"Have you guys seen the new guy?"
"No shit. What's with the mask?"
"I bet he's got a scar or something."
"Mask or no, he's weird. He doesn't talk and he doesn't have any friends."
"Maybe he thinks he's too good for us?"
"Then he'd better get his shit together. Because as far as I'm concerned, we are too good for him!"
"You said it!"
Luna Nightshade ignored the rest of the conversation, turning another page in her textbook. The new student had been the talk of the college for most of the morning. At first, he was described as the "cool, silent type". But as the day wore on, rumors of what was hidden behind his mask floated between students like leaves in the wind. At first, Luna just smiled and snickered along whenever her friends had brought him up. Now, she was getting tired of them slandering someone they knew nothing about. Perhaps the mask was just his way of feeling secure in a new place surrounded by cruel people. There could have been a number of reasons.
Trying her best to keep her focus on her book, Luna couldn't help but furrow her eyebrows in annoyance as the group continued.
"I bet he's got gum disease or something."
"Sounds legit. I would want to hide my face too if it was-"
"Hey," she finally snapped, rising to her feet, "why don't you guys just shut up already! Just because someone is a little different doesn't give you the right to treat them like shit."
The girl nearest to her gave a small chuckle, "You're one to talk, little miss "I don't care about anyone besides myself". If you think the new guy is so normal, why don't you go talk to him?"
Luna glanced across the classroom where he sat. He wore a green hoodie, baggy jeans, and simple looking sneakers. The hood had been pulled up, concealing any hair he might have had. What stood out most, however, was his white mask. It was a simple thing, oval in shape with a pair of holes that stood for eyes and a thin line that she assumed was a mouth.
"What's the matter, Nightshade," she returned her attention to her friend, "scared?"
"Of course not," she snapped, "he's just a normal guy and I'm going to prove it!"
He sat at his desk, his arms crossed and his eyes closed behind the mask. Off to his left, he could hear some girl snickering about him. He paid them no heed. He was used to the curiosity that hovered around his mask. Every school he had been in, there was at least one group that wouldn't let him forget how different he was. How...abnormal his mask was. Why would college be any different?
"He's just a normal guy and I'm going to prove it!"
Upon hearing the outburst, he opened a single eye and glanced over at the group. The girl who had been studying near them had risen to her feet and began to approach him slowly. She wasn't that tall; she probably would have reached his shoulders had he been standing. She wore a deep purple long sleeve that stopped mid-drift. It hung off her shoulders slightly, revealing even more of her pale skin. Her jeans disappeared into a pair of leather boots that stopped halfway up her calf.
Her hair was short and blonde, laying in uneven chunks around her head. Silver storms served as her eyes, not exactly light blue but at the same time not dark gray. Beneath her left eye was a black reversed crescent moon tattoo. It wasn't very large, yet it stood out drastically.
As she approached, she tilted her head and allowed a look of confusion to overtake her. He guessed she was trying to think of a conversation starter. Or perhaps she thought he hadn't noticed her approach him. Either way, she remained silent.
Clearing her throat, she took another hesitant step towards him, "H-hello."
He slowly turned to gaze at her, noting how she seemed to freeze. Had she seen his eyes through the eyeholes? Perhaps his sudden movement startled her.
"Hey," he replied softly, "how's it going?"
She relaxed a little, straightening up to her full height, "Good," still moving cautiously, she took a seat in the chair next to his, "how's it...going for you?"
He shrugged, "As well as can be expected."
She nodded, "Sorry about my friends. They can be a little-"
"It's cool," he cut her off, giving a sigh, "I'm used to it."
She fell silent, unsure of what to say next. She had not expected to get that far, honestly. The fact that this boy was speaking to her was a miracle in itself.
She glanced at him, "I beg your pardon?"
"That's my name," he said, turning towards her, "Cry Aotic."
Blinking away her surprise, she gave him a small smile and held out her hand, "That's a cool name! My name is Luna Nightshade."
He took the hand and shook it just as the professor walked in.
"Ah, it's good to see you making friends Mr. Aotic," he glanced over at Luna, "perhaps you'll be a positive influence on Ms. Nightshade."
Scowling, Luna returned to her seat and proceeded in listening to the lecture. Every so often, she would glance over at Cry, who remained engrossed in his textbook. As she returned her gaze back to her own book, she noticed a small piece of paper. Opening it up, she instantly recognized the fancy handwriting as her friend's.
