the tunnel grabbing Maze’s back.

“What the heck is this?!” Maze freaked. He was being pulled back toward the slime man, who was all too happy with his catch of the day.

“Look at this little piggy. You’ll do well in my master’s experiments,” slimy had the breath of a stray dog.

“Hey, I don’t know what you’ve heard, but I am not free. I need cash up front,” Maze retaliated.

“Don’t worry, bud, I got you,” Austin announced as he grabbed a huge rock and threw it at the assailant’s face. He screamed out, putting his face in his hands. Maze caught up with Austin and they continued running. Austin was clotheslined by the black bouncer from earlier. Maze tried to pick him up, but he was out cold.

“Great,” Maze announced, “Like Mr. Slime Man wasn’t enough, I have to deal with the black Mr. Clean.” He was then tagged with another slime arm and was slammed into the ceiling.

“How do you like that, punk?” The baggy man slammed Maze into the ground and was going to do it again until his partner stopped him.

“Sludge, calm down, they’re still of use to us.”

“Brick, do you always have to ruin my fun?”

“Boss’s orders, you know how he gets when we damage his goods.” Brick picked up Austin, who was still passed out, and Maze and carried them down a secret tunnel entrance behind a fake wall.

The metas traveled down into a room in the tunnels with cages full of handcuffed civilians. The kids were about to be put into a cage when Brick screamed out and let go of the two.

“We’re not late to the party, are we?” Asked Static Shock. He, Gear, and the other heroes from earlier were blocking the entrance to the room. Maze and Austin stumbled over to corner of the room with a few extinguished campfires that the bad guys used when watching over the prisoners.

“Team, free the civilians!” Nightwing was barking orders while fighting off some of the masked men from earlier. Sludge, rushed to a large canister near one of the cages and released a green gas that spread throughout the entire tunnel system. Everyone started to get weak except for the masked guys and Brick and Sludge.

“What is this stuff?” Superboy asked.

“I think it’s some kind of neurotoxin designed to disable our powers,” Gear explained. The heroes tried to continue the fight, but were losing fast. Static tried to blast Brick by absorbing electricity, but the giant man grabbed him and threw him across the room before he could finish.

“Watch out!” Maze shouted as he pushed Austin away from him before Static collided with him. The collision caused Static to discharge the electricity he had been building up and electrocuted himself and Maze. Austin, on the other hand, fell into one of the fire pits and became covered in hot ash. He yelled at the pain, but soon realized that it wore off. He couldn’t feel the soot burning his skin anymore. He figured it was because he was too tired and turned his attention to Maze.

“Hey, bud,” he forced himself to speak, “are you…alright?” Austin’s eyes felt as heavy as elephants, however, he would not let himself pass out without confirmation that his friend was still alive. “Maze…stay with…me.” The gas got to him and knocked him out. One by one the young heroes fell and were surrounded by the metas.

Maze, Austin, and all the heroes were locked up in the cages with the thirty or so civilians. Maze woke up for a short period to listen to his captors talk about their plans for them. “The boss will be here in a few hours to retrieve the test subjects,” announced the bouncer. Him, Eddie, and another man Maze had never seen before were standing at the entrance. He tried to make out what Sludge was saying, but he dozed off again. The only thing he heard was slimy mention “The Chosen.”

As Austin slept, his body started to burn. Smoke was secreting from his body into the air. His hands burnt his cuffs off and started to burn Maze’s hands. In retaliation, Maze’s body sparked with blue electricity. Being shocked with increasing voltages and slowly being cooked caused them both to snap into consciousness. “Hey, why’d you shock me, man?” Austin looked at Maze with disbelief for Maze was now surrounded by electricity. “What happened to you, bud?”

“What are you talking about? What is going on with you?” Maze stared as Austin’s body was shrouded in smoke and embers.  They looked at each other and at themselves and back at each other to only respond with, “whoa.” Austin responded with an elongated,

“Shit. What happened to us?” Austin tossed a ball made of smoke back and forth in his hands. Maze found that they weren’t the only two in the cage. Static Shock, Gear, and Nightwing were also unconscious, except they had strange black collars around their necks. Maze surveyed the room and found the rest of the heroes in other cages with the same collars. It wasn’t until Austin waved for his hand for his friend’s attention that he realized that Austin was the only one not wearing cuffs.

“How’d you get your cuffs off?” Austin just shook his head and said,

“I don’t know.” They found his melted cuffs on the ground, which gave Maze an idea.

“We gotta get free, so we can free the heroes and rescue the civilians,” Maze explained, but Austin was too busy awing at the fact that he was sitting right next to his childhood heroes. Austin always dreamed of meeting the Justice League and their sidekicks. He owned so many comics and watched every news report on their actions. The fact that he didn’t pass out from excitement at that time was amazing. “Hey, focus. We need to get out of here before those metas comeback.” Austin looked back at his friend and replied,

“You do know that we are metas now, too, right?” Maze looked at him like he just asked a stupid question.

“No, that was not to my knowledge,” Maze said sarcastically. “Will you please melt these cuffs off of me?”

“Oh yea, right, sorry,” Austin just chuckled at the remark. “So what’s your plan, bud?”

“My plan is to free Nightwing and the rest and let them come up with a plan to get everyone out.” Maze massaged his wrists and observed the collar on Static’s neck.

“What? That’s all you have?” Austin couldn’t help but laugh.

“Like you got something better.” Maze gave the collar a jolt and nothing happened. He tried again with more power, popping it right off. “Groovy smoothies. While I do this, you melt the lock on the cage.”

“Sure thing.” Austin melted it with ease. Maze tried to wake up Nightwing after he got the collars off while Austin went to the other cages to free everyone else. He had to carefully melt the collars off of the other heroes.

“Who are you and what’s going on?” Nightwing didn’t respond well to Maze’s wake up call. Austin was glad he wasn’t taking the heat and continued the mission. “You have five seconds to answer my questions before I force you to.”

“Well, my friend and I were running away from the bad guys when we fell into the sewers, got captured by the bad guys, you guys tried to save us, green mist went everywhere, made everyone go to sleep, woke up in cages, Austin and I, Austin’s over there,” Maze pointed to one of the cages behind Nightwing and Austin waved at them, “we found out we suddenly had powers, now we’re trying to save everyone before the bad guys come back, and that was more than five seconds.” Nightwing observed the room while taking in Maze’s report. He wasn’t sure who the kids were, but he knew that his first priority was to rescue the civilians.

“Ok, Maze, right? You and your friend are going to help us get all these people to the surface and then we’ll talk more about who you two are.” Nightwing observed the hallway and addressed his comrades. “All right team. We need to find a way out of here and get these people to safety. Kid Flash, run reconnaissance around the area and find a way out. Superboy, use you’re heat vision and tell me where our captors went. Miss Martian, assess the situation on the surface.” Austin and Maze stood and watched as Kid Flash disappeared for less than three seconds and returned with knowledge of a tunnel that lead straight to the surface. Superboy stared at the walls and reported that most of the goons were in one giant room next door. Nightwing thanked Miss Martian even though she never came back and told everyone that backup had arrived. After a moment, Nightwing motioned his head toward the two new metas and the other heroes gave them a once over as if they were two new kids who had joined their class. “Ok team, you know what to do, let’s get out of here.”

