The Hidden

Darren is fourteen. He has stumbled into a world of constant danger and darkness. But in the terrible darkness, lost hope and shredded dreams, could he find the light to guide him on his way?
Enter into a world of danger, monsters and just enough romance to keep your heart beating faster throughout.
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2. 2 .The day his life changed

Darren heard the man before he saw him.  Plod.....

Plod....

Plod....

There was something ominous about the heavy footfalls of the man.  Darren looked around, and almost fell off his chair.  

A giant man was coming down the pavement.  He was wearing a black coat covering a black shirt over black trousers, and had black sunglasses.  Neat.  He was also bald.  However, the most impressive part of him was his feet.  They were huge, the kind of feet that don't belong on anyone, even a massive giant of a person.  He also had the general aura of danger around him.  Darren ducked his head and sat very still.  The shaggy old bush in the garden suddenly became the most interesting thing in the universe.

The plodding stopped.  Darren resisted the urge to gulp.  He pretended to look up, and widened his eyes, as if he'd just noticed that a man as big as a house had just parked himself in front of the gate, and was staring at him.  In his hand was a paper, something that Darren hadn't noticed before.  The man threw this at Darren's feet, did an about turn, and plodded off from where he had come from.  

Darren looked at the paper.  Suddenly, dizzying lights flashed in front of his eyes, brighter and more confusing than ever before. They seemed to be coming from the paper, which had never happened to him before.  He closed his eyes, and saw his mother.  He gasped.  Five years had passed since that terrible day of the car crash.  He'd always seen the future, the soon-to-be present.  He was sure that his mom was dead.  How could he be seeing her now?

"Hi, D."

He swallowed.  'D' was his mom's pet name for him.  It was also what Chris now called him.

"Mom?"

His voice stuck in his throat.  He felt the urge to move towards her, hug her, smell the familiar smell of soap and perfume that always hung around her.

He'd missed her.

"D. I don't have long.  I need to tell you something.  Something not even your father knows."

"Mom.  You...you died."

"Yes, darling.  I'm still dead.  Now, that big man, the one who gave you the letter? Yeah.  That guy's a good guy, I used to...work with him.  We were...a secret organisation.  We fight evil things.  Yes, I know it sounds like one of those T.V shows you watch, but it's true.  Your visions make you almost unique amongst us---"

"You know!"

"Of course, darling.  I sensed it in you. My gift was invisibility.  Now, you'll be wondering how I'm here.  The letter is a portal for me.  As soon as I go, it'll burn up.  Today, a big black car will park outside the front gate.  Tell dad that you're continuing where I left off.  If he tries to stop you, give him this."

She reached out, and a letter materialised in her hand.  He stepped towards her, and took it.

"Oh, and tell your Christopher about the visions.  He'll understand."

"What?  You don't mean...And he's not mine..."

Darren felt his head whirling.  His mom, the gentle person he'd known, she couldn't have been....no...Invisibility?  But…that was impossible… 

And Chris....Normal, carefree, Chris....what special gift did he have?

His mother continued, startling him out of his reverie.

"D, time's up, I have to go."

"Mom, mom, wait!!"

He reached out to her, and she enveloped him in a quick hug.  Darren smelt her familiar smell, registered the feel of her, and tears, barely held back before, now came flowing down.  She released him, and kissed him on his forehead.  Where her lips touched, Darren felt a slight pain.  He raised his hand just in time to feel a strange, star-shaped rune.

"It's a Pentagram.  It'll keep you safe.  For now.  Good luck, D.  And keep Christopher safe."

With that, his mom vanished, and Darren fell, gasping, out of his chair and, surprisingly, into Christopher's waiting arms.  

"Sooooo..."

"Oh my God.  Chris. What are you doing here?"

"I've been observing, D.” Chris answered, rather enigmatically. “And all I can say is welcome to hell, man."

And with a wink that turned Darren’s insides into jelly, he took Darren's hand and turned him round to face his house.  He seemed to know exactly what his mother had said.  “How d’you know that I have to go?”

