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   Chapter 11 Alone Again

Stolen Souls (boy x boy) By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 8557

Updated: 2018-01-22 19:18

I jump to my feet, all the blood rushing to my skull making the room spin. Jules grabs at his side for his stake, the figures eyeing him up, then eyeing me. Their gaze lingers on me a little longer, one of the three stares dead at Jules' stakes. The man flicks us a lazy gray eye through the thin slits of his lace mask. Yawns. The whole group moves with slow, sleepy movements. Raising their heads, blinking at us, lowering their heads again. Shuffling from one foot to another. They look as if they'll topple with one well-placed poke. "A shell and a slayer? Quaint."

Jules makes a strangled sound between a squeak and a snarl. He curls his hands around the butts of his stakes, his face gone all pink. The Syn men lean back on their heels, staring into their champagne flutes as if contemplating whether to be bored or offended by it all.

"Grrr..." Jules keeps making the sound under his breath, the veins popped out of his neck in big bulges, knuckles gone white as the Snare man smirks. They all look the same. Tousled hair, waxy smiles on reddened lips, tired, glassy eyes. I blanch.

See, the problem with a stake is that it's basically a sharp stick. Now, I like sharp sticks. You can do a lot with sharp sticks. You can stake a tent through soft dirt or a poster into a wooden telephone pole or terrify your fourteen-year-old prisoner with them, but I have my doubts about using it against another person. You could pop an eye out, sure, and it's obviously sharp enough to kill, but my guess is that it would have a hard time cutting through all the layers of muscle and fatty tissue. Maybe a couple of stabs at least. So if one of these guys pulls out a weapon, no matter how fast Jules is with his hands or on his feet, we're screwed.

The man taunting Jules smiles, adjusting his crooked tie a little left so it's even more crooked. "Such a little slayer. I suppose they're recruiting anyone they can get their hands on these days, is that right?" He smiles a smile full of crooked white teeth. A gold canine twinkles on his upper gum. Jules glares back, so much shorter without his platforms he has to crook his neck up at the man. "Or did your mommy just get you in the kiddie club?"

Jules blushes, snapping the stakes up and out of their holsters. My body seizes up. If he draws a drop of blood from any of the Snare men, we're deader than the fried salmon the servers are offering in plastic dipping cups.

"I'm going to give you one chance to take that back before there's a stake in your heart!"

Now, Wonder Shiro has to step in. B

't explain the sudden and sharp pain in my stomach. Can't explain the feeling that all night I've been climbing up a roller coaster, and now it's plunging down. "Suit yourself." I shrug, watching the tails of his tux as he pushes his way out of the curtains and away from me. Watching as he slips into the crowd, as much a shadow as the Syn men. Then he's gone.

I shrivel against the window, feeling like a fool, even if I don't know why. The curtain slips back over me, and I must look even more suspicious now. At least before people might've thought Jules and I were making out or getting drunk together or something of the sort. But now?

I turn the stake over in my hands, feeling the rough grain rub against my skin. It twists from the circle base, thinning into a straight point. I touch the tips and a bead of blood springs on my fingerpad.

I decide I'll be happy when all this is over. When I get home, drawing tablet in hand, sitting at my wardrobe with a steaming mug of coffee. I may not even ask Jules why I'm so broken. I may just tell him not to say anything to me about it at all.

A smile curls on my lips as I stand there, alone in a sea of people, alone and comfy, even with the curtain. It feels like a blanket, and at least I can tell Kite why I don't do uptown parties. "I had more fun hiding in the drapes than partying. Really. Fun, fun, fun."

But the moment lapses and ends with a pang in my chest, like there's a big, big, big hole under my ribs. Right now, it doesn't feel awfully fun. It feels awfully lonely.

I wedge the stake into my other boot, the one without the scissors, and push the curtains open with shaky, sweaty hands.

And this is when Ros screams.

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