• -“At the time the Nephilim appeared on Earth, after the sons of Heaven had intercourse with the daughters of man, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown.”~Genesis 6:4
    Max hadn’t returned after he’d stormed out of my home the night before with an odd mix of determination and fervent anger. Of course, I had expected nothing less from him. Surely he expected the shower of questions that I was likely to pour on him and not even I would have come back after Lee’s harsh glare and obvious anticipation of a rationalization for the mark on his arm.
    Nevertheless, I was still curious. And with a bit of sleep on my side, I was thinking much clearer. So, as soon as I woke up (around noon due to the fact that I fell asleep early in the morning) I had made it my goal to find him.
    Naturally, the first place I’d check would be his house, which was conveniently located across the street from mine. Though, checking his house usually meant dealing with his sister. Lola got some sort of sick enjoyment out of my abashment, which I never understood considering that we’ve known each other for our entire lives.
    Actually, at first, I had liked her much better than her twin brother. She seemed less cocky and much kinder. Of course I had never disliked Max; I had just originally liked his sister more. But that all changed when my parents paid for Max and Lola to switch to my Catholic grade school. Then Lola made new friends and deemed me not good enough for her taste. Which was fine with me, at least I still had her abnormally attractive twin on my side. And thus, Max became my best friend; he managed to stick up for me and my friends to his suddenly nasty sister therefore preserving our surplus of nonrealistic confidence.
    But still Lola never let me or any of my friend’s overlook why she ditched us in the first place. This was why I preferred my home over theirs, even though most of the time they lacked parental supervision.
    I sighed, mustering up my courage and preparing a comeback for any snarky comments that might be thrown my way in the next minute and a half. It would probably have to do with my all black and green attire or odd chose of headwear.
    I stomped up the chipped cement steps, my combat boots making loud noises on the ground, and stared at a large, faded brown door with a stain glass window in an abstract shape at the top. It was surrounded by the flaked, white, wooden paneling of the house. Vines of green ivy slithered upwards and curled and branched out around windows. But I couldn’t help but let the thought that if someone were to take care of this home, it would have looked very nice.
    Bracing myself, I pounded my left fist hard against Max’s door because his doorbell had broken long ago. But I was shocked when the door swung open and instead of the wavy, red hair and female characteristics I was expecting, I got short dirty blond hair and a male who was obviously smiling at my shock.
    “Holy crap, John!” I complained. “You scared me! What the hell are you doing at Max’s so early?”
    “Early?” John asked, raising one brow. “You do realize it’s two in the afternoon, right?”
    I sighed, I had forgotten about my late slumber in my shocked state. “I was expecting Lola!” I continued in the hopes that my previous thinking error would slip John’s mind. “I just spent the last twenty seconds of my life coming up with insults! Thanks to you, I just lost some of my precious time.”
    “I apologize.” He stated genuinely. I almost laughed; John never got the point of sarcasm which is why it surprised me that he and Max were such good buddies. “Wanna come in?” He asked suddenly. “I’m sure Max wouldn’t mind considering he’s the one who forced me into getting the door.”
    “I see he hasn’t gotten any less sedentary in the past twenty-four hours, huh?” I joked.
    “Not one bit.” John shook his head. “But do me a favor; don’t let him know you’re coming in. I want to scare him.”
    “Don’t you think he would’ve heard us?” I questioned with suspicion, crossing my arms over the black top of my dress.
    John snorted and bent down to reach my height. John was fairly normal heighted for a fifteen year old, maybe around five seven to six foot, and pretty well built. He also typically dressed somewhat formally considering his parents attitude towards non-formal outfitting. That meant lots of button up shirts and khaki pants for him, explaining his current attire. His almond colored eyes connected with mine when he said. “He’s in there listening to his music so loud that he wouldn’t notice if he caught on fire. Which is likely to happen if this keeps up, by the way.” I thought about that for a moment. It was odd that Max would be listening to his iPhone so loud while John was over. I sighed, Max was definitely hiding something.