Austin and Maze walked near the back of the crowd of frightened citizens. “Was it just me or were those guys communicating silently?” Maze whispered to Austin while looking around at the superheroes who kept glancing at them.

Austin whispered back, “Martians have the ability to psychically link people’s minds in order to hear each other’s thoughts. What do you think they’re gonna do to us after we escape?”

“I have no idea, but I don’t want to stick around to find out. We should just sneak away and find Bre and Selene.”

“Works for me, I’d rather not be interrogated for something we don’t know anything about.” Austin took his phone out of his pocket and found it dead still. He hasn’t heard from Selene in hours and was getting worried.

“You mean how we got these powers, right?” Maze made his fingers spark. “I think it had something to do with that green mist, but I’m not sure what it did to us, specifically.” Maze searched and didn’t see Nightwing, he guessed that he was doing some other mission. The duo were too wrapped up in their own heads to realize that they were traveling through a tunnel with a slow incline. Maze saw a glimpse of movement in the shadows, but didn’t know where it came from. He closed his eyes to try and remember if he saw one of the bad guys from earlier, but what he found was not what he expected. Instead of seeing nothing while his eyes were closed, he could see electric waves coming off everyone around him that resembled sparky silhouettes. There was one figure he saw, that he couldn’t see with his eyes open. He whispered to Austin, “Could you conjure up one of those smoke balls for me?”

“Yea, why?” He formed a small smoke ball in his hands so none of the civilians would see it.

“There’s someone following us, so when I say so, throw that thing in the direction I point to, alright?” His friend nodded in agreement. When the group reached the surface, they found themselves in the middle of an abandoned warehouse. All the civilians walked out onto the downtown area of the city that wasn’t horribly destroyed. As soon as they reached the top, Maze spotted the invisible figure, with his electric waves, about to fire a gun at Gear. “Do it now!” He pointed at the figure and Austin hit him right in the face with smoke. The figure became visible and had gained the attention of all the heroes in the warehouse.

“I got him,” Blue Beetle pronounced as he bound the Meta dressed in all black to the ground with what looked like a large, blue staple. At that moment, screams were heard on the street. The group found a swarm of masked goons terrorizing the area once again and the duo were wrapped up in the heat of a massive showdown.

“We should help them, Maze?” Austin knew that the plan was to run, but had a strong urge to do the right thing. Maze shrugged and said,

“I guess we fight.” He started blasting mask after mask with electricity. Austin blinded numerous guys so that they wouldn’t shoot them both. It worked for a while, however, there were too many masks and the duo kept getting knock down by sonic blasts.

“There’s way too many of these guys!” Austin grabbed a bike chain and started using it as a fiery whip. He got so annoyed and angry that smoke and embers engulfed his body. He was fighting from so many directions that he started turning into smoke and popping up at various places around the battlefield. Maze looked in astonishment and took action.

“Ok then, it’s my turn.” He put his hood on and exploded with electricity. He blasted the sonic guns and made them explode in the bad guys’ faces. He was full of so much electricity, he zipped around like he was on a sugar high. After two minutes of non-stop fighting, the two showed signs of exhaustion. A string of goo would have hit Maze in the back had he not had his eyes closed at the time in order to predict oncoming attacks and jumped out of the way.

“I see my favorite guinea pigs have been affected by our drug. I guess the Meta gas was more effective than we had originally thought,” said Sludge as he walked down the wall of a nearby building.

“Yea and now that we have these abilities, we’re gonna kick your ass for all the crap you guys put us through.” Maze’s hands were wrapped in electricity ready to be fired.

“We can take him no problem,” Austin added as he swung his whip in circles. Maze shot several blasts at the slime man, but he kept stretching his body to dodge the attacks. Austin spread smoke all around him and Maze. Sludge stretched his gooey arms into the smoke cloud, hitting nothing. He got frustrated and jumped in only to find no one there. He was confined by a smoking chain from behind and couldn’t get free. “Now, Maze,” Austin ordered. Maze came out of the smoke and electrified the chain around Sludge. He then lifted the human sack of goo up and slammed him to the ground.

“You’ll regret this you freaks!” Sludge tried to slip out of the chain, but it was no use.

“He’s calling us freaks? Has he looked in a mirror, lately?” Maze then looked at his and Austin’s own clothes, which were torn and covered in stains from the dirt and sewer water, and decided it was still better than the walking booger’s look.

“I have no idea, let’s get going.” They decided they did enough and walked down a dark alleyway. “That was totally badass, bud. How’d you magnetize that guy?” Even though he was tired, Austin was still excited.

“I don’t know, I just thought about it and it happened. How’d you smoke dash before? That was awesome.” The only reason Maze didn’t pass out from exhaustion was because he still had a tiny bit of electricity fueling him.

“I don’t know, I was just trying to not get shot again. We should try calling Selene and find out where she and Bre went. Could you charge up my phone?” Maze stared at him dumbfounded.

“Did you just ask me to charge your phone? Now of all times?” Austin just shrugged as if he knew it was a longshot. “If I had the juice, sure, but I’m out. I probably would’ve had the energy if I wasn’t an asthmatic who just ran for his life for the past few hours, fell into the sewers, was man handled by a creepy conglomeration of goo, and just finished going super nova on a bunch of bad guys.”

Austin laughed and said, “Yea, you’ve got a point. We’ll figure out something when we get to the car, finally.”

The duo ran into a surprise when they reached the parking garage. “Dude, where’s your car?” Maze glared at Austin.

“I don’t know, did someone steal my car?” Austin started to freak out. “Not good, Maze, not good. If the car was stolen then where’d Selene and Bre go? We can’t contact them, we can’t get home without my car, we’re probably gonna be arrested by the Justice League for being persons of interest, and why aren’t you panicking with me?!”

Maze said nonchalantly, “Because you already took that role.”

“What?”

“You just claimed that role, so now I have to be the calm one, if we’re both panicking then we’ll be here forever, now I have to be the calm one to calm you down so we can figure out what to do next,” Maze said rapidly as he was panicking a little. He took a deep breathe. “Where are your car keys, maybe we’re on the wrong floor?” Austin checked his pockets and had an epiphany. Maze didn’t like what that meant. “What? What did you do?”

“I just remembered that Selene has my keys.” Maze glared at him again.

“Why the hell does Selene have your car keys?”

“Because she was going to drive back home.”

“So she and Bre have your car.”

“Yep. And we’re stuck here.”

“This day sucks.”

“Now what?” They both looked at the space where Austin’s car should’ve been.

“I have no idea.”

