Chapter Twenty-One

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This chapter is a bit longer than usual, so I decided to add my note on the top as a warning. Happy reading! 

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THE TALL GIRL who'd glared at me in the cafeteria strode inside with a moaning, lethargic boy, his arm thrown over her shoulders for support. He was pale, like someone blew chalk powder over his contorted face. They left a trail of blood on the floor. I led them to the kitchen, the girl demanding for something to sit on. A roasted scent wafted in the air as they passed by.

I pulled out a recliner chair so he could almost lie down. She dropped him heavily, panting.

"What's going on?" I asked, wondering if I should call an ambulance.

"I need scissors," the girl said.

I swallowed a retort and found a pair tucked into a drawer, then handed it over. She seized the guy's shirt and cut it up from bottom to top as I watched, uneasy. When she opened the fabric, I wanted to gag. There was a hole in the boy's chest. A black, charred hole sluiced with dark blood and veins popping out like chords. The skin around it was burnt, and I could see damaged tissue.

"I'm going to need a towel, too," she added, looking over at me for the first time.

I ran to the nearest bathroom, running back to give one to her. She balled it and pressed it onto the 'hole', wicking the blood. I wanted to scream for answers, but kept my mouth sewed shut. She reached over to the boy's face and tapped his cheek.

"Stay with me, Ben. Don't close your eyes." The girl turned to me once more, lips pressed with contempt, as if wishing she didn't have to speak to me. "Take out everything in your fridge that has sugar in it. Ice cream, chocolate, fruit, you name it. Take it all out and call Luc, tell him he better get his pretty rear down here."

Gritting my teeth, I executed her orders, sneaking a glimpse at Ben every now and then. He looked like he'd pass out any second. He moaned awful sounds of pain whenever his companion changed the spot on the towel, making my stomach queasy. She tried to force some food down his throat, which I found ridiculous.

Luc showed up in five short minutes and swooshed alongside Ben in a blur. He exchanged a brief look with the girl as she stepped back. A second later, he started the healing process again. He placed his palms on the agonizing boy's shoulders and closed his eyes. The light emanated from his hands, slow and peaceful, flowing down Ben's chest, glowing underneath his skin. The sight was beautiful to watch. It lit up my entire kitchen ceiling with a soft white hue.

I stood witness behind the counter, feeling like I was too much and that I shouldn't be here. When it was over, Ben's head flopped and he grunted unintelligible words. The gaping space had been closed, with only a sunken patch of skin to demonstrate there had been some kind of trauma. Luc raised his gaze.

"Devin, what happened?"

"We spread out," the girl said. "I took one side and he took another to cover more ground. Then I saw lights in the distance and heard screaming, so I headed over to see what Ben was doing."

"And?" urged Luc. "How did he get like this?"

"It was an ambush," groaned Ben. "I heard shouts. I found a dead body, then one of those parasites lurking, then two, then three, then... I was cornered, and together they make one hell of a light beam--singed right through me."

I stepped forward, my breath stalling. "You found a body?"

All three heads turned to me in sync as if I had no right to talk or like I'd appeared out of nowhere.

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