    Yet I nodded, finding John’s statement amusing, no matter what the circumstances were. “Good point. Let’s try and scare some of that laziness outta him before he ends up a pile of ash.”
    John let me walk in and shut the door gently behind me. One thing that bothered me about Max’s house was that his mother never bothered to decorate it. The walls were a spotless, pasty white and all the furniture were dark wood, black leather, and steel. She was barely ever there, so in her mind nothing ever called for beautification. In fact, she never even bothered to store the fridge. The only thing mildly food related that she had placed in her house was her alcohol stash in one of her cabinets, which I knew for certain Max had gotten himself into quite a few times…
    “So, I was thinking,” my thought process was shattered by John’s voice, “that we should hide behind a wall and jump out from behind it.”
    I rolled my eyes. “That’s so preschool, Jonathan. Why don’t we just chuck a pillow at him and call it revenge?” I was being sarcastic again but John simply cocked his head.
    “That’s not a bad idea…”
    “Oh come on! I was kidding!”
    “Really? You seemed pretty serious to me…”
    “My God!” I threw my arms up in irritation.
    John sighed, “Whatever. Do you have anything better to do?”
    “Well, no…” I admitted, “But I am pretty sure I could come up with something better if you gave me the chance…”
    “Come on, just hide behind the wall.” I knew I was going to listen to him even though he didn’t sound mad or annoyed in the slightest. John had this amazing ability that I envied him for. He rarely got angry. You could choke him to death but if you were to confront him in the afterlife, he would have gotten over it and have been able to consider you a friend. It must have been nice to always be so jaunty and optimistic.
    “Fine.” I murmured, finally giving in. John smiled and stalked over to another door, obviously leading to the room Max was in and opened it. He then extended his arm in a formal motion, inviting me inside, as he held open the door. “Oh, what a gentleman.” I teased, rolling my eyes, and realized that he would not register my sarcasm.
    “Thank you.” He stated with pride. I stifled a giggle.
    Max didn’t glance at us as we walked into the room. He just stared at the television, engrossed in his Modern Warfare game, and kept his music on full volume. He was listening to some screamo song that I couldn’t identify due to its muffled qualities as it entered the air. And yet he still cocked his head to the side and stated without enthusiasm, “Hey, John. Kaige, I can see you, you know.”
    “And I failed to startle you again.” John told Max, disappointed as he plopped down on the couch next to his best friend.
    “Did you hear us or something?” I asked.
    “What?” Max inclined, realizing that I had spoken. He then pulled the earbud out of his left ear.
    I shook my head, so hearing us was out of the question… “How’d you know we came in?”
    Max seemed a bit startled by the question but paused a moment, thinking over his answer. “I saw your reflection in the television.”
    “Oh?” I managed, slightly confused. I stared at the position of the television. There was no way that he could have seen us reflected in it, it was facing the wall to the left of me. So he’s lying… I resolved but what reason did he have to do that? And since when did he start blasting his music so loud that he couldn’t hear what was going on at all? He usually only did that when he was trying to drone something out. But what does Max have to drone out here??? John?
    No, Max wouldn’t have done that. No matter how much John managed to annoy him, Max wouldn’t have attempted to ignore him. He was too loyal and John was one of his best friends.
    So, no matter how hard I thought, I couldn’t conjure up an explanation for Max’s odd action. Of course, lately he had been acting weird so I was used to the fact that the quick thought process I tended to put myself through left me even more puzzled than I originally was.
    I let out a breath, deciding to ponder the situation further later on that evening, and set myself down in one modern-looking armchair diagonal to the television. I twisted a strand of my hair around my pointer finger and crossed my legs. “That makes sense.” I chose to say, hating that I could not pelt him with repetitive, un-thought-through questions that would probably just make the problem worse.
    Obviously somewhat dazed, Max nodded, bit his lip, stiffened a bit, and went back to playing his game, barely paying any attention to John or me.