“Mind if we offer a suggestion?” The duo slowly turned around to find Superman, other members of the Justice League, and the younger heroes surrounding the garage floor. Austin and Maze raised their hands above their heads in unison.

“Nope. I think if you just point us to the nearest bus stop, we’ll be just fine.” Maze was speaking nervously while Austin was too shocked to contribute.

“This kid has jokes,” Green Arrow chuckled.

“We’re going to need you two to come with us for some questioning,” Superman interjected with sincerity.

“Didn’t you guys get our early Christmas present? The family sized Jell-O? Doesn’t he count as a get out of jail free card or something?”

“Sorry, son, that’s not how that works. Now I insist that you come along before we take you in by force.” Superman kept inching his way toward the duo.

“Ok then, we’ll go quietly. Can I ask just one question?” Maze desperately needed this question answered.

“Sure.”

Maze cleared his throat and asked, “Will there be food?”

End of Part 1

 

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Of Monsters and Men

If you like a good horror story then this next story might help with your weird interests. Let these interesting beasts broaden your knowledge on demonic lore.

Unleashed

My eyes started to adjust to the scenery and then the next punch came. Smacked my right cheek. I guess he had his fun because my vision finally adjusted. Wasn’t much to see, though. A grey, dreary cell with heavy duty steel door. I had a comfy cot to the left, all nice and solid like a stone slab with a sheet should be. This is the part of my day where they hang me up on a random ass hook in the middle of the room. “Oh? No snarky remark today?” Don’t worry, Victor, nothing but happy thoughts here. “I think we finally broke the bitch, fellas!” All the goons in the black ops gear laughed. I just stared at Victor with my, “yeah, you’re so funny face.” He thinks he’s so cool with his black dress pants and green dress shirt. He even has the sleeves rolled up. He’s such a dick. I haven’t even gotten to the fact that I am deeply offended by the “bitch” comment. Do I look like a woman to you? I’m shirtless, dude. It’s more than clear I have no boobs protruding from my chest. You’re a bitch. “Stop staring at me with those damn blue eyes you son of a bitch.” There’s the next punch. Darn. He was right on the money with that insult.

My eyes are the only part of my body I can shift while I have these stupid cuffs on. I hate diamond-stone. Once I realized my blood was dripping down my face, I started to laugh. A little more maniacal than I intended, but I got my point across. Scared myself a little to be honest. Mr. Suave got all pissed and went for another punch when the alarm went off. Loud sirens were heard across the entire compound. “The hell is going on!” Victor was not happy now. “All of you guard the hall, I’m taking this prisoner off site.” I could smell my pack coming, shedding blood on the way. My friends aren’t very sneaky. They’re showy, but mostly straight to the point. Just my style.

Victor scurries me down the hallway opposite of the guards. I would’ve asked to put on my shirt, but that asshole torched it days ago along with my favorite jacket. As he was doing it, I told him I’d kill him for that. Make his death so terrifying that he’d have nightmares of me in his next life. We walk down a second hallway when the wall suddenly explodes. Lucky for me, my cuffs brake off. I look at Victor and give him a huge grin. “Will you look at that,” I say as I start to shift, “looks like we get to play one of my favorite games.” My silver fox tail and ears grow out and my body becomes covered in fur. I’m too tired to go all out right now, so I’ll stop there. I let blondie run down the hall. I stare down the hall and chuckle as I announce, “the chase is the best part.” I dash through hallway to hallway, not even at full speed. The soldiers try to shoot me with no avail. I bounce from one wall to another and kick one guy in the face and quickly punch another in the gut. It feels so good to stretch my legs…and arms…and tail.

I knock out more and more guards as I pursue my prey. I stay just far enough behind Vic, so he can see me coming, but thinks that he can outrun me. I know, I’m so cruel, but I am having so much fun and don’t have any fucks to give at the moment. I might have some in stock later. I finally find my way outside and find Victor guarded by ten men aiming their rifles right at me. I’m so flattered and so disappointed that he thought ten guys could stop me. Such a foolish human. I start to walk towards them and before any of them can get a bullet out of the chamber, they’re all shot down by two shadowy figures flipping through the air and landing behind Vic. As I continue to walk toward Vic, my companions walk out of the giant, gated entrance. I see small balls, slowly retreating backwards and smile. I shift completely, growing to seven feet tall, blue wolf fur mixing with the fox. My claws grow out long, thick, and sharp. My face morphs into what many people may refer to as a werewolf. My dark blue eyes stare down Victor so hard that he completely freezes. I skewer him through his chest with my claws. His face in awe. Because I couldn’t care less, I let my instincts take over and I chomp down on the bastard’s neck. All of that because of a shirt and a jacket? That’s what you’re thinking, right? Damn straight. He torched my favorite jacket, which I got from my parents as a Hanukkah present and had worn for seven years. That bitch had to go.

I throw the body to the ground and say, “chimeras can’t be kept in a cage forever,” as I walk out of the gates, slowly shifting back to normal. Except for the blood dripping down my face. I find my friends waiting for me in front of the passageway into a dark forest. Cheyenne is always wearing some kind of combat gear. Black boots, jeans, and a yellow tank top to match her blazing yellow eyes. She tosses me a blue shirt, a pair of Adidas, and a black leather jacket. As I put on my clothes, Charlie announces,

“Let’s get the hell out of here, I’ve got tons of ladies waiting for me to take them out for dinner.” Charlie’s my best friend. Long, curly, black hair, a red, short sleeve hoodie, shorts, and converse was his favorite look. Someone should tell him that the women he fantasizes about will never date him. Oh wait, I have, numerous times. His scarlet eyes gave his joyful persona a bit devious look. I walk past them both.

“We need to get back to the pack, Alpha is waiting,” Cheyenne demands. I wasn’t going back just yet.

“I have a promise to keep,” I say as we walk into the shadows.

 

 

Here’s Part Two

This next story was a challenge for my creative writing class. I had two write a story with these requirements:

Characters: Jewelz and Cyn, married for 1 year, lesbians

Setting: In an alley behind a casino

Conflict: They get in a minor car crash after attending their father’s funeral

POV & Tone: 3rd person & joking tone

Hook: One of them is secretly a spy

I did two versions of this story, but version 1 is better so I’ll give you that.

Secrets and Marriage: Version 1

“Son of a bitch!” Jewelz screamed out. She got out of her car and stared wide-eyed at the dent in her navy blue Ford Focus. A darn shame that a sweet car like that got T-boned while exiting the alley. Like any other Hispanic would, Jewelz started cursing in Spanish. She said something about a jackass and chasing the car if she wasn’t in heels and her favorite black dress. “Can you believe this shit?” Nope. Don’t even know what’s happening. “All I wanted to do was to cut through this alley to get to the reception and this pendejo decides to cross ‘hit and run’ off his bucket list.” While she is about to cut a bitch, Cyn, on the other side of the car, just stands there recollecting her day to this point. Like there is any time for there to be a freakin’ flashback.

