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   Chapter 20 Adventure Awaits

Stolen Souls (boy x boy) By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 9448

Updated: 2018-02-10 21:52


"Oh, shit, oh shit oh shit oh shit." These are Jules' first words as we descend, and they sound painfully lucid. He's stumbling, teeth gritted to keep up as I pull him back down the long white halls.

I try to keep my voice calm. "There has to be an emergency way out. You worked here, once. You have to know."

"I... I... think." His breath shudders. "I just don't know."

"That's not good enough, Jules. I need a little more concrete information here!" The hand wrapped around his has grown hot and sweaty. "Could you give a guy a little something to work with?"

"I'm trying!" he shouts. "Everything's just so muddy, Shiro. Everything feels like it's in a dream."

"Well, it's not!" I snap back. My lungs are filled with metal fillings, my arms, glue. I've had no sleep, so my brain is fried to a complete and utter crisp. All I have is my willpower to work with, and even that is on a dangerously low fuel reserve.

He groans. The people in the cells look now, and though we pass quickly, I can make them out better. They're people, not creatures. Young, mostly. Pale. They look a little like Jules and me, and I feel a stab of guilt for leaving them. But what can I do? I have no keys, no way to bust them out. The best we can do for them is get out of here and figure out all this vampire business so the mayor doesn't need them. I wheeze out a gasp and am surprised to cough up bile. Jules whistles, whispers, mutters. Talks out loud to himself.

"An escape route? There has to be one. There was. But where was it? I... I can't remember. Think, damn it! Think!"

So I'm not the only person pissed at my mind for on the job. He hisses, cusses, growls. More dog and cat now than even parrot. I guess none of us is solely 'human', and normally, I'd think a little more about a statement like that, maybe laugh at it or try to pound a sense of profoundness into it, but I just don't have the time.

Instead, I glance back, and duck my head under Jule's arm. Kath and Sirius are gaining. We didn't have that much of a lead on them to begin with and they have longer legs that we do. Jules makes a sound between a squeak and a wail. It makes my body tremble with a sudden wash of anger to think that his own mother agreed to him being used like that.

"Quit it, Shiro, " Sirius says, his kind voice sharper now. "You aren't going to get anywhere. You're just making this harder on yourself."

Quitting is never an answer. Not on a sketch that isn't looking right and not on a run to save someone who I suppose is a friend. I glare back at Sirius, gasping out of an open mouth like a fish. The rotten antiseptic-tainted air rushes at me all at once and fills my lungs so my head spins and spins.

Jules said there was an exit on this floor, I've seen everything this lab has to offer, but I haven't seen a door

s did to him. He did nothing to deserve that. And you didn't either. Know that, Star."

"Yup." I squirm up against the door, head leaned just below the knob. I breathe out sharp and low. Wish I could ask her for aspirin, but I think that would ruin her speech. So I just suck up the pain. The slayers are looking at the mayor, but their heads are dipped respectfully. She tries to smile, and all it does is draw my attention to the bags under her eyes. The mayor twists the charmed bracelet around her wrist as I comb back my hair with my fingers. She draws up all the air into her chest to speak.

"I believe in you. I think you're a very smart and very tough boy, but what you're going to do up in those mountains will require maybe even more than that." The sudden dullness in her eyes tells me that maybe she doesn't believe in me all that much. That I'm probably going to end up a vampire's dinner over and over for the next two weeks, but we both know now that I have to try. Funny, how my life went from 'kind of odd' to 'the stuff of madness' in such a short amount of time. Two days, I mean.

But I'm willing to set it aside to imagine the future. A future I have to buy myself. I can just imagine living in Starlight City, looking down at all the little cars as they buzz by from my balcony, my drawing tablet set on a glass table beside a triple XL latte drizzled with caramel. Maybe my dog bounds to my feet. Maybe my partner sidles up beside me and curls his arm around my shoulders as I draw.

This won't be given to me. I'm not supposed to have it. This dream, I've gotta fight for it. "I won't fail you." I stand up. Run my hand over the charm again, the one I have to use to save myself and her son. "I'll steal back our souls. I promise."

The mayor offers me a small smile and lifts her hand with a lady's flourish toward the door.

"Then go find my son."

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