Justin Rutherford: Two Minutes to Midnight

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"He's cold," Logan told Annabeth as he held Justin in his arms. He felt Justin's forehead with the back of his hand, his face turning grey. There was no movement from Justin – no eyelids flickering, no chest moving. He was gripped in a sleeping death. He looked peaceful, serene.

"Don't worry. He still has half an hour until midnight. He can do this," Annabeth said in reassurance. She paced back and forth around the Cornerstone of the Dead, keeping an eye out in all possible directions.

"Everything okay?" Logan asked her.

"Just making sure we don't get any undead surprises," she answered. "With the Blood Moon curse coming, I'm worried that we will be surrounded by zombies before Justin wakes up. He needs to return to the Cornerstone so it's not like we can run and leave his body here."

Logan nodded. He had never felt so useless, cradling the lifeless boy. "Do you want to talk about something else? Keep our mind off it?"

"Sure," Annabeth said gladly. "What did you have in mind?"

"Do you have any family?"

"I have a mother, father. I don't see them that much. Not very close with them, not since I moved into my own place. Not very accepting of Katherine either. It appears ninety-nine percent of the population in Lakefield View have a problem against gay people."

Logan grunted in agreeance. "Tell me about it, though fortunately my family were more understanding. My older sister especially. She's always been there for me."

"Tell me more about her," Annabeth said, hoping to facilitate the conversation. It was definitely keeping her mind off their current dilemmas.

"Well, her name is Alessandra. She's my only sister, four years older than me. She works in an office, so she has a pretty boring job, but she's always up for an adventure."

"Do you think she'd be up for what we've been through today?"

"Probably not," Logan said. "But I would like her to meet Justin. I think they'd get on so well."

As he looked at Justin, still sleeping, he saw a mark appear on the left side of his forehead. It began to bleed as the mark continued further down his face, ending just below his cheekbone.

"Justin?!" Logan shouted, moving his position to get a closer look. Justin wasn't responding, and still lay there, despite the painful wound that materialised on his face. "Annabeth, I need a cloth, or something!"

Annabeth looked around hopelessly, knowing she had nothing on her that could have helped. She watched as the blood rolled down the side of Justin's face, staining his white shirt.

Knowing they didn't have much, Logan tore off his shirt and pressed it against Justin's wound.

"What the hell is going on over there?" He asked.

In the spirit world, Justin lay crushed against the ground. The Ripper's massive talon wrapped around his neck, keeping him pressed down firmly, while its other talon made the mark on his face.

Justin struggled and gripped the beastly arm that choked him. He kicked and pounded against the Ripper, but it didn't help. The Ripper stood over him, menacing, thirsty for the blood that trickled down his face.

It leaned forwards and licked it. Justin tried to turn away but he couldn't move his head. His breaths were becoming short and frantic. His face turned red.

The slow process of dying had a resonating effect on Justin's soul; his soul that fought to remain as much alive in the spirit world as possible. Realising that he was essentially a ghost, and his corporeal essence made him a solid being, he tried to channel every emotion he had to change it.

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