This day started out bad enough, Cyn thought as she witnessed her love yelling at the strangers staring at the dented car. It was bad enough we had to attend my father’s funeral, but now this. Sure, the damage to Jewelz’s car is minor, but after the depressing morning we just endured, she has a right to let loose. Hopefully, she won’t realize that her coffee spilled all over her dress. It’s pretty clear that if Jewelz notices, she will either end up arrested because she’ll punch out a bystander or she’ll go into the casino and drink up all of the Heinekens the bar has on hand.

When Jewelz noticed that Cyn had started crying, again, she stopped her ranting and hugged her wife. After one year of marriage she had taken note that her partner was a bit soft and hated conflict. Except sometimes she thought Cyn was a wimp and had to grow some balls. “I know I’ve said this already, but you look stunning in that dress, Cyn.” Cyn looked at her with remorse. Oh no, what did Cyn do? She left the iron on in the house didn’t she? Their house is gone now.

“This is all my fault, babe. My dad, this accident, all of it.” Jewelz just looked at her like she just saw the puppymonkeybaby commercial. “I…I have to tell you something important. I messed up, my cover was blown.” Holy shit, she’s an undercover cop. Cyn wiped away her tears and held her wife’s hands. “Jewelz, I work for the CIA. I’m a spy.”

 

And my third story for the day is a cowboy narrative.

Good Deeds

It was by chance that we rode up on that little town called Ratenny. In the blazing heat of the desert, I took it for a mirage at first. Then Scarlet gone and raced straight for it. I still couldn’t believe mine own eyes until I saw my crew dowsing fresh water down their pie holes. It wasn’t ‘till I had a gulp myself that my vision cleared up. Scarlet’s long red hair was dripping with water after she dumped her head in the water trough a long with the top part of her red blouse. I reckon she woulda thrown off her boots and bathed in the water if our horses weren’t busy drinkin it. I tied Daisy to the post and took a seat on a bench under the shade of this swank hotel by the name of Golden Sun. Unlike the rest of the town with their brown and red and dirty white buildings that looked like they haven’t been cleaned in the last decade or two, this yellow hotel done looked too bright for my own liking. It had also been taller than the other buildings.

Mitchell sat down right next to me and offered me to drink out of his canteen which he had just filled with water. I gulped that sweet and cold and refreshing liquid like every drop was my last. When the people of the town passed us by, they looked at us with strange looks. Like we were aliens or sumthin. But one look at Mitchell’s goldilocks and blue eyes, the women swooned for just a second. He was just one of those guys with that kind of effect on people. “How can Max be out in the sun with that getup? I’m sweatin’ just by lookin at ‘em.” Mitch had a point. Max stood in the heat tending to his horse with his black trench coat on to match his black curly hair and hat. Even if he did have the skin of a native, he must have been sweatin a little.

“Eh. If that moron passes out in the heat, I ain’t gonna be the one to carry him into the shade.” I meant what I said, but I knew that if he did wind up on the ground, I probably would be the one to lug his body into some shade. We all were satisfied with our break from traveling so far without water. I coulda sworn I heard my big sis nagging me during our ride to always travel with more supplies than I’d think I need, so I won’t ever starve in the desert. I never liked it when she was right. Scarlet was walking up to Mitchell and me when she asked, “How long are we gonna stay in this town? Y’ know we only got two days left to find and deliver that treasure.” She stared at us with those narrow, hazel eyes capable of making a wild coyote sit and stay.

“We ain’t gonna be here long I don’t think,” I said, completely unsure of myself, “we just need to get some food and water for the road.” Before Scarlet could say anything else, a woman’s shout caught our attention.

“Help! Somebody, anybody please stop that man from running with my father’s money!” The woman herself was running after a middle aged man with a brown sack in his arms. I dipped my hat over my face a bit and stood in the man’s path. He was about to shove me out of the way, though, I sidestepped and tripped him with my foot. Before he even had a chance to fall to the ground, Max appeared and kicked right in the gut. I almost felt a little sorry for the guy when I saw him lying on the ground hugging his stomach and trying to keep from puking. When the woman ran up to us in her white flower patterned dress and yellow apron, Max handed her the sack the crook was carrying. “Thank you so much gentlemen. You see, this here bag has the money stolen from my father’s saloon. If that bad man had gotten away with this cash, I woulda had to close up for the day.”

“Take better care of your shop next time,” Max replied as he walked away. I had to say something quick to make this already disheartened woman feel good again.

“Don’t worry about him, he’s just a bit cranky cause we have yet to eat. It was our pleasure to help you miss.” She looked up at me with a smile and bowed as she thanked me once again.

Hey, I’m a writer

My name is Eliasaph Anderson, however like Rob Base, I’m internationally known…as Maze. I’m starting this blog to get my writing out into the world and see if my writing is actually, somewhat, enjoyable. This is mostly for fun and because college clearly isn’t taking up my entire life. I would greatly appreciate anyone and everyone to leave comments on my stories and to share them with your friends and family if you enjoy it. Or if you hate my stories then share them with someone you hate, I don’t care. So without further ado…

This first piece is one I did a year ago for a friend’s birthday. It’s like 13 pages so if you don’t like long stories then you should really pick up a book once a year or if you don’t have the time then skip to one of the other stories.

Birthday Wishes: The Case of the Birthday Demon

By: Eliasaph Anderson

 

“Today’s November 22nd and I still have nothing for Lauren’s birthday. I need a really awesome present, but I have no clue what the heck I should get.” I said frustratingly. This was a serious matter. Lauren threw me a birthday party for my birthday and I’m getting her pictures of Tucson. I can do way better than pictures. I don’t even take good pictures. All of those thoughts were rushing through my head.

“How about you get her a book or take Becca’s suggestion and buy her that Ed Sheeran record?” Saturn suggested. Saturn’s a half dragon, half human friend of mine that I’ve known since forever. For 518 years old, she looks like a super model with blonde hair and red highlights. She never leaves my side, which can get kind of annoying. She was sitting on top of my bed as I was pacing through my dorm room. For a dorm, it was pretty spacious. As you enter, there are two beds and desks on opposite sides of the room. Both beds are positioned along the side walls with the desks at the end. The bed immediately in front of the door belonged to my roommate with his desk stationed along the side wall at the foot of the bed and a water tower with a half full water jug on top adjacent to the desk. To the wall on the right side of the room was my bed with my desk at the foot facing my bed instead of the wall. In-between the beds, at the back wall, sat my dresser with my 24 inch T.V. and PS3 on top. I paced in the area in-between the beds along the green carpeted floor.

“Calm down, Maze, you’ll think of something,” Izzy replied. Izzy is the ultimate genius of the group. He’s a spiky, red haired super nerd with a talent for working with machines. “Besides, it’s not like you can just ask her what present you should get her. You did that and she told you to send her pictures and nothing else.” Izzy had a good point, as always, which gave me an idea.

