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   Chapter 7 Morning, Sunshine

Stolen Souls (boy x boy) By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 12135

Updated: 2018-01-22 19:02


My dreams are as long as they are twisted. In one, I'm running down a street flooded with blood while the Crawford Grace lacrosse team chase me, scythes in hand instead of sticks. In another, a group of teens covered in 'Syndicate' tattoos throw me in a dog crate and stab through the bars with a stake.

"Shiro?"

The sound breaks into the kids' laughter. In the dream, I look up and the stake plunges into my side. I scream.

"Get his heart, " Jules says from the crowd, his face twisted with a cruel scowl, his eyes blazing with hatred. "Shiro isn't human."

"Shiro, baby, " the voice from before cuts into the haze like a knife. "If you don't wake up I'll have to smother you with a pillow just to see if your lungs explode."

My eyes fIy open. I groan. Kite's face is just a few inches from mine, her hand gliding down my hair. Everything hurts. My arms and legs and back. I just want to sleep, though sleep brings its own horrors. I squeeze my eyes back shut, my head pounding from caffeine withdrawal.

"Roslyn? Shiro isn't getting up." Strands of Kite's short hair tickle my nose. I try not to sneeze.

I turn on my side and bury my face into the couch cushions, my shoulder muscles tensed as I try to burrow away from her. The fabric is scratchy and firm, firmer than any corduroy couch should be without scraping the skin of someone's face.

"Is he dead?"

"No, he just keeps going back to sleep."

"Leave me alone." I curl my body into a tighter ball, knees pressed so deeply into my chest I must've left little imprints in the bone. "I just wanna sleep." My eyes tear up, trails of the stuff dribbling down my face. Shedding stress is what it's called. All the stress hormone dumps out of your tear ducts so you can think without screaming your lungs out over stuff. I groan.

"See?"

I stuff my hands over my ears. It only muffles the girls' chatter a little, the headache biting at my skull so hard I almost get up for aspirin. Kite pokes the back of my neck. "Poor thing."

"You threatened to smother him?"

"Yeah. I don't think he cares."

"Hmm. Maybe I can wake him up."

"Go away, " I mutter into the couch. And I know I'm being pretty mean, but my entire body aches like one horrible bruise and all and all I feel like I've been hit by a freight train. Silence ensues for a little while, images gliding over my eyes enshrouded in white light and oil. The dreams, the reality, all mixed in a hazy glow.

Something sputters. Then burbles. I smell something, so rich and smooth and intoxicating I can't help but twitch. "Shiro?" Roslyn's voice sounds by my ear, so gentle and sing-songy I'm immediately suspicious. She rattles something by my ear. "If you don't get up I'm cutting off all that hair of yours—"

"To heck with it."

"And I have coffee."

My head snaps up. You don't have to say 'coffee' more than once to catch my attention. "Huh?" Roslyn wraps her arm around my throat and yanks me off the couch. The bag drops to the floor. I yelp. She does that a lot, choke people, I mean. It's usually an affectionate thing, though that can be easy to forget when you're slowly suffocating.

"Ros!" I shout. She hums and ruffles my hair with her free hand, dragging me across the floor while I kick and cuss. My mom hates it when I cuss, but the words just roll out. Can't help it. I'm trying to kick the habit, but hissing "You mother-truckers!" at someone, anyone, at school or otherwise is a bit of a kick in the face to the 'I will not be beat up and stuffed in a locker' campaign. Parents sometimes seem to forget this.

"Aww, Rosie, " Kite calls, "be careful with him. Sh

off the table at the sheer force of their movements. Alone, they're each a terror. Together? The two are like a natural disaster. Stomach rumbling, I fish my spoon around the bowl, clinking porcelain, and dig myself up a glob of soggy cereal. Kite ruffles a fistful of my hair and I nearly choke on it.

"Little man."

"Little man."

"I'm not that short!" I kick my chair back and nearly knock the table over. Kite frowns, strands of black hair whisking in her face. Her eyes, dark and shining, peer into mine. She leans forward and touches my hand. I feel a jolt.

"Oh, Shiro, honey. What's wrong? What did they do to you?"

I close my eyes. Unball a fist I didn't know I was clenching. "They think I'm a vampire." I breathe out, a little puff trembling on my lips before finally escaping. My heart squeezes in my chest. I try to think of it in a pretty picture to describe, something poetic, that it got caught in brambles and the thorns squeeze it tighter with every thump. "What if I am a vampire? There's something wrong with me. Cleary."

I touch the birthmark on my neck and trace out the last of it. A little raised mark. Where there used to be five points, now there's only one. "What if that's what it all leads to. Me? A monster. What if I attack you guys, I—"

Someone pounds the door.

I freeze, mouth dropped mid-monologue. The sound seems to reverberate through my very marrow. It comes again, only another knock, but to my fried nerves it sounds like a gunshot.

"Shiro!" A deep, all-too-familiar voice booms through the door. I make a sound between a scream and a squeak, stumbling back on my good leg. My eyes fly open. Roslyn and Kite reach over the table to steady me, their eyes a little wide, their faces a little pale. Not only do they talk in sync but they act in sync, too. Usually, it's funny, but now I can't find it in me to laugh.

"Oh, no." My heart gallops into overdrive, shards of dizzying pain making my brains feel like they've gone splat. Him again. The world won't leave me alone. I stumble back, struggling against my friends' grasps.

"I'll answer, " Roslyn says.

"No!" Blood rushes to my head. He's come to finish what he started. To stab me in the heart, through and through. I shake my head, tearing away and clasping my hands together in an earnest beg. She shrugs. Rolls her eyes at my weakness. She doesn't know.

"Open up, " he shouts. "it's Jules!"

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