Chris shrugged.  “Diane told me that when you turn seventeen, if she’s dead, which is common for us [Darren did not feel very reassured at this], she has left a letter for you.  I saw David come with the letter, and I kind of guessed that the time has come.”  He glanced at Darren.

"Are you ready for this?"

"Chris.  How long have you known about me?"

"You know, on that day of my....em...supposed suicide?"

"Mhm."

"Yeah.  Well, apart from actually wanting to end my life, I'd also done it to see if you were what I thought you were.  I’d already known Diane.   She’d told me that you had a special gift, an almost unique gift.  She gave me an assignment to find out exactly which gift.  I tested you on several fields, but nothing came up.  Then, I tested you on visions, which you had.  You had a vision.  Not that stupid crap you told me about seeing me look weird or what the heck you said."

"You knew my mom."

"Yes, I knew Diane.  She worried over you.  I can see you saw her again.  It makes sense, that the letter was a portal too.  It’s something Diane would have done."

"How...?"

"The Pentagram.  It's visible for us.  It’ll fade when we reach the Academy.  Did she tell you who's coming to pick you up?"

"Um...a big guy? Bald?"

"Ah.  That's David.  So you’ve already met him.   He's a dear, really.  Very kind.  Just don't get on his nerves, for obvious reasons."

Darren thought about the massive hands and giant muscles.  They'd make mincemeat out of him.  That was a cheerful thought.

A car pulled up.  A black car.  Chris turned round.  Waved.  Then turned to Darren.  "You ready?"

Darren took a deep breath.  "Can...?"

Chris nodded, understanding.  That was one of the things about Chris.  He always seemed to sense Darren's moods, what he’s about to do, even what he’s about to say.  "I'll come with you."

They walked up the path to Darren's front door.  His father opened before Darren could put the key in the lock.

They stared at each other for a long time.  His father sighed.  He’d already known what was coming.  His wife had told him about it.  When Darren turns seventeen, she’d said, he’ll be called to continue his heritage.

Darren cleared his throat.  "Dad.  I'm going to continue where mom left off."  And he handed the letter to his father.  

Jonathan looked at his son, and at Christopher, as his eyes filled with tears.  He was proud of Darren, and he would miss him.  Through all the secrets, his wife had let slip a single sentence:  "Our son will make a great warrior."  And that was only in a dream.  He was proud of the fact that Darren was pretty much out as gay, that he didn't hide it.  But the warrior part?  That worried him.  But he would have to trust Diane on this.  And he did, even as her secret life clouded his with mystery and fear.

"Go.  But....call me, O.K? And be safe."

Darren felt his eyes fill with tears.  "I will."

Jonathan reached behind him and produced a duffel bag, seemingly out of thin air.  "Here.  It's from mom.  She'd prepared it for you, years ago.  You were still a squabbling toddler.  [At this. Christopher whispered, "A very cute squabbling toddler."  But it was so soft, no one heard him.]  Till when the time is right, she'd said.  Guess the time is right, yeah?"

Chris unslung a similar duffel bag from his shoulder, and said, "I'm sorry, Mr Williams.  But yes.  It is."

Jonathan smiled, a sad smile.  "Take care of him, Chris.  And take care of yourself."

Chris smiled back, taking Darren's hand into his again.  "I will.  I promise."

Then he turned, and taking Darren with him, walked off towards the black car.  Darren twisted around slightly, and mouthed to his father, "I love you, be safe, and I'll miss you".  Jonathan, an expert in mouth-reading (he worked with deaf people), nodded, and a single tear escaped and rolled down his cheek.

The two boys got in the back seat, and the door slammed shut behind them.  Jonathan watched as his son and his friend (or should he say boyfriend) were driven off into God-knows-where, and silently, he closed the door behind him.

He was alone.

***

In the car, David was driving, silent.  Christopher was practically bursting with excitement, Darren, with dread and a sense of anticipation.  His hand never left Chris's, and that comforted him slightly. In the end, he dozed off, his head falling on Chris's shoulder.  It was then that David spoke.

"Got yourself a boyfriend, Chris?"

Chris thought about this for a while.  "Yes," he replied after a while.  "Yes, I think I have."

Behind them, the sun set.

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