“Prodigious! Izzy once again, you’ve proven that you are a remarkable genius. I can’t ask my Lauren what she wants, again, however, she isn’t the only Lauren I can ask.” I said with such excitement because I did in fact have another Lauren to ask.

“You can’t ask T.Z. Lauren! That’s cheating!” Saturn shouted how much of a bad idea that was. It was kind of cheating, but very much a great idea. “Why isn’t it enough to just get her the pictures? Why must you make everything so extravagant? It’s just unnecessary.”

“It’s necessary because she’s my friend, she gave me my first surprise birthday party, she was there for me last winter break, and she was the first one to make me not hate my birthday for one year. I need to pay her back and make her birthday wonderful. I do the same thing for all of my best friends whether it’s buy a present or take you all out to lunch or just buy a cake.” This was very important to me, but sense I actually didn’t know Lauren as much as I thought at the time, it was hard to get her a present without T.Z. Lauren’s help. Perhaps, I should explain. T.Z. stands for Twilight Zone, ergo, Twilight Zone Lauren is a different version of Lauren. T.Z. Lauren is actually a Lauren from another world similar to Earth, but in another dimension entirely. The gang has been to that world before and are able to go back and forth between that world and Earth whenever we want thanks to Izzy’s portal. It’s a little complicated and I don’t have time to explain everything.

“Ok sure go ahead,” consented Saturn, though, not all that thrilled about it. All three of us left the room and walked over to the women’s plaza down the street. It was around 6pm so not many kids were walking about, especially not around the plaza. It was the perfect place to hide an underground lab with a giant dimensional portal. The plaza was a large circle of connecting gray rock archways with women’s names engraved on the top of each.  In the middle was a spiral made of different colored, shiny rocks. Like really shiny. We stepped in the middle of the spiral while Izzy tapped the ground in a pattern of the How I Met Your Mother theme song and then the area we were standing on lowered underground like an elevator.

Izzy’s lab is amazing, but it’s not just a lab, it’s also one of our bachelor pads. I like to think of it as our teenage and not-so-gloomy bat cave. I call it the Renegade Den also known as the KK Den. Renegade Den because in this world, we’re a group of masked vigilantes called the Renegades. KK Den because to us and the ones who know who we really are, we’re the Keyblade Kids. Yes, both titles were my idea. Getting the whole world to call us the Renegades wasn’t easy but it worked. Our den has a huge flat screen T.V. with all the latest game consoles and a bookshelf with numerous games and movies. Surrounding the T.V. are two red sofas and two black egg shaped gaming chairs. Behind the lounge area was the kitchen, not much has to be said about that, and at the back of the den is the lab with the garage further behind that. The huge, grey, oval shaped dimensional portal was to the left of the lab. You know, that giant ring with a whole bunch of wires sticking out and the small step ladder attached to it, so people can walk through.

It didn’t take long for Izzy to finish preparing the gateway with all the coordinates set. Saturn gave me my sword and pistols and I went through the portal. Twilight Zone Winchester is much different than our Winchester. Instead of a small city it’s a huge city. It’s like New York City without the super busy traffic and it has a giant college called Winchester University. Handley is still the same, except for the fact that the campus is bigger. I came out the portal in the T.Z. Keyblade Kids hideout. This base however has a wall for their weapons and outfits instead of a room. There were also a bunch of decorations and a huge white table full of food. Everyone was preparing for some kind of party. “Hey, cool Maze is here!” Sam shouted across the room. Even in this world the guys still make fun of me. This time it wasn’t me they were making fun of but rather T.Z. me.

“Hi Maze!” Everyone shouted. I mean everyone as in Sam, Andrew, Maze, Jose, Ben, Austin, and Brett.

“What’s going on here guys?” I asked.

“We’re preparing Lauren’s 20th birthday party.” Ben replied. “While we’re preparing Blaire is distracting Lauren by taking her shopping at the mall.”

“Yeah, but they’re almost done and Blaire doesn’t know what else to do to keep Lauren from coming here.” Andrew sounded very concerned by this. No one had any clue how else they were going to stall Lauren.

“Groovy, I just came to get Lauren’s help with something.” At the moment I said that, they all smiled at me.

“Maze, you’re gonna need to distract Lauren for us while we finish,” T.Z. Maze said with a giant smirk on his face. I agreed since I needed to talk to Lauren anyway, so it was a win-win.

“Sure, but I’m going to need your car and license,” I told Maze. He gave me his keys and I transformed and rolled out. Shut up, I’m telling the story. Anyway, I drove Maze’s black and blue ’67 Camaro, Lilith, which is the same as my Camaro back home, to the Apple Blossom mall just to catch Lauren and Blaire leaving the mall. I parked in the lot and waved them over. It was freezing outside, but luckily I wore jeans, sneakers, a t-shirt, and my leather jacket over my spring jacket. Even though I came prepared, I was still cold.

“Hey, Maze!” Shouted Blaire as she ran up and hugged me with a bunch of bags in her hands from her shopping conquest. Lauren greeted me and hugged me next with her hundreds of shopping bags. It was odd that Lauren just hugged me like that, usually when I want a hug I have to ask for it. There are rare moments when Lauren actually hugged without me asking, but this wasn’t my Lauren so the rules were different. “So, why are you here, Maze?”

“I came to get Lauren’s help with a dilemma I was in. If you guys aren’t too busy.” I stared at Blaire with this look saying that I was tagging her out for today and luckily she understood. I’m pretty sure my Blaire wouldn’t.

“Oh no, we just finished shopping and were going to drop these bags off at the lair.” Blaire replied.

“What did you need my help with?” Lauren asked concerned.

“It’s nothing major, I just wanted your help getting your counterpart a present for her 18th birthday.”

“Sure, I’ll help. Do you wanna go now or can I drop these bags off with Blaire first?”

“Oh no it’s ok if you go with Maze and he can drop you off at your house while you help him with whatever he has to do. I’ll just meet you both at the lair and ask the others about dancing.” Good thing Blaire is quick to react or else Lauren would’ve gone to the lair way too early. Blaire was already in her car ready to leave.

“Ok then, I guess we should go look for that present.” With Lauren’s agreement, Blaire left and I helped Lauren stuff her bags in the back of the Camaro. We went to the skating rink because I wanted to have some fun to celebrate Lauren’s 20th birthday. The indoor rolling skating rink wasn’t packed but it was booming with music and lights flashing everywhere and tons of loud people running all around. We sat at the food counter to talk a bit. “So you’re trying to find the perfect present for the other me’s 18th birthday? Why don’t you get her what she asked for?” She looked at me with a questioning glare.

“I am, but I want to get her something better than just pictures of my school. However, I’m stumped on what I should get. I’ve received multiple suggestions but I’m not sure which the best is.”

“Aren’t you cheating by asking me what you should get me?” She laughed as she said it like I was doing something stupid.

