“Sooner or later you’re going to realize that you made a mistake trusting a bunch of idiots!!!” Alison screams out of the classroom as we walk away.

“I’ll get on intercom,” Ernest says, “where’s the broadcasting room?”

“Up two floors, down hallway F, at the fourth classroom on the right,” Kal recites.

Ernest goes running off upstairs while Kal and I return to the infirmary.


“Has she always been that…?” I ask Kal as we arrive.

“For sure.”


Phoenix is standing in the infirmary, looking over Ed Terrell, his body covered in this dark substance. A heart monitor is hooked up to Ed, it giving a peak every few seconds.


“Wait what the fuck?” Kal shouts.

Phoenix doesn’t react, doesn’t even twitch. “I thought you said he was gone…” I say slowly.

“He is gone. What the…”

Mesa Wyatt.” a otherwordly voice suddenly says.

Kal disappears from my side, and the room falls away until I’m standing in a black abyss.


I want to talk to you again, Mesa,” the voice says. Based on what it sounds like, I can infer that it’s… Ed Terrell. But I’m pretty certain it’s not, part of me wants to be pretty certain it’s not, but another part of me knows.


I don’t have much time left. To talk to you, and to live.

I’m shaking, my heart beating at a probably dangerous rate.

My sister has me. She’s gone insane. Because of the other two Helens. They’ve tortured her beyond repair. They’re trying to turn me into a superhuman warrior capable of destroying all of the worlds.

The abyss begins to shake, and three different female shouts echo through the space.

"Find me in DC. I believe in you Mesa. Now hur-"

The abyss collapses, and I fall flat on my face. Next thing I know, I’m lying on the floor of the infirmary with a bleeding nose.


(Okay, would it be good if I announced beforehand that I have plans to make this whole thing an elaborate trap to get Mesa to the DC area, which is currently under Darkling capture, and also Ed is a darkling now? Good plan or no?)


(I like it, let’s do this thing)


“Ed was in there!” I scream. “He’s in DC, we have to help him!”


Kal, who’s standing over me concerned, squints. “Oh god Mesa. Come on, let’s get your nose taken care of first, then we can discuss your crazy visions.”

She lifts me to my feet, and forces me to sit down on one of the beds.


I don’t want to, I can’t. I care too much about him. I can’t just do this, I can’t just abandon him like this.


I stand up as soon as her back is turned, ripping off part of the sheets with sudden strength to cover my nose, and running from the room. My feet fly across the tile floors, my heart still beating at a probably dangerous rate. More blood gushes from my face as I tear around the corners, trying desperately to find an exit to the parking lot. I hear Kal chasing after me and shouting, but I keep moving faster.

Finally I find a door, and fling it open. The sun hits my skin, and I sprint across the parking lot to a car. Luck or some crazy shit must be on my side, because the idiot who owns this car left their keys lying in the middle of the driver’s seat. And also kept the doors unlocked. I scramble inside, and am soon flying away from the school.


Of course, I’m not an idiot. I know I can’t get from LA to DC in a car fast enough. Buses have the same problem, as do trains, and you obviously can’t take a boat. That leaves me with one form of transportation left - planes.

There’s just one problem. LAX closed two days ago and hasn’t reopened since, due to the Breach.


“No way Mesa Wyatt. You just stole someone’s car. That’s bad enough. You are not stealing a plane. You can’t even fly.” I say to myself, thanking Ernest silently for secretly teaching me to drive when we were still part of that cult.

The roads are pretty much deserted. As I near a gas station, I begin to feel light-headed. I’ve lost too much blood. “Good going Mesa. Now you’ve got to stop.”

I pull into the gas station. It’s closed to no one surprised. Instead of doing the good thing, logically thing of looking for another one, I kick open the fucking door.


This breaks the door off its hinges, and it’s right then when I realize that Ernest might’ve given me the teleporter? I go to check my pockets for it.


My hand hits something. I eagerly pull it out. Nope. It’s an actual wallet. I open it, hoping for maybe just a bit of money. Nothing. Empty. Angry and dizzy, I stumble into the bathrooms. I splash my face with cold water, and then sit against the wall holding toilet paper to my face. I lose track of time, for like the millionth time that week, waiting for the blood to stop pouring.

Eventually, I must have passed out, because I hear shouting, making my eyes shoot open. It’s not Kal, since her shouting in permanently ingrained in my brain by now. I shakily rise to my feet and walk out of the bathrooms.

A girl probably about nineteen is pulling smokes down from their shelf behind the counter. Her hair is dyed bright purple and black, with streaks of white. She’s wearing a black leather jacket.

“Umm hello?” I say awkwardly.

She turns around, and I swear to god, I’m looking at the most stereotypical goth ever. All her clothing is pitch black, same with her makeup. “Oh hey! Were you the one who broke open the door? I gotta thank you for that. Hard to get some of these right now, what with pretty much everywhere being closed.” her voice is high and cheerful.

“Uhh yeah that was me. I’m sorry, who are you?” I ask, a little shaken. I don’t even notice my nose has stopped bleeding.


“It’s Ashley. Ashley Taylor. You can call me Ash if you want,” the girl says, smiling. “You?”

“Oh, I’m Mesa Wyatt,” I say, awkwardly standing up.


“Oh I’ve heard of you. Yeah, you went missing aaaaaaages ago.” Ash says, swinging herself over the counter and walking over to the candy.

“Yeah, that sounds about right.” I laugh awkwardly.

“I heard a rumor that you had something to do with the crazy shit in the sky.”

“Sounds right again.”

“You know, most people think that it’s scary. But me, I think it’s hella cool. Know anyone from those places Mesa?” Ash stuffs some candy into her jacket, and heads over to the bakery-esqu part of the gas station.

“A couple yeah…”

“Cool! Where ya’ headed, with the probably stolen car?”

“DC… My best friend’s stuck over there…”

“Ouch. I’ve heard some bad things about what’s happening out there. But, most of the country is in chaos too. How you planning to get there Mesa?”


“I don’t know, plane?” I ask, honestly wondering how I’m supposed to get out there. “Who’s your best friend?”

“Helen Terrell,” Ash responds. “Met her online in Discord chat, hit it off, video chatted some, met up IRL once or twice… Of course, that was before she went missing…”


On purely reflex, I draw my sword and throw it at Ash. It hits the wall less than an inch away from her head.