Chapter I

'What's the reason this time?' Seph asked sardonically at the news her parents would be hosting a formal dinner party - a common occurrence at her house. Both her parents were very successful businesspeople, a fact she cared nothing for. The only thing that mattered was the allowance she got every weekend as a result of their success.

'Your father recently acquired a new business partner, and we'd like to welcome him into the firm with a little get-together,' her mother replied coolly. Seph snorted, but said nothing. Not that it mattered to her anyway - she stayed in her room when these shindigs went down. It was just an excuse for her mother to schmooze with pretend friends and social-butterfly her way up in status in the eyes of co-workers. Seph wanted nothing more than to disappear, and thus left her household to wander the streets like an urban misfit.

She noticed a yellow flyer with text that screamed,

'LIVE SHOW TONIGHT!

KHAOS THEORY W/ GUESTS BLISTER, THIS DAY ON, AND MORE!

TICKETS $5 AT THE DOOR

CLASSIC KAFFEEHAUS

DON'T MISS IT!'

The music was not to her tastes, but the coffee shop steamed milk was, so she headed towards the coffee shop that was housing the event. The faint din of a sound check greeting her arrival, the girl went inside.

The interior of the coffee shop was filled with nostalgia from punk days gone by; a gutted VW Bus with the side door removed filled with cushions to her right and a black platform with the band gear to her left. Deeper into the narrow shop were tables and couches with animal skins draped across the back, and the counter with a chalkboard menu behind it. It was crowded, though the line up for drinks was short. Seph quickly received her steamed milk with hazelnut flavouring and found an out-of-the-way table to sit down and people watch from. Most of the crowd wore black and chains, and had metal in the most surprising of facial features, causing her to feel self-conscious in her plain indigo jeans, black shirt, and unpierced face; groups of people were staring at her like she was the freak. Seph resigned herself to peering with violet eyes at people from behind her mug of milk.

At times she had trouble discerning male from female with the variegated hair colours and choice of dress. Seph watched one particularly loud girl with pigtailed black and bright blue dreadlocks flirt with a group of drunken punks. She pulled a cigarette from the mouth of one and took a brazen drag, leaving behind a faint ring of black lipstick. The smoke curled from her mouth like the rings in her lips; curving and silver. Her colour theme seemed to be black and blue; black raccoon eyes with bright blue fishnets over muscular arms, black and blue wispy fabric hair ties, a heavy adornment of black and blue necklaces and chains around her wrists and neck. Most of the girls had a colour theme; black and red, black and green, black and blue. A voice caught the girl's attention, and Seph's eyes moved to the source - a girl (she decided) with a mostly shaved head save for black bangs and three bleached hawks sticking straight up from her skull. This new girl wore a vast multitude of chains as well, though she was more punk than goth with a denim jacket studded with pins and sewn-on patches.

Just as Seph studied a boy with foot-long bright pink spiked hair, the band playing finished and the next one came on.

That's when she saw him. His hair was white fading to black against his pale skin, and his eyes were the faintest hint of blue. Shining steel adorned his eyebrows and lips, and when he took his shirt off his chest boasted three metal bars placed at the sternum, as well as three large flesh staples in each inked forearm. He was tall, but very thin; his hip bones protruding from overtop baggy black jeans and ribs barely concealed by skin. As he tuned his guitar, Seph noticed his nipples were pierced, and wondered where else he might have metal. She blushed at the audacity of her thoughts. She felt the need to go to the washroom and, leaving her drink at her table, wound her way to the very back of the shop. When she returned, the band introduced themselves as being Khaos Theory, and began.

The music assaulted her. The guitar riffs angrily invaded her ears, the bass beating into the very core of her heart. The singer was male with chin length black hair spiked downwards. His eyes were closed, bright red eyeliner rimming the lids, and he was screaming. At the drum kit was the girl she had studied earlier, her dreads whipping around her thrashing arms and shoulders. The guitarist was more heavyset with short cropped hair and black eyeliner streaming down from his eyes and mouth like The Crow. The bassist was the boy she had been staring at earlier, and his skeletal body rocked in time with the notes he was belting out. Sipping at her drink, Seph watched mesmerized as Khaos Theory finished their first song and launched right into the next one. The music, although not what she would normally listen to, was making her feel alive. With one last gulp of the milk, Seph walked along the outskirts of the crowd to get a closer look at the boy when she was suddenly grabbed by the arm and thrown rather unwillingly into a moshpit that had formed in the middle of the floor. The bodies of dozens of people crashing against each other, pushing and shoving, were overwhelming. Chains slapped against her legs, the spikes of several wrist bands poking into her sides as she fought to reach the outskirts of the pit. Seph began to feel lightheaded; the burning sensation that follows standing up too fast.

Perhaps it was the elbow that caught her in the gut, or the drugs someone had slipped into her unattended drink, but for whatever reason, her vision started going black. The last thing she remembered before hitting the ground was being pushed back into the pit, her limp body a buoy in a writhing sea.

Seph woke to her head pounding with each beat of her heart. Slowly sitting up, she suddenly became aware of something crusted onto her hands. The bile in her stomach rose up into her mouth and she puked all over the floor when she realized what it was.

Blood.