“You girls are all the same, you know that? Saturn said the same thing. But, no, it’s not cheating, it’s genius. C’mon, will you please help me?” I had this huge smile on my face and couldn’t help but chuckle at the fact that she thought what I was doing was cheating.

“Yea I’ll help you. However, first, you have to do something for me.” She kept laughing like she had something not so fun in mind. “I want you to help me with a case.” I was shocked. That’s what she wanted, just some detective investigation? I can definitely do that. You see, T.Z. Lauren works at the Winchester police department. Ben and his dad actually are detectives there and takes care of all of the demon related cases. Ben got Lauren to work there as his assistant because of her analytical prowess and the fact that they used to date. Lauren was more interested in helping in the forensics department because it taught her more about being a doctor, but she’s given her own small cases to work once in a while and she loves it.

“Sure thing. I can totally do that. What’s the case?” Now I was excited. Not only do I get help retrieving the perfect gift, but I get to help solve a case and kill some demons.

“This past week, people have randomly turned crazy and have attacked everyone and destroyed everything near them. In some cases, witnesses have reported that the people turned into enormous, black monsters. All that I’ve been able to find out is that this incidents happen between sundown and midnight, the longest event lasted half an hour, and that each person turns back to normal and remembers nothing of their madness, like they were brainwashed. Nothing else makes sense. The times of the incidents are random, these people have nothing in common, and there’s no evidence that says that they were controlled physically or anything.” She suddenly became very serious and I could tell she was really in a rut.

“Yep, this seems like a demon case, but it’s not one I’ve ever dealt with before. This demon must be new and very powerful. Have you asked Ben to help you?” As soon as I asked, I regretted it. Lauren became super mad and then depressed within 2 seconds. I get she was still not over the break-up.

She replied in a much sadder voice, “we were working together at first, but I just couldn’t take it, he’s not the same, too much to deal with.” I didn’t understand, Ben has been my best friend since preschool and he’s always been nothing but a great guy. However, in my world, we separated after preschool and I never saw him again, but in this world, Ben has always been Twilight Zone Maze’s best friend and is also a great guy, but is more silent. As I was told, he and Lauren were great together and he was the happiest guy alive and wasn’t his gloomy silent self. Why they broke up, I have no idea but it was a sore topic at that moment so I did the only thing I could.

“Let’s go skating, dance a little, have some fun.” I put on my skates, grabbed Lauren’s hand, and pulled her over to the rink. I also did the dumbest thing I could, like that’s new. I jumped right onto that wooden floor, flipped back, and fell on my butt. It hurt so freakin much I grunted, “son of a bitch,” though not low enough that Lauren still heard it. She burst into a laugh that lasted so long, I heard the entire song, Centuries by Fall Out Boy, stood up and rubbed my butt until it was comfortable enough to skate around, stared at her with narrowed eyes, and skated one lap around the rink until she finally stopped because she was then on the floor laughing and blabbing about how much her stomach was hurting. I fell on purpose to make her laugh but I wasn’t expecting that. The things I do for my friends, I thought as I rolled my eyes. That day was not the day for me, but then again; what day was?

We skated around for a good 2 hours and ate some chili cheese fries until, an incident occurred. A woman screamed from the other side of the rink, “Help! There’s a monster near the bathroom!” We dashed to the bathrooms to see the monster cornering the screaming woman by the vending machines. I left my weapons in the car so instead I yelled,

“Hey, ugly your mother is a monkey!” The creature slowly turned around and roared at me. It wasn’t until then that I actual observed the demon. It was black, huge, had short hind legs, tall front legs, and its face creeped me out. It had two scary yellow eyes, ears like a bat, and a mouth like a predator from Aliens vs Predator. Demons like these scared the holy bejesus out me. This is why I absolutely hate scary movies, I don’t even want to touch a scary movie because it might transfer this creeper into my dreams. After it roared, Lauren and I ran so fast I thought time slowed down.

“Really!? You call it’s mom a monkey!?” Lauren shouted.

“Monkeys are ferocious little beasts!” I yelled back, but I knew that was not what she meant. We ran back towards the food counter and faced the approaching abomination. Lauren took out some knives from her brown, high heeled boots and threw them at the demon’s eyes. Only one managed to hit, but once it did she then fired her pistol at it which must have come out of her holster under her leather jacket. She shot half a round, but it did no good, the demon kept coming. I needed my sword, though, it was blocking our way to the entrance. I looked at Lauren and gave her an “I’m ready” look and ran towards the demon. Lauren shot at it to distract it as I slid under the giant as it swiped its arm at me. As I was relieved it missed me, I was still scared because now it was chasing me out of the building. It completely destroyed the glass doors.

“Over here you behemoth!” Yelled Lauren as she shot at it. I finally made it to the Camaro and grabbed my sword from the back seat. When I got to the ally Lauren led the demon into, I saw her throwing two glimmering boomerangs at it. They were blue and silver boomerangs that left a trail of snowflakes whenever they were thrown. They were pretty but they were also very deadly because they are so sharp, they could cut skin like it was butter and if hit by them they would also freeze you. She must have pulled them out of those pockets attached to her jeans. I have no idea where she kept all of those weapons on her without people noticing. Though her attacks were actually affecting the beast, it was still slowly charging toward her and she was cornered. I unsheathed my blade and charged at the demon. I climbed up its back and jumped off his head. It was a Marth flip from smash bros., took me a while to master, but super cool when it works. I came falling down facing the demon and slammed the flat side of my sword on top of its head. As I landed on the ground, the demon collapsed and made a huge rumble. As I stood up, Lauren shouted, “Maze, watch out for-,”

“Ouchies!” I shouted. I then realized what the end of that sentence was. “Watch out for the boomerang.” It sliced my left arm and frosted the area. It hurt so much I thought I was having a sickle cell attack. “Really?! You couldn’t have not thrown it as I was attacking the stupid demon?”

“Well, I wasn’t the idiot who jumped on the demon as I was attacking it. You didn’t even warn me.”

“If I did, then that thing wouldn’t have been distracted, would it?” She stared at me with a judging look on her face. “Could you stop thinking I’m an idiot and please fix the wound your killer boomerang gave me?” She pulled out this vial from her boomerang pouch with a crystal like liquid. She poured a little on my scar and the frost melted away along with the pain. After bandaging it she asked,

“What are we going to do with that thing?” After her question, the monster shrunk down back to a human 20 year old guy.

“Well, that answers your question, I guess we take him back to the roller rink.” We picked the guy up and dragged him back inside the rink where a girl had recognized him.

“Oh Chase,” she gasped and ran over to us while we laid him on the floor. “What happened to him?” A question I couldn’t answer clearly, but I tried my best.

“Unfortunately, he drank something from the vending machine that caused him to go out of control. We found him passed out outside. You should call an ambulance quick, to make sure he didn’t hurt himself.” Lucky for me she didn’t ask any other questions and called 911. After her call, it was time to ask her some questions about this Chase guy.