    I glanced at John, who didn’t seem to be as weirded-out as I was, and furrowed my brow. He seemed to have caught my gaze. I motioned at him with my hand to come towards me and when he began to sit up, I twitched my head in an awkward motion towards the door mouthing, “Can I talk to you?”
    John frowned but stood up anyway. Max seemed too interested in shooting a fake person on the game to notice that John and I were moving at all but I assumed that his video game was just an excuse for his lack of attentiveness.
    We both maneuvered around the furniture and I slammed the door behind us to try and get a reaction out of Max but I was certain he didn’t even jump.
    “Something’s wrong with Max.” was the first thing I uttered when the door closed.
    John inhaled deeply. “I know.”
    “So I’m not the only one that’s noticed it?” I interrogated, half-relieved and half-curious.
    “Nope. Maureen’s noticed it, too. And from what I’ve gotten from Lee, he has, also…” he stopped mid-sentence realizing that he probably said something he shouldn’t have.
    I tilted my head in interest but resolved that the best way to get information out of John was to scare him. So I pretended to be angry. “Since when have you been talking to my little brother?” I interrogated, giving my friend a glare full of false-rage.
    “Well I-” he stammered unable to come up with a reasonable answer.
    I crossed my arms over my chest and put myself into a disapproving stance, secretly getting enjoyment from John’s difficulty. I found it truly entertaining. “You what? You randomly decided that you’re friends with him now and you have some need to discuss Max’s odd behavior? I find that unlikely. We both know that it’s rare for Lee to make friends.”
    It was true. My brother was too smart, distrustful, anti-social, and serious to invest his time in, “all the petty, ineffectual things such as friendships.” As he put it. So he managed to keep the few he did have at a far distance.
    John looked around the white walls, as if the answers to my questions were visible on them. “Uhm… Max and I ran into him a couple days ago and Max left because he said he had to do something. Both Lee and I thought it was odd and so I said that he’d been acting weird lately and Lee said that he’d noticed it too… And then he came back with that mark on his arm… I didn’t tell Lee about that but I don’t think it’s a good thing.” But I knew Lee had already seen that mark, not that I was about to admit that to John.
    I racked my brain for what Lee had said early that morning, “Let’s just say Max is messing with something-or rather, someone- that he shouldn’t be.” And staring into Johns eyes I could see that the words he had spoken were partially true. So did Max leaving then have something to do with him messing with that something that Lee had told me about? My body tingled in anticipation.
    “So, do you know what’s going on???” I asked, fidgeting with the hem of my skirt, unable to contain my excitement.
    “I do. But I think it’s his business. If he wants you to know, he’ll tell you.” John stated sternly.
    My mouth gaped. That was puzzling. John was never reprimanding or stubborn, and in that one statement he was giving off both vibes. “What?” was all I could utter in my shock.
    “I’m serious.” John answered. And I could tell by his expression he was. “If you want to know so badly, then go ask him. But don’t force it out of me.” He seemed proud of himself but he probably didn’t expect me to do just that.
    “Fine,” I growled and stormed back into the other room where Max was.
    John widened his eyes, seeming to regret the words he said before. “No, wait, Kaige. I didn’t mean that. You don’t want to know what’s going on. Please don’t bring it up, it doesn’t involve you.” He tried to haul me back into the other room by wrapping his fingers around my shoulder but I shrugged him off.
    If he was going to play that game so be it. I disdained being clueless and I needed to know what was happening.
    “Hey, Max?” I asked and he quickly looked up, startled by the sound of my voice. “Can I talk to you for a minute?”

    “I guess you think I’m crazy too,” I mumbled burying my face in Derek’s light fabric tee-shirt. He was heavy with the scent of motor oil as I figured he and his brothers were working on their pride and joy; a 1934 Chevrolet Standard hot rod. Personally I knew nothing about cars and probably never would, but I just went with the flow and pretended like I cared.
