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   Chapter 30 Buyin' Time

Blog of a Teenage Superhero By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 7292

Updated: 2017-12-05 19:05

Finn wriggles against Max“s crushing hold. He thinks of Monet and of how helpless he felt in her an inescapable embrace, how she could“ve snapped his neck and spine with a quick squeeze. How awful, to know so viscerally that your fate is in the hands of another. Even if she loves you, and Max, Finn knows, does not love him.

He offers the boy a pet on the head, dragging his fingers through the flaxen brown hair with a few quick scratches. Max is bawling, his sobs like muted screams, his fingertips digging dents into Finn“s bony shoulders. But Finn feels no sympathy because when he shuts his eyes, all he can see in heart-clenching clarity is Kai“s face, the terror burning in his round black eyes. The way the boy held on to him when the henchmen yanked Finn from the car. How Finn“s fingers just brushed the tip of his chin and how he wanted to tell him much the boy meant to him...what he felt...

Max pulls away, slowly, eying Finn with the villain“s usual calculating cold that once pierced through the gray contacts and made him look dead behind his mask. In the reflected light of his tears, his eyes look black. And Finn, though blood is dripping from the corner of his mouth and his vision is swimming, can piece together through the pain and fog that it means something bad. Something sickeningly wrong. He coils his knee to his chest and kicks Max once in the stern. In the next second, he drags the heel down the armor, slams it right below the leather belt buckle where the tread finds easy purchase.

The villain gives a high-pitched squeal of a yelp and recoils against the cabinets in a ball, gasping for breath. Finn only plays him a quick glance; there is no such thing as fighting dirty in a struggle against the kid who killed your best friend. Above the sink, he squints and finds the dirty square of glass that marks a window. Rain pings off the plastic frame, a hardly audible plink of drizzle now the clouds have begun to clear. He holds his wrists to his face, the cheekbone scabbed over from a scrape that had come from having his head shoved into crushed stone.

Panting, he crouches low on his knees and springs on to the steel si

deranged boy and of his body. "You“re just putting it off..."

"Why do you want to die?" Max“s eyes are wild. He seizes Finn by his fragile neck and slams him up against the pantry doors. Finn hangs, limp, his eyes watery and his expression vulnerable. He looks hurt. “I miss him,“ he thinks, “I miss him.“

Feet away, grass crunches as it hits the floor. Max hears it a fraction of a second before the sputter of an engine and the crunch of sheet-metal. He opens his mouth to tell Finn how lucky he is, but the fear washes over him, an icy trickle through the hot, sweaty cushion of his costume. He pulls Finn of the door, harsh light bathing the kitchen in a sickly white glow. The boy kicks and cries and Max drops him. All the villain can feel all at once the pain churning through him, layers of it, the strangle cry of grief in the back of his throat.

"Let“s go, Masquerade."

His heart beats double time. The low, gravelly voice. The once familiar warmth. "Monet—"

Farther, from the living room: "Now!"

"Where“s Finn?" asks a shaking boy“s voice. Finn can“t believe it, can“t breathe. And then his eyes fill up and spill over with tears. Not of fear, not of grief, but of joy: pure and undiluted. He laughs. "I“m here!" he cries, lying prostrate on the floor. "In here...Kai...I“m..." He feels the cool brush of Max“s cape before glancing Monet“s scuffed sneakers.

"Finn!" she squeals.

And Finn, in his happy delirium, passes out.

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