Wow it speaks lol I didn't expect you to actually talk to him. He's still weird though. Looks like you two have more in common than you realize.
Scowling, she crumpled up the note and shoved it in her bag. Glaring at the girl, she noticed her giggling. Taking a quick glance at the professor's back, she flipped her off.
"Professor! Luna keeps flipping me off," the girl exclaimed, "and I didn't do anything!"
"That's it, Ms. Nightshade," he said sternly, "please leave my class. And do not bother coming back."
"What," Luna snarled, rising to her feet, "this is bullshit!"
"That right there! That damn temper of yours has caused enough problems in this class. It is going to dig your grave one day. Now, please leave."
"Whatever," she snorted, "I already know all this shit anyways."
As she gathered up her things, she noticed Cry looking in her direction. Avoiding his gaze, she stormed out of the room. Scrounging for her car keys, she didn't bother to move for the other students she passed. She ignored their confused shouts of complaint and intimidation. Bursting out the front door, she pulled out her key chain and proceeded to walk towards the back of the lot where her car was parked.
"Why am I so surprised," she asked out loud, "I think I find some good friends, we have some laughs, and then they toss me aside," she sighed, "Face it, Nightshade, nobody appreciates weird these days."
"Holy shit," she screamed, jumping at the sound of the new voice, "what the fuck, Cry!"
The boy gave a throaty laugh, clutching his sides, "I am so sorry. Didn't mean to scare you."
"There's scared...and then there's-"
"Scared shitless," he asked, still giggling, "am I right?"
She took a deep breath, "Shouldn't you be in class?"
He shrugged, "Like you said. I knew all that shit anyways."
Luna chuckled, unlocking her small vehicle and throwing her stuff on the passenger seat.
"You going home then?"
"Yeah," she nodded, "I've got to get ready for work tonight."
"Where do you work?"
"At JCPenney. I'm a photographer there."
"You like photography?"
She nodded, "Hey, do you need a ride home?"
He chuckled, "Sorry, mommy told me never to give my address out to possible pedophiles."
She gave him a perplexed look, "Fine then. You can walk your happy ass home."
"Aw come on, don't be like that," he said, laughing some more, "move your stuff."
She obeyed and got in. Turning the key in her ignition, the engine gave a few short coughs before dying. Taking a deep breath, Luna slammed her forehead onto the wheel.
"Well then," Cry gave a nervous chuckle, "beautiful day for a walk, isn't it?"
Not saying a word, the blonde left her car, locked it, slammed the door, and stormed off. Not wanting to anger her further, Cry merely followed in silence.
"So," she asked after a few minutes, "what's your story?"
"H'oh no," Cry chuckled, holding up his hand, "I don't share my back story. If I did, you'd throw me in a mental institute."
Shrugging, Luna gave a chuckle, "You act like I'm the perfect person."
"Well, I'm sure you are in your own way."
"That's sweet," she smiled, "delusional, but sweet."
Cry fell silent, making Luna wonder if he was smiling. Glancing up, she watched the cloud twist themselves into unique shapes. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see her new friend doing the same. Smiling, Luna wondered if this is what it was to truly have a good friend.
Suddenly, she stopped. Cry, not noticing, walked on and left her behind. Luna stood still, listening to the wind as it whispered to the trees. But there was something else there as well; a low growling sound that didn't remind her of any one creature. Turning, she searched the treeline for whatever was putting her on edge.
She blinked at the sudden voice. It was soft, like a lullaby, yet it had an animal-like purr to it.
Nobody will miss you...you'll feel better...it's easy...just do it...
She could feel the voice pulling at her, urging her into obeying its every command. Giving her head a shake, she could feel its hold loosen. However, as soon as she blinked, it was at it once again. This time, when she glanced up, she was met with a horrifying sight. It was HUGE with a sloping back and giant hands and feet. A wide mouth, lined with razor sharp teeth, gave a purr as it slunk towards her. It's back seemed to be covered with red scales, bone-like spikes on each of its sides. On each of its four, skeletal fingertips was a gruesome looking nail. It didn't seem to have any eyes, and that terrified her.
By now, the thing was a mere four feet away from her. The closer it got, the louder the whispers became. Its mouth, however, didn't move.
So many ways to die...which to choose...you should do it...they don't understand you...they never will...
