CHAPTER 1 -- THE BREWERY BEAST

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PROLOGUE


Is there a purgatory? One could argue that our Earth is that place already. A world of suffering with a bit of Heaven sprinkled about? Such as relentless, biting, mosquitoes on a hot, cicada-singing, ice-water, summer day. I mean, bad things happen, at times, in our world of both horrors and wonders. Bad things like a larger student shoving a smaller one forcefully into a pale, sun-dappled, wall. The air around them is warm. It is springtime, well before the months of the cicada song, but most flowers have not yet awakened.

"Give me the money, ya worm. Your grandma'll give ya more," barks the larger boy. A few strands of his short dark hair fall over his wild eyes. The two students are partially hidden among bushes. They are azalea bushes without their freckled magenta blooms. It's the early warm days of spring after all.

"The money is due today!" protests the smaller boy shrinking to hide his eyes behind his blond hair. The attacker slams his palm into the chalky paint by his victim's ear. He smiles as his prey flinches. Some humans can be so cruel.


#


They are not human, not quite. Nearby two lovely humanoid girls walk intently in the same campus under the same pine forest the boys are under. It's like a one-story village of shingled roofs and forest-green trim nearly hidden in a forest; a virtual elfin village. Disguised in this school's khaki and navy-blue uniforms, the girls pass actual humans, students chattering in the dappled sunlight. When near the natives, the two young, not-so-human, ladies speak in hushed tones.

"The Tellurians leak a bright red," whispers one. Her bob do exposes her long, graceful, neck. She uncovers a little ear, moving her satin, jet, hair behind it. Two bits of pewter metal clink there in her hair. Her companion replies with a distracted tone.

"What?"She has the same type of jet, silky, hair. But, hers is long and parted down the middle framing her face like the half-folded wings of a satin raven. The short-haired girl sighs.

"I was recalling that big, spiky, monster-bird we had battled." Her long-haired friend nods.

"Yes, in a world of meanies, there is bound to be a drop of red.


#


"Red! You're making me see red and I'm gonna make you leak red?" says the larger boy. The argument in the azalea bushes is escalating."The money, now!"

"I can't, Nate," says the smaller lad.

"Maybe you need some convincing," He rears his fist back.

Jack, the smaller boy, shuts his eyes tightly, bracing. 'Why!' he thinks.'Why do I have to hurt? Why do I have to lose the money? Why does no one help me? Why am I cursed with this jerk, Nathan?'


#


"Why, Why, Why!" the long-haired girl whimpers to her companion. "I hate this missing-puzzle-piece world! I know now why Unclesays 'Why' is a word he uses every day," she says; briefly scratching her scalp irritably. The bobbed-hair girl rolls a coin over her knuckles.

"Yes, Uncle did say that. Yet, I think he was speaking of his fellow Tellurians, especially the younger ones," she says while giving a very brief, strained, smile to some passing youths. The long-haired girl shoots her a glance.

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