I Refuse To Fall, When They Still Exist

Rio has been hunting for angels since she can remember; travelling from state to state since she was born. When a shadowey succubus nearly takes away her breath, she has to fight to survive. And fight off her desires for the mysterious emo kid that helped her out.


3. Chapter 2

"Miss Taklif! Were we paying attention?" Retchford shrieked.

I raised my head off the desk, looking her straight in the wrinkle-free, probably Botoxed face. She was clearly delighted at finding a new target.

In schools across the country, if not the world, there are two types of teachers. Soft, and hard. Soft teachers are kind, harmless souls. They're often scared of students, teenage boys in particular, having been broken in by students.

Hard teachers however, are like sharks. Machines made for eating, with an unnatural sense for blood in the water. Just my luck to have fallen foul of Retchford, the hardest of the hard teachers.

She was depressingly glamourous, with dark-red hair down to the small of her back, blue doe-eyes, and an impossibly large chest. She probably had a bit more work done when she got botulism injected into her face. They stuck out a lot under her white oxford shirt, deep purple sweater, and knee-length plaid skirt. She was the kind of woman who could go out in a floor-length dress and a burka, yet still get The Look from men. The girls called her Bitchford behind her back, whereas the boys called her Bangable. Bloody perverts.

Oh, what the hell. At least I might piss her off. "Latitude 32 degrees, 47 minutes, 30 seconds. Longitude -96 degrees, 46 minutes, 42 seconds." I delivered the lines in a bored, flat monotone, showing I couldn't give a shit.

"Sorry, what?" She asked, breaking the silence that meant all eyes were on me.

I hate that.

"You asked what latitude and longitude did John F. Kennedy getting shot occur. It was 32 degrees, 47 minutes, 30 seconds North, -96 degrees, 46 minutes, 42 seconds East, on the 22nd November, 1963." I added in a bit of extra information, to make her more furious.

The half-asian emo kid next to me shifted, as the class erupted into an array of silent laughter. I'd seen her off, and made her have to pick a new victim.

"Well, as Miss Taklif has told us where and when the assassination of President Kennedy was, can anybody tell us what the leading conspiracy theory about his assassination?" She asked, striding through the class. Her ankles swelled out of her oxfords, despite the thick socks holding them in.

They look like circulation socks, like what they give to DVT sufferers.

The emo kid shifted uncomfortably in his seat again, making his long, leather coat creak. The back of his neck showed over the nape of his coat, startlingly white over the intense black.

Don't move! She's searching for her next victim. I should have done something, like smack him on the back of his neck. I don't give a shit if I get signed up for detention, so that looks like a plausible escape route for him, and for me.

Retchford scanned each one of us, like a well-trained mama lioness scans a nearby herd of zebras. Picking out the old ones, the weak ones, and the youngsters. Her eyes fell on a blonde girl, I think her name was Rebecca, in the row in front. She was wearing, of all things, a cheerleaders uniform. Why she chose to when there's a good 2 feet of snow on the ground, I don't know.

Welcome to North Dakota, the home of the Walking Popsicles.

She opened her mouth, ready to ask, when Emo Boy next to me, turned his head a bit to the side, and the earphones disconnected from the iPod/Walkman thing in his pocket.

Loud music blared, as he fumbled clumsily to turn it off. Every head swivelled to face him, as Retchford grinned delightedly. This was the perfect opportunity for her to pick on him all lesson.

"You can hand that over to me, Mr...Belial?" She appeared confused at his name, whereas I was horrified. If that kid ends up on the "other side" of the True World, he's on his own. Infact, I wouldn't be surprised if seriously bad shit went down right this second. You never, ever, ever say the name of a Biblical demon, unless you want to be thrown headlong into a battle with them. Dad learnt that off me the hard way.

That had been in Savannah, and that had been bad. I had to drive Dad to hospital and lie about how he got that chunk taken out of his calf. Rumour has it that Animal Control are still looking for a big-ass german shepherd with a bad attitude and potential rabies.