Giving a cry of fright, Luna ducked beneath a swipe from the creature. Turning, she took off down the road. Glancing up ahead, she could see Cry walking ahead. Did he really not see the creature? Glancing behind her, she could see the thing racing towards her. When she faced forward, however, she could see that her friend had turned around.
He stood still as a statue, staring in her direction.
"Cry," she screamed, "run!"
But the boy didn't move, rather he pulled his hood off. Luna nearly gasped in surprise at the chocolate hair. Reaching behind him, he grasped the hilt of the short sword which had been hidden beneath the hood. The blade itself was no longer than his forearm. As soon as Luna reached his side, he shoved her behind him.
"Luna," his voice had become grim, "close your eyes."
Sinking to her knees, the blonde obeyed. Squeezing her eyes shut, she covered her ears with her hands; however, even the pressure behind her palms could not block out the squeals of pain. She could hear the sounds of blood spilling across the pavement; gallons of it. Within seconds, the noises stopped making Luna wonder if she had crushed her ears from squeezing them too hard.
"Luna," she jumped at his touch, giving a small squeak of fright, "it's okay now."
Opening her eyes, she screamed in terror at the sight of the creature's mutilated body before her. Glancing up at Cry, she shivered in fear. His mask had dark black blood splattered across it, along with the rest of his clothes. His blade was gone, once again hidden beneath his hood.
"Are you insane," she screamed, leaping to her feet, "what the FUCK was that thing?"
Giving a sigh, the boy rubbed the back of his head before continuing, "It's called a Misunderstood. Suicide Demons, to be more precise. They have no eyes, but they're attracted to the scent of depression. They also have very persuasive telepathic abilities."
Luna, now slightly calmer, nodded, "I heard them. It was like this hand was pulling on my mind. I felt like crying."
"That's what they do," he said, nodding back, "they persuade humans to commit suicide, and then they feed upon the souls. They're very picky about their food though. You'd have to be pretty depressed to get their attention."
"I'm not depressed though," Luna scowled, crossing her arms, "why did it come after me?"
Cry merely shrugged, "How the fuck am I supposed to know? I just kill these things."
"Speaking of which," she glared, "who the hell are you, anyways?"
"I told you. My name is-"
"Don't be a smartass," she snapped, "I'm not in the mood."
He fell silent, thinking of all possible outcomes of telling her the truth.
Finally, "I am a part of a secret organization called D.E.A.D Corp."
He nodded, "Demon Exorcism And Deportation Corporation. We are in charge of sending Demons back to Hell."
"There are hundreds of operatives stationed around the globe," he explained, "I'm part of a three man team stationed in this area."
"Why are you here? What's so special about my town?"
He sighed, "The Misunderstood levels have increased dramatically in this area. They've begun to attack people who have little to no depression, including you."
She raised an eyebrow, "I thought you said you didn't know why it attacked me."
"It's just a theory," he held up his hands defensively, "I'm not 100% positive....more like an optimistic 97."
She smirked, earning a chuckle from him, "So why are they attacking people?"
"We think one of our ex-operatives is leading them with the promise of souls. He's been eluding our forces for months now. My team is certain he's hiding out somewhere around here."
Rubbing the back of her neck, Luna turned away from him. this was all so much to take in. Demons. Slayers. Secret organizations. What else could possibly surprise her?
"What I don't understand," Cry continued, "is how you were able to see them. They're invisible to all humans except for D.E.A.D operatives. And we've been trained for months to see past their magic, and yet you act like it was as natural as breathing," he leaned in close to her, inspecting her face carefully, "you're not half Demon,are you?"
"No," she scowled, "look, I just want to go home."
Nodding, Cry looked up to notice the sun disappear behind a hill, "I'll walk you home."
She smirked, "Sorry, mommy told me to never give my address out to possible pedophiles."
"Would you rather give it to the Misunderstood?"
He watched them continue down the road, his silver eyes resting upon her. How had she seen his creature so easily. She was not of Demon heritage, nor was she an operative, yet her vision tore through the magic like a hot knife through butter. Growling told him another creature had appeared beside him. He turned, his cloak barely moving. The creature gave a few grunts and a hiss, clenching its fist.
"Don't worry," his voice was soft, yet had a deep undertone, "we shall avenge our fallen brother. She is the one we seek. But beware," his gaze traveled to the boy, "he is not to be trifled with. I'm surprised they let your team come here, Cry. But it all counts for not. The Lunar Soul shall be mine....and your pathetic organization shall fall into despair," he began to slowly back into the shadows, "and feed my army."