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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

I can't sleep. The nap I took earlier this afternoon keeps me awake... that and a sick feeling I have in my stomach. It's the same sick, uneasy feeling I've been having whenever I think about Will burning the fingers and Will asking me about a mother that I know he knows I couldn't know. He must know something that I don't, but when I ask about it, he laughs it off like a joke and calls me desperate and paranoid. He denies knowing anything, but can't give me a decent reason for burning my fingers or asking about my mother. He says, “I didn't like the idea of pieces of you getting eaten by ants or buzzards,” and “I just forgot for a minute, that's all.” I don't buy it. I call him a liar and he just laughs and tells me how crazy I am. I am not crazy.

I hear something unusual in the hallway. I ignore it at first, but as the sound persists I become alarmed. As the sound get closer, and more clear, I become afraid. Soon I am able to identify the sound as loud, sloppy whispering. I sit up in my bed and listen, waiting to be able to recognize one of these voices as Will's.

“Why didn't we check the rooms downstairs?”asks a young male.

“He wouldn't keep it there, it would be too easy for it to wonder off,” murmurs a low raspy voice. “Remember, it's not human. It doesn't behave like one.”

My heart beats fiercely. Neither of them are him and I know that I'm the 'it' they're looking for. I frantically scan the darkness, hoping to find a clear solution somewhere in the room – all I can see is the dark outlines of furniture and all I can hear is the blood pumping in my ears. I'm losing myself to fear. I take one long, deep breath and shut my eyes, to steady my nerves until I can hear the intruders again.

“Look, there are four doors up here. It's in one of them. Remember, even if it is human-like, it's not human. Don't hesitate to shoot,” says the second speaker.

Their voices have gotten louder; they must have gotten closer to me while I was panicking. I'm running out of time.

I scan the room once more and consider my options. They're sure to check the bathroom. The armoire didn't work last time. The french doors lead to a dead end on a second story balcony... unless I jump. I remind myself that the last time I jumped, I broke my leg.

I hear the two doors on either end of the hallway open.

I'm out of time.

I slip out of the bed and run as quickly and quietly possible to the double doors. I shut them carefully as I exit, hoping to buy myself some time. I climb over the railing, lowering myself by holding the bowed balusters. With one hand, I feel beneath the balcony for the decorative brackets while gripping the railing tightly with the other. My chest gets painfully tight: I can't find one anywhere.

I hear shuffling in my room.

I have to move. I grab the rails hand to hand, moving about two feet, and try again. It's there. I grab it and swing myself down, lifting my legs up so that I hang from it with both hands and feet.

I hear the french door swing open. I hang there, muscles tense, and hold my breath as I hear rushed footsteps walking across the balcony.

Gunshots fire in the house.

The intruder runs back into the building.

I release my feet and let myself drop to the floor.

Two more shots are fired.

I race around the building, searching for an entrance. Will is still inside.

The opening is in a downstairs bathroom window, with a neatly sliced screen. I climb in feet first, pushing my weight with the frame of the window to avoid knocking the textured glass.

I hear groans of pain. I grab the wooden plunger and twist the head off of it. It's not much against a gun but it's blunt and heavy. Plus, if I'm shot, my wounds will heal quickly. I approach the sound.

I ease down the hallway toward the living room with my make-shift weapon raised. As I approach, I hear Will's voice.

“Wow,” he says, sounding entertained as ever, “I am extremely lucky, you know that? I go looking for a sprig, and find a freaking immortal, then after months of digging and searching for your ass you just walk it right into my house!”

I stop and press my back against the wall.

He continues in an unusually ugly tone. “I mean, I knew that immortal girl would lure you out but not the first day I take her out! And, I figured you would just hire someone who knows what they're doing, like any sensible rich guy with money and no kidnapping experience would. But you're not sensible are you? You can't be if you thought you could steal from me, or any non-deaf person, while holding a goddamn conversation. But hey, Karma is a backwards ass bitch cause things are really looking up for me.

The sick feeling I've been having flares back up, hitting me stronger than ever, but now I know exactly why. He's been using me.

The deep, raspy voice replies, “You don't know anything. I'm the only-”

He's cut off with a splat and the sound of something heavy hitting the floor.