Once he'd shut off Fallen Angels, by the Black Veil Brides (the kid's got taste) and handed over his iPod, Retchford never left him alone for a second. Every single question, was directed his way. Even when he got them right. I began to feel a bit sorry for him, as I could have pulled him out of it, but the military mind that Dad installed in me told me to leave it be.

Survival of the fittest kiddo. Life's a bitch, but she's all you got.

After the bell rang, I headed to the payphone hanging outside the office, with the intention of calling Dad. He'd probably gone out by now, but there's a chance he hasn't.

The phone rang on the other end, as I leant against the wall. The scents of wet concrete, formeldehyde, stocking feet, industrial carpet, the exhaling of over 1,000 kids and food pried from McDonalds and Chick-Fil-A (bloody homophobes).

School smell. It's pretty similar across the US, with slight variations in the served roadkill department. The phone kept ringing in my ear, over the noise coming from the canteen, until the 15th ring, when I gave up.

"Screw it!" I hissed, slamming the handset down. I didn't even get my quarter back; the machine ate it.

I left the building, getting smacked in the face by the cold wind as I left. I'd weighed up the options in my head and decided to skip school. I only had civics class left, and that was a waste of time. I'd seen enough civics on CNN, and it had no use to hunters at all.  Mind you, those "Blowhards with over-expensive hair" as Dad calls them, are good at covering things up when it goes pear-shaped.

I crossed the grounds, freezing my ass off. The sky the colour of well-used steel above me. It was going to snow again tomorrow, if not tonight, then I'd be completely frozen. What a set of choices: go to class where it's warm and be bored to death, or skip class and freeze.

I had just passed the baseball diamond, when there was a quiet thudding of footsteps behind me, and a voice.

"Hey You!" They called. Male, definitely. Too young-sounding to be a teacher. I'm not usually a target for the bullies, but when I am, they're usually sorry. Driving my right foot into the iced ground, I turned to face whoever it was, when they crashed into me with the force of a charging rhino. Or a kid who didn't see the ice under the snow.

I forced them off me, hauling myself to my feet. For a native of Popsicleville, he sure can't handle the ice.

It was the emo Black Veil Brides fan from History class. When he was facing me, he looked even more emo-ish, what with his long black hair and crucifix necklace. An earring glittered in his hair, which I couldn't quite make out.

"You skipping school? I don't blame you. Want one?" He asked, shaking the snow off his coat and pulling out a pack of Marlborough lights. The bird-like movement made him look even skinnier.

"No." Jesus Christ, no.

"Your loss. I'm Belial by the way." He said, lighting the cancer stick.

"Yeah, I know. I'm Rio." And don't you dare ask what it's short for. "Sorry about Retchford."

"Hey, she's a bitch. She's always doing that. You shoot basketball?"

"No." When did I invite you along? We were crossing the grounds together by now, and he just wouldn't get the hint.

"So, where you from?" He asked. The question came up eventually. Usually I just pretended I always came from the last place we were in.

"Mississippi. Near Jackson." The worst place to be if you don't wanna run into a succubus. Those motherfuckers are eee-vil. Like the dementors out of Harry Potter, but with a nasty streak.

"Thought you came from somewhere near there. You sound a bit down-south."

I do not sound southern. I sound like Mom did, that's all.

He looked up, letting his hair fall back from his face. The slightest hint of epicanthic folds played around his eyes, as he shielded them from the glare. "Welcome to Devil's Lake. It's going to snow, by the way."

"Thanks" Way to roll out your surburban welcome wagon. Now piss off and leave me alone.

"No problem, Rio. First one's free. You never told me if you play basketball."

"I don't." I thought for a second, as maybe this could be an advantage. "I'll beat your ass at it though."

I "accidentally" forgot to mention that time in New Orleans. We were low on cash, so Dad taught me how to play. I could have gotten really good, but a fucking wulfen clan got nasty, so we had to blow town. Maybe if I embarassed him, he'd leave me the hell alone.

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