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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2. The Gathering

   And so I sat there, balling on what I thought was my mother's floor. My worst thoughts was focused on what my mother would think; I can imagine her up, worried at me not being home, having already read my note and then have the police knock on the door saying that her son's not coming home; not alive atleast. 

   "You stupid bastard!" I screamed at myself, "You should've known better, you should've said no!" I blindly punched the floor in a rage until my hand bled. "Now look what you've done..." I began to cry again, not out of pain, but complete sadness and remorse. "Your mom has nothing to look forward to now, no one to keep her grounded; instead she now has an asshole of a husband to deal with and she has to bury her baby!" 

   "Christ, are you finished yet?" it was him again, "I thought giving you a couple of hours would be enough time to come back and ask for help, but this?"

   "What happened to my friends?" I looked up at the kid, a mixture of hatred and concern in my eyes. He just smiled a devil's grin.

   "From what I heard from the Order's members as they brought you in was the following; two lived, and three dead." He looked me over with a firm expression before brushing the loose hair from my face. "You're obviously dead... as for the others, sorry pal, they didn't mention any specifics."

   "Wait, that's five people, there was only four of us..."

   "You were in a car wreck, that they did mention," he went grim faced, "Got nailed by a trucker you did, the death was instantaneous." 

   "The driver of the truck makes five..." I mumbled, still lamenting over my misfortunes in life, or rather, now in death. There was a gentle repetitive patting of a hand on my shoulder as the other was attempting to console me, atleast, that's what I think he was doing.

   "That aside, come now, before they return with the NPCs." he mumbled as he pulled me to my feet, it was then that I noticed that he was shorter than I, by a little bit atleast. Blindly, I let him lead me up a hill and into the woods. When I was alive, this place was a hangout for all the drunks and druggies at the high school and it didn't seem to different here either.

   "Alright everyone!" he yelled, "Come on out, we've got a new member of the family to greet!" Shortly thereafter, a couple of other kids wandered out cautiously from the brush; a pair of twins with short, sandy colored hair that seemed to resemble straw more than actual hair. A little blond boy was in tow, he was in rags and seemed to be extremely skiddish. There was a girl dressed in black, with long deep colored hair that was somewhere between deep brown and jet black. They each took their respective places on a rock that seemed to form a semi-circle in the center of the field.

   "So, I know your name and you know mine, but let us introduce ourselves properly," he looked around, suddenly showing disapproving looks at one of the empty rocks. "I see a certain someone is late again..." The girl to his left just shrugged in disgust. Looking at me she softened he glare a bit.

   "Who are you?"

   "William Castel Morro," I answered, "Who are you?"

   "Mirabelle Isiah Canton," the girl answered. "Most just call me by my initials though, so you can call Mic if you'd like." Looking around, I began to wander around, becoming familiar with all the other children that held a position on what seemed to be very coveted rocks. The first one I came to was the little blond boy in rags and, just like when he first came into the clearing, he immediately began to squirm around on his rock, showing obvious signs of discomfort in my presence. 

   "Oh, hey, it's alright..." I stopped, quietly soothing the boy, edging closer at a painfully slow pace until I was practically on his rock and could touch him. He suddenly froze up the moment I touched him, then the most terrible thing occurred; he started making these heartbreaking little whimpering sounds. His fragile little body began to shake ever so violently as my hand touched his body.

   "You may want to stop," one of the twins started in.

   "He doesn't let any one touch 'em," the other added.

   "And why is that...?" I smiled softly at him, gently inching closer to the boy. His eyes were a pale bluish-grey that, at one point I imagined could've been once filled with life, but now had left him. He just stared at me with complete fear and distrust in his eyes as his shaking steadily increased. "It's alright... all I want is your name. Can I have that much?"

   "Uhhh..." he quietly dragged out his insecure answer for a bit as he began to rock back and forth on his rock; legs pulled tightly up against his chest, his hands locked firmly around them to keep him locked up in this little ball that he was becoming.

   "You look cold, would you like my sweatshirt?" I asked, shedding my black and grey stitched patterned sweat shirt. I handed it to him and, with some easing encouragement he quickly snatched it and and put it on, smiling at me as he did. "There you go, a bit better?" 

   "Mhmm," he seemed to quietly pur like a cat. As I walked away, I felt a slight tug on my wrist, it was him holding onto me, with a sad and desperate look on his face. "Stay..." he quietly whispered.

   "Holly shit..." Charlie whispered, "He's never done that before..." Everyone else just sat there in silence, watching the two of us, seemingly frozen in place until again he tugged, speaking a little louder this time.

   "Please stay..." he repeated himself, the sadness still present in his eyes. Finally I smiled and let him guide me onto the rock where he settled himself curiously into my lap, smiling up at me as he did. 

   "Care to tell me your name now?" 

   "Samvel..." he whispered, "Samvel Macken."

   "Sounds very... European-ish.." one of the twins giggled, causing the little blond in my arms to blush abit out of embarrassment.

   "Armenian, I believe," the other noted, a finger pressed to his lower lip as he thought about it. Looking down at him he nodded in agreement. Looking at the setting sun, Charlie let out a pained sigh of disappointment, again staring at the empty rock beside him.

   "Let us pick this up tomorrow, it's getting dark," he slid off his rock, "We don't want to get caught here after dark, not safe I'm afraid." With that he waved everybody off as they disappeared into the brush, vanishing like phantoms in the mist. Finally all that was left was Sam, Charlie and me. "Aren't you going to go hide in your burrow, Sam?"

   "Well, I..." he looked up at me, his mouth tenderly biting into the sleeve of the sweatshirt. I knew what he wanted, and the thought of him sleeping alone and outside didn't really appeal to me. 

   "Would you like to come home with me?" He immediately smiled, clinging to my side like a shadow. Charlie just smiled at me as he waved good bye and walked off into the woods. And so, I began my trek back to, well, I guess I could call it my house now, with Sam in tow.

   "For now, until I get everything straightened up, I guess you can have the couch," I sat him down on it, handing him the red and blue blanket that I was hoping to find my mother happily asleep in. "Sorry I can't give you more." 

   "It's more than enough," he hugged me tightly. "I think the gathering will be lucky to have you, you seem like a good guy." 

   "That's what that gaggle of you guys call yourselves?" I giggled a bit with a smile as he let go, lying carefully on the couch as if afraid a sudden movement could break his fragile body.

   "Uhuh," he nodded, nuzzling his head into the pillow, "We are The Gathering, a group of lost kids, who seek to solve the puzzle of why we are here with the hopes of one day, reuniting with our families on the other side." He quickly fell asleep, and when he did, I crept quietly back to my room where I too laid down, waiting for sleep to come. 

   "Why am I here?" I questioned the darkness, "Why are any of us here?" I felt a bit drowsy, so, I let myself drift off to sleep, my thoughts coming to rest upon this 'Gathering' I had been accepted to...

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