I inch closer to the end of the hallway, curious to see.

“Shut up. It's my time to talk,” Will says. “You will have yours.”

I take one more step. He becomes quiet. I stand against the wall in utter silence, barely breathing. What is he doing? I decide to take one look around the corner. I make my way over to the end of the hallway, hold my breath and peak, to find Will crouching just enough so that his face would be level, eye to eye with mine. I scream and swing the wood at him thoughtlessly. He blocks it easily, snatching it from me and grabbing my arm all in one movement.

“Is this my plunger?” he asks grinning and waving my make-shift weapon.

I nod. In that moment I look down and notice the blood on his right slipper and splattered up the leg of his sweat pants. There is a gun at his waist. An uneasy feeling trickles down my spine.

He laughs obnoxiously, throwing his head back and bending at the knee.“Oh wow,” he finally says, regaining a fraction of his composure. “I think this might be the best day of my life, and it's all thanks to you Kalani! Come, let me show you what you did.”

I don't want to see anymore. I try to twist my arm free, but he holds me tighter, pulling me and twisting me to reveal the horror scene behind him.

A boy that looks to be in his mid-teens is crumpled on the floor, bleeding profusely from his shin. He's been shot. An older man lays in a motionless pile of blood stained clothes, and fake defiance. He's been shot twice. They're both soaked in fear. They sweat it. It pours out of their glossy, red eyes, drips from their noses, runs down their foreheads and wets them with salt. They're both frozen, caught with their hands in the cookie jar, and stare expectantly at Will.

“You dumb-asses moving around and shit?” says Will, pointing with the plunger handle.

The older one opens his mouth to speak.

“Shut the fuck up.”

He closes it again.

Will directs his attention back to me. “I want to thank you for your freakout performance earlier this morning! If it weren't for that, these two wouldn't be here.”

I don't see Will. I only watch the boy. He's stopped crying and is staring blankly into thin air. Everything I see, everything I hear, disgusts me.“You've been using me as bait... so you could shoot a kid?”

“Oh no, of course not. He's collateral damage. But as I was saying-”

Collateral damage?”

“It's not my fault the guy was stupid enough to bring a kid with him, and it's not my fault the kid was stupid enough to come. Relax. I didn't kill him.”

The sick feeling warms, then boils into anger. He's not looking. I rear back and punch him in his nose with all my weight. He steps back, frazzled for a moment, then grips my throat in his hand. I clench from the pain.

“I said relax, not fucking sucker punch me. You're going to make me hurt you.”

I claw at his clenched hand, struggling for freedom. When he lets go I spit, cough, and wheeze for the air that I don't need to survive.

“You're acting like I'm the enemy. I'm not the fucking enemy. See that older one? He is absolutely obsessed with your people. He has an entire cult following that is obsessed with your people, which has a division that is obsessed with your mother. They're the ones that beat you. They tried to kill you. They tried to kidnap you.”

“So did you! And you did kidnap me. Then you watched me suffer. Why didn't you just tell me you were looking for someone? Why did you lie?”

Wills sighs, then relaxes back into his regular smiling self. In my peripherals, I see the young trespasser scooting, edging himself toward a gun on the staircase. A part of me hopes he makes it.

“I couldn't risk you leaving. Your personal feelings aren't worth losing the best chance I have at finding her.” He directs his attention to the boy. “I see you. Don't be stupid.”

“You're disgusting,” I spit.

“Says the chick who grew three fingers this morning.” He takes out his gun and put's it to my forehead.“I still need you.”

I look Will in his face. I've never noticed how desperate his eyes looked until now. His expression is reminiscent of the look his 'collateral damage' wears even now, as he inches toward a gun he'd do well to stay away from. On Wills face, its repugnant.

“You can't scare me with that. It wont kill me. You should know that by now.” I say, looking directly into his narrow eyes.

“I don't want to kill you, I want you to go to sleep for a while.”

He pulls the trigger.

I feel my body hit the floor. I hear him walk away. I try to move. I fail. I hear him return. I feel his touch, lifting my hand and isolating my left ring finger. There is a deep pain and I know that something is taken from me. I'm engulfed in a slow, creeping darkness, but I don't go to sleep.

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.