Chapter 11: Cloven

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"Let her go, Damian!" I shouted as I got to the crest of the bridge.

We were facing each other so high above the river I could have sworn there was a mile of air under us. I could see everything from this point of view, with the wind whipping against my face and the air numbingly cold.

My aunt and uncle had come up here once for a date. I'd never been here. Standing on the sidewalk of the bridge, I felt closer to my death than ever. On the one side, metal beasts roared past. On the other, a drop into nothingness, a drop into death. Either way I turned, there was one slip between me and the Grim Reaper.

"Why?" he asked with a sneer. All pretense of politeness was gone. "She came with me! She chose me!"

"Ayva." I reached out a hand to her. "Come back home. Everyone's so worried."

"We will go back," she said, staring out over the railing at the river so far below. It might as well have been an ocean. "But first we have to look around. Then I'll go get my Wii."

Damian put a hand on her back and I gasped. He pushed her and then pushed with both hands and soon she was flying over the edge of the railing towards her death.

Ignoring my wild imagination, I blinked, erasing the image. The hand was still there on her back, and she was fine. She was smiling.

"Come back now," said Damian. He moved the hand to her shoulder and pulled her back. "We have to stay away from the edge. Don't want to... tipsy over."

"But if you're near the edge, you can see better," she said and tried to pull away from his hand.

I had another image of him throwing her backwards into the rushing traffic and her body being crushed, contorted, and thrown up into the air. I shook my head violently, erasing the image.

"Something wrong?" asked Damian, grinning. Ayva was back at the edge.

"Why are you doing this?" I asked. "Why are you tormenting me? I want to forget about you! I want everything to be normal. Everything can be-"

He raised a hand. "This is no time for preaching. I can barely hear what you say, anyways. All this wind." He motioned his arms around. "Pretty wild today. Makes you almost just... slip right over the edge."

I stared at him with hatred clear on my face. My blood was on fire, and every bit of me wanted to attack the beast. In that moment, I forgot who it was standing across from me. In that moment, there was only Damian, not Abigail and not Xavier.

"Come on." He shrugged his shoulders. "Push me over."


"Why not?" He grinned. "Scared your girlfriend won't like you anymore? Or... or maybe you're scared she won't even..." -he let out a fake gasp- "see you? Ever! Just... washed away. By life, of course. Not the ocean. Your girlfriend-"

"Are you talking about Abigail?" asked Ayva suddenly. She looked up at Damian. "The girl you told me about?"

He glared at her. "Shut. Up."

"But you haven't told Caleb, yet," Abigail said. "He deserves to know, too. I almost told him about it last night but decided not to."

"I know about Abigail," I said through clenched teeth without looking at her. "But why do you?"

"Damian taught me about her. And about Xavier, too." Ayva threw her head back and giggled as she watched the clouds; her hair swirled all around her face. "Damian teaches me about everything. I know even more than you now. I know secrets. Things you can only dream of. He's been teaching me for so long."

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