Dead to Rights

William Morro is just your average sixteen year old boy, well he was, once. After a week of increasingly worsening events he finds himself suddenly awake in his bedroom, or atleast, what appears to be his bedroom. It is shortly after that he realizes that indeed something is out of place; he's dead and stuck in a place where everything seems like the world we know when, at the same time, this world is nothing like we know the world to be...

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12. The First Moves Are Made

   It was a few hours later that Jay and I were on our way to school when he asked the question to me about how this world seemed to work and what he was supposed to do here. 

   "I'll be damned," he started as he withdrew a check looking slip of paper which bore his name in the upper left corner and a scripture line that had a written amount of two things; one was the usual currency line in checks but underneath was a second line bearing the label "TIME EXTENSION: Three days." He stared at it as we walked to the school, "What the hell am I supposed to do with this, take it to a bank or something?"

   "Most likely," I answered as I examined the pseudo-check. Looking at it dangle like that in his hand made me think, I mean we'd been here for the same amount of time... how come he already has one of those checks and I don't? Quite confounding at the time though I suppose the answer should've been plain as day but, well I guess that's why they call it hindsight, right? 

   "So Will, what's with you and the little blond?" he smiled at me with a grin of more of that of an annoying pry than an actual friendly one; he still thought Samvel and I had a "thing" for one another.

   "There is nothing to tell, he's a part of a group of wandering kids I joined that asked me to look after him" I replied with cool collection as we walked around the corner and began to climb the last small hill to the school. "He's a friend I guess who has a few issues from his past."

   "Sure..." he giggled, "He follows you around like a sick puppy and the way he acts, are you sure that he's not prostitute or something?" He stopped when I shot him a death glare and balled my fist by my side; he knew he'd struck a cord and that he should back off, so he did. "Easy Will, I meant nothing by it but seriously, the way he acts... it's concerning."

   "You don't know shit," I replied as my fist slowly undid itself as we reached the halfway point. "He has a bad past, that's all you need to be concerned with for now, got that, Jay?" He nodded and so we changed the subject to keep a light mood as we walked as we both hated awkward silences if they could be avoided. 

   "Excuse me, you two there, could we take a moment of your time?" We looked up from our immediate vision of the cracked concrete to see two men in navy blue suits with silver bands around their wrists where most men in suits wore cufflinks. Their hair was slicked back and they wore strange looking shades over their eyes; heh, stereotypical G-men but their suits should've been black.

   "What do you need to know, handsome?" Jay asked with a playful smirk as they approached, "We're just two high schoolers trying to get to school there so whatever it is, be brief or make it worth being late."

   "Why you insolent...." one of the two men trailed off as he approached with a balled fist; the second just seemed to raise his eyebrows and put an arm out to stop the advance of the other man as he grinned. "Easy partner, this one's just being funny, most kids his age are like this these days, remember?"

   "Yeah, only because their parents don't give 'em a good whack on occasion," the first replied tersely as he adjusted his tie in an annoyed manner. "So then, again I shall ask you, can you answer a simple series of questions for us?"

   "Depends," Jay kept at it, a grin plastered firmly on his face, "What... do you want to know and what..." he crept around the men and leaned onto one, finishing his sentence as a playful whisper in his ear. "...is in it for us, eh handsome?"

   "Not having detention or having a docking on your pay and extension here."

   "Ooh, fair enough," Jay frowned a bit but let go as he regained his composure and smile. "Alright, on with it then, what needs knowing?"

   "First off, have you seen this child wandering around town or the woods up in here as of late?" The first gentleman asked as he withdrew a faded photograph. It's worn and yellowed edges attested to the age of the photograph along with the grainy clarity and sepia coloring however, despite this, Samvel could be clearly distinguished in the photograph.

   "Nope, doesn't look familiar at all," Jay answered in a more stoic manner as he pretended to examine the photo whilst keeping Sam out of his mind so as not to give away any 'tells' that he was lying. "To be honest guys, Will and I have only been here for maybe a week or so ourselves, haven't had too much time to wander around, have we Will?"

   "Not at all," I smiled unknowing I had blushed which got a rise out of one of the men and a scornful grimace of the other. "Anything else gentlemen?" I sort of hid partially behind Jay on this one earning another snicker and glare form the men.

   "Sure, are you William Castel Morro?"

   "I... I am, why? Have I done something wrong?"

   "Nope, just dropping off your welcoming check and deposit slip, remember to go down to the Credit Union and cash those in," the first finally softened his expression as he handed me the check and walked by, accompanied by his partner. "Good day you two, be safe and behave..."

***************

   The day had passed uneventfully as I milled about in my classes moving from one to the other, shifting along with the other assumed ghosts like me and the NPCs as Charlie called them until lunch where I met Jay under the willow where I first found out that sadly, he had come to this plain of existence as well. 

   "Hey there Will," he answered between bites of the ham sandwich I had prepared earlier at home for him. "So how was class, like back at home?"

   "I suppose though... I'm worried now Jay," I sighed as he suddenly pulled me down beside him and and held my head in a lean against him.

   "About little Samvel? Yeah, having a fugitive in the house is a little disturbing I guess..." he trailed off for a moment as he bit into the sandwich again. "But, it's also kind of exciting, the most fun I've had since coming here I have to say." I looked at him strangely as he made the comment; fun, how could hiding a fugitive be fun? It was nerve wracking to me if anything but then again... I couldn't abandon him after the promises I made to him, Charlie and by that, the rest of The Gathering either.

   "It is... different," I sighed as I hid in his shoulder. "Jay, I think I'll need your help with this one, your tricks of the past would play nicely to our advantage."

   "Of course," he smiled and playfully nudged me "When have I ever really steered on the straight and narrow?" From past experience, Jay was a troublemaker of the rather... odd but non harmful variety; it fit rather well into his personality now that I think about it. I remember smiling at him as we talked, our lunches slowly disappearing as we casually consumed the food. Our plans was simple for a first move, that being since Charlie and Samvel were important to the group we swore allegiance, we'd help them first. We'd cash our checks after school and pool the funds in order to buy food to maintain ourselves and clothes for Sam to serve as a disguise... Secondly, we'd have Jay serve as a distraction of sorts while Charlie and I would, on a later trip seek in and reestablish his records since he was the most recent member of the group to have his time run out in this world. 

   "You understand the plan, Jay?" I asked as the bell rang for classes to resume.

   "Of course," He smiled as he tossed his trash and walked inside, "Simple and clear enough. Get money and buy clothes for the poor kid and then gather Charlie and go hunting around for info... simple enough."

   "Alright, now go on, we'll meet up later and cash our checks and get home to Sam," I smiled as we parted ways' the thought in my head raced as class wore on. The thought that, my peaceful existence here was about to come to an end and soon, I would feel like a hunted animal; I was becoming one with The Gathering whether I really wanted to or not. "The die has been cast, and the first move made... it's too late to turn back now William, so what will you do?"

   

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