    Looking up with teary eyes I was looking for comfort. Derek had that relaxed look all the girls wanted and battled over. But I won it without even trying. I felt wonderful having him, though something else about it felt shameful. It felt wrong most of the time. It felt like I was a horrible person, for doing this to someone else.
    “Well seeing a person covered in blood isn’t normal and they weren’t there when Ana showed up so maybe I think you’re just a little crazy.” He hugged me tighter as I pulled away.
    “Not just a little crazy! You think I’m full out insane I know it!” Yelling was the best I could do. Ana was my best friend and Derek my boyfriend, and neither of them believed me. They both thought I was completely crazy.
    Derek grabbed my hand and pulled me back forcefully into his embrace, “Now don’t think like that. You know I love you and all but you gotta think ‘bout it. You see some things no one else does, that doesn’t sound quite normal to me.”
    I pushed him away, “I never thought me being normal was a concern for you! I thought you liked me because I wasn’t normal!”
    “Yeah I like you ‘cause you’re unique. But I’d like it if you were normal in your head too, is that anything for you to be angry ‘bout?”
    “Yes it is. If you really liked me you would understand me, and even if I was crazy it wouldn’t bother you one bit!” I rolled my eyes and crossed my arms. “Why do I even date you? A boyfriend shouldn’t worry about something like this. I mean am I any different than before?”
    “Lian I-” Derek stopped not knowing what to say. “You aren’t any different but-”
    “But if you date the crazy girl people with think you’re weird. Is that it?” My voice was cross and powerful not the meek soft voice I normally had.
    “Not really I-”
    I cut him off again. “Not really? You are embarrassed by me. You don’t want to be seen with the crazy girl anymore?” I felt myself broil with anger as I felt the urge to shoot the stinging feeling into him.
    “Then it’s over, we’re through. If you can’t like me no matter what I don’t want to see you ever again.”
    “Lian please don’t say that.”
    “I will and I’ll follow it with a get out!” I pointed angrily at the door narrowing my eyes in a vicious rabid way. “Get the hell out of my house, Derek.”
    “Come on, Lian. You know I love you,” He grabbed my shoulders and leaned in, “Give me a kiss. ‘Cause you know I care.”
    “No you don’t now please just leave before I kill you.” Derek gave me a glare that held and emotion I couldn’t read. “If you cared one ******** bit you would know me. You would believe what I saw.” I tried to struggle free but he only held his grip on me harder. “Derek let go of me!” I reached behind me hoping to find anything I could use to have him let go.
    “No way, baby, not until you tell me that you know I love you,” I felt my hand slip on something cold. A rounded top that was chilling with a slender rubber material slid into my grasp. I held the object tight in my hand.
    “Let me go!” Yanking myself from Derek I grabbed the object with both hands, drew it back, and stabbed him with it in the stomach as if it were a spear. He clenched his abdomen with pain as I held the object I identified as a baseball bat over my head preparing to swing. “Get out before I hit you with this!”
    “Alright,” he said standing up straight and heading towards the door. “But I do love you, Lian, and I will come back again to tell you that I do.”
    “Out,” I grumbled pointing to the door. Derek opened the door and walked out letting it slam behind him with echoing silence. I dropped down on the couch letting the metal bat fall to the floor with a thud. The feeling was gone. The feeling that something was wrong was gone. I had a feeling of relief. He was gone.
    “Whoa, squirt, what was that?” I heard my brother call from up the stairs. He ran down as fast as could to see me breathing heavily trying to melt off all the anger.
    “Derek and I broke up,” I said taking a deep breath with a straight face.

    “That would explain the yelling,” David took a seat next to me. “Is everything ok?”

    “Yeah, because I jabbed him with this,” I held up the metal baseball bat.
    David sighed, “Good job. You showed him.” The quiet hung awkwardly for a moment. “Are you sure everything is still ok?”
    “Yeah, I’m fine.”