“Do you know if there was any other reason why your boyfriend may have gone crazy? Just in case it wasn’t the soda from the vending machine.” She looked at me when she said the last part. Like she had a better lie to tell.

Now the lady was starting to cry, “No I don’t. We just came to celebrate his birthday and he went to the bathroom for a little bit. I realized he was taking a while in there and his cake was ready, so I went to check on him and then the monster came out and started attacking me.” She was down in tears now, still scared of her monstrous boyfriend attacking her. “I thought that monster had done something to Chase, but when some people went in to check, he wasn’t in there.”

“It’s alright now, the monster is gone and your boyfriend is safe and sound. There is nothing to worry about.” Lauren quickly consoled the woman and we went to the car to sort out our situation. “Well, that wasn’t very helpful, this incident happened exactly like all the others, we having nothing to go on.” She was super bummed. Though she still missed the most important clue. I drove to the precinct and dragged her to her desk to view the case files. “Why are we here?” She was so not on her game that I was becoming irritated and blunt Maze was about to burst, but I remained patient.

“I think we need to look at these files again, who knows maybe something’s missing.” I smile as I sort the victim files in a way that you could clearly see the shared birthdays. It took a while but she finally found it.

“Oh look! These victims all had these incidents on their birthdays! I can’t believe you didn’t see that!” She slapped my arm playfully because she was excited. I was about to blow it when I remembered that she was going through some things and it was her birthday so I let it go.

“Jeez, for being a young detective best known for her analyzing and observation skills, I can’t believe you didn’t see it before, but you’re amazing.” I put just enough sarcasm in there that she didn’t notice. Just after that moment a lady made an announcement on Lauren’s police radio.

“There is a 217 at the Fairaday Apartments on Cork and Cameron. Wife going rogue at birthday party.” And that was our cue to drive over to the apartments. By the way, a 217 is police scanner code for an assault with intent to murder. Just as we rolled up, a huge black figure burst through an eighth story window falling toward my car. I screamed out,

“Not the car, not the car, please not my car!” And thankfully it didn’t land on Lilith, but the car next to it. This demon was basically, a black praying mantis with bigger and sharper claws. The demon quickly ran down the street while attempting to slice at anyone whom had been running out of its way. Lauren looked at me and asked,

“‘Not my car?’ That thing could’ve hurt innocent civilians and you ask it to not hurt your car?”

“What? Lilith is very important to me and I do not want her getting hurt. Is that so wrong?”

“There is something extremely wrong with you. I think you’re insane.”

I laughed, “Like no one has ever told me that.”

“Let’s just capture this monster and hopefully find out what is causing this mayhem.” Lauren started running down the street when I suddenly got this strange, dark vibe. It was coming from the apartment rooftops, however, when I looked up there was nothing.

“You go ahead, I’ll catch up!” Lauren just kept running so I assumed she heard me and hurried to the roof. I found a figure standing at the edge of the hotel where Lauren was fighting the mantis demon. I found it odd they didn’t get that far, but wever. Anyway, I pulled out my sword and got the figure’s attention, “Don’t worry, just stand right there and I’ll end it quickly.” The figure turned around and it surprised me to find that it was Ben in a black cloak, a red and black jacket, black jeans, and red and black sneakers. “Seriously? You’re like a red Nightwing spying on Batgirl because you don’t think she can handle herself.” For those who clearly don’t pay attention when I educate you in comic book trivia, Nightwing is the older Dick Grayson who dated Barbara Gordon, who became Batgirl and when she did, Dick became crazy protective and was against her becoming a superhero.

“I had to. She might not have wanted me working with her, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have her back whenever she gets in trouble.” I knew he was hurting inside even though he was trying to seem like he was alright.

“You’re still depressed about the breakup, she didn’t want you on the case, so you’re helping her behind the scenes so she cracks the case and feels good about herself, while you make sure she doesn’t get hurt. C’mon, Ben, I’m not that much of an idiot, get your head out of your ass and help your ex fight that demon.” Just as he was about to reply,

“Or you can both die right here,” said a creepy voice that sounded like there was a sub-voice also talking at the same time. That terrible vibe immediately came back and it was coming from an ugly, black lion-man demon with a silver mane. Okay, that demon wasn’t very ugly, it actually looked freakin sweet. Ben ran up to me and said,

“If you’re the demon causing all of these incidents then I can’t wait to kick your ass.” I looked at him and back at the demon and just went with it.

“Yea what he said,” I said as I readied my blade.

Lion guy just laughed and said, “Unfortunately, I’m not done hunting for my prey yet, so I’ll leave you two with my colleagues.” Then twelve regular mutated zombie men demons appeared around us and silver lion jumped off the roof. I slashed and hacked at the small fry while Ben just put six bullets through six demons in one second.

“Well, that was easy. Nice shooting Quick Draw.” Ben put his pistols back in their holsters and hi fived me.

“You continue helping Lauren and I’ll track down that demon.” He ran off the roof before I could even say anything. I got a phone call from Lauren telling me to meet her at the Camaro.

“Where did you go?” She asked as she was leaning against Lilith, arms folded, and a mix of anger and a tiny bit of concern. I felt more scared of her than the lion demon.

“I found the demon causing all this on top of the roof, but it got away. How was your demon chase?”

“You found it?! And it was easy, I froze it and it turned back into a normal woman soon after.”

“Groovy smoothies. Anyway, yea I did.” I told her about everything that transpired on the roof, except I left Ben completely out of the story. Better not to mention that he had been secretly watching hear. Once I thought about it, I realized that was kinda stalker-ish. It was going on 7 p.m. and we were lost. We couldn’t do anything until another incident occurred, so I proposed a new plan. “How about we wait until the demon comes for you and then we’ll kill it?” She didn’t take it well,

“I should shoot you,” she said. I laughed nervously. Of course she would say that, most girls get angry when I use them as bait. How many times have I done it? Many. Some girls know they’re bait, others do not, the ones that don’t usually slap me if they do find out. Either way, no girl likes the idea of being bait for dangerous monsters.

“I understand that, however, this thing is going after birthday guys and girls and you’re most likely next on the list, so when lion guy comes after you, we kill that birthday disaster. Sound good?” She stared at me, sighed, and finally said,

“No, that is a terrible idea, but it is the only one we have so fine.” With that, we went back to the lair and surprised Lauren with her party. She was super excited. Everyone was there and dressed in suites and dresses. Somehow Ben made it there before us and dressed as well. Lauren left to suit up in one of her new dresses.

The party was amazing. The disco lights, yellow and blue balloons, a Squirtle cake, songs by Ed Sheeran and The Supremes, and lots of food. I was scarfing down some chicken nuggets when Lauren walked back into the room wearing a red and silver spiral cocktail dress with her silver high heeled shoes. Her shiny light brown hair flowing in the air, her brown eyes sparkling like diamonds. I almost stopped chewing my food the moment I laid eyes on her.

“You get a good look there, buddy?” Asked Ben as he patted my back. I almost choked when he did it.

“Me? Yea I’m peachy keen. I’m sorry for staring, I’m just an idiot.” He laughed. I was actually worried he would be kind of angry, instead he laughed.

“It’s cool bro, I don’t blame you.”

“Groovy.” Lauren came over and asked what we were talking about and we just laughed. She didn’t understand, but she didn’t need to. We all chatted, shared some drinks, ate, danced, and joined in Andrew’s terrible singing of numerous songs. We had a blast. Once it started getting really late, I knew it was time for a chat. I pulled Lauren aside and asked her, “Have you figured out what I should get for my Lauren?”

“I’ve thought about it and yes, I have the perfect present.”

“And…….” I waited for her answer.

“Honesty.” I looked at her like she wasn’t making sense because well,

“You’re not making any sense. What now?”

“Honesty. Be truthful with Lauren. Be a true friend to her.” I was still confused.

“I’ll say it again. What now?”

“Be a true friend, Maze. You’re still not very close to Lauren because you’re scared.” I was scared now, I didn’t know where she was going with that. “You wonder why you’re not as close of a friend to Lauren as you are everyone else because you don’t want to be. You don’t share all your feelings with her, you refuse to let her know everything about you and your life, and you just use her to dump your problems on so you feel better.” As I listened to her rant, I grasped that she was right. When I first met Lauren, she was just this awesome comic book loving girl who I barely knew and liked chatting with. As I continued to hang out with her, I told her secrets I never told my closest friends. Meanwhile, we rarely hung out. We talked every once in a while and went to the movies every four months or so. I was in a dark place when I was with Lauren, but after I became happier, I hung out with her less. I truly wasn’t a good friend to Lauren. Just like everything else, I was too scared to get close to someone. Let them know the real me. “For her gift, be a real friend to not just her, but everyone. Stop being so distant and stupid and let go of yourself. Of your past, your fears, your doubts, and be with your true friends. That’s the present you should give.” I just stood there, astonished. I’ve been in college for only a semester at that time and I was lonely. I missed all of my friends back home while I was off on a crazy adventure looking for one. I learned that semester, that my friends and family in that quiet little town were all I needed in the world for me to feel like I was at my perfect home.

“Saturn has to stop talking to you, you know that?” She stared at me while Longest Time by Billy Joel played in my head. “But, you’re right, like always. I know what I need to do.” At that time, my bad vibe erupted as Lauren almost passed out. We knew that lion head was nearby and it was time to go hunting. We drove out to the Winchester University Gym and prepared for the demon to show.

“Nice for you to trap yourselves for me. It makes it easier to capture my prey,” silver lion said in that creepy 2 person voice. A swarm of zombie looking demons surrounded us with the big cheese watching from afar. Lauren and I looked at each other and nodded. We charged in and kicked demon butt with no weapons. They were easy, why not have fun? Anyway, I punched a few in the gut and roundhouse kicked some others. Lauren just flipped all over the place, kicking skulls one after another. After a bit it got tiring, so I shot at a bunch with my guns and Lauren sliced the heads off the rest with her boomerangs.

“Give it up, birthday demon, you’re next,” said Lauren with total seriousness. I understood why. It was 11:30 p.m. meaning that we only had an hour left to finally kill that son of a bitch. The lion-man just laughed.

“You have it all wrong, you are next.” He paused and as he transformed to an uglier form of himself with four arms wielding swords and a huge split mouth with drool seeping out, he added, “On the menu tonight. You see I’ve been turning humans into demons to rebuild our army while also searching for the perfect human to eat. And you little runt will taste quite delicious.” He said all of that as he slowly inched toward us.

“She’s small, but not that small,” I added, I wasn’t sure what else to say, I had no insults at the time. Lauren just looked at me with displeasure.

“Why on people’s birthdays? Why only during their birthday?” She was thinking of a plan I’m sure. Either that or she was just curious.

“Because birthdays are when extreme emotions come out. Whether of joy or sadness or anger, those emotions make it easier to create demons and make human flesh taste very delicious.” His explanation just creeped me out even more. So much that I just wanted to hurry up and kill him, so I didn’t have to look at his ugly face anymore. It was like looking at a mangled puppy or Andrew’s face. Actually, Andrew’s face was worse. Out of nowhere, Lauren collapsed. Darkness was jutting right out of her body and as she rose, her hair turned black, a purple and black scythe appeared in her hand and her eyes turned yellow. Unfortunately, she just turned into a demon. A powerful one at that. I was greatly confused because the somewhat lion demon attacked her although she was a demon. I guess she changed because of the lion’s power of turning birthday people into demons, meanwhile, Lauren was different because she was a little in control of her demon self. She not only tried to kill the birthday demon, but me as well.

I had my sword drawn and blocked all of Lauren’s swings of her scythe as I attacked the demon as well. It was a battle royal throughout the gym. After a while of dodging and striking at the demon, it was able to knock demon Lauren to the ground, too tired to get up. I then faced the four sword wielding demon myself. It was hard. I jumped and dodge rolled around it, but there was no shaking that thing. I was immobilized with blocking two of its swords’ attacks. Lion face was about to end me when I saw a scythe cut the demon’s head clean off and the body dissipated into black smoke. From the smoke, Lauren walked my way, looking for another kill. I readied myself to keep fighting when all the darkness inside Lauren also dissipated, reverting her back to normal. “Whew, that was a hell of a lot of fun. And weird at the same time.” I made a questioning look at what she just said.

“You try to kill me and say that was fun? And you said I was crazy.” She just laughed. There wasn’t much left to say after that I guess, so I laughed as well. I walked over to her, fist bumped her, and said, “Well, we did it with 1 minute to spare, but this case is officially closed.” We got our things and went back to enjoying the rest of Lauren’s birthday party. And that everyone is how Lauren and I spent her 20th birthday and how I found the perfect gift for Lauren’s 18th birthday.

“So you did what T.Z. Lauren told you and just became a better friend?” Ariella asked.

“And just gave Aunt Lauren the pictures she asked for?” Klaus chimed in. Sam, Jose, and Andrew didn’t say anything, but were also curious.

“Have you been paying attention at all? For 11 year old kids, you two are dumb,” I said with a chuckle. “Of course not. For Lauren’s birthday I gave her those pictures and an honorary Renegades jacket and access to our lair along with telling her the secret about the gang being the Renegades and all the adventures we’ve been on. Now that’s a birthday present.”

“Dad, you told us that long story with all of that random heartfelt stuff, just to tell us about your adventure getting a birthday present? You are crazy.” Ariella wasn’t a huge fan of the story, but I liked it. It was one of the good ones. Unfortunately, everyone else except for Sam agreed.

“What? You two wanted a bedtime story so you got one. Now, be good kids and go to sleep. And don’t you even think about firing your pistols at the wall.” They both moaned and went off to bed. As they did so, I stared at the picture of the Twilight Zone gang and myself at Lauren’s birthday party and continued to reminisce.