This? This monstrosity is my NaNoWriMo story (50,000 words in thirty days, quite fun). Is it good? Maybe. Is it bad? Quite possibly. Is it finished? Yes. This story will be updated so quickly, your head will spin. Just watch.

Chapter I

Describing the two of them was simple. They were like day and night, almost literally. She was Mireya Morales, a girl with short, golden blond hair and tan, freckled skin. The sun seemed to reside in her brown eyes, and her personality poured forth like a golden aura. He was Nigel Lauderdale, a boy with long, black hair and chillingly pale skin. His steely grey eyes were cruel and distancing, and he seemed like an impassible monolith. Yet and still they were friends, something that many people didn't quite understand. At times they themselves didn't understand it, they couldn't fully separate themselves from each other. They were bound by something…a memory that neither could fully remember.

All they could remember was being five years old, freezing in the rain, hiding in one of those crawling tubes in the playground. What happened before, how they got there neither could remember. The psychologist at the child services office was baffled; their memories seemed to be superbly suppressed to a point were no amount of counseling or hypnotism could bring them up. However, they seemed like normal, healthy children, and with no one else to take care of them, they were put into foster care.

Nigel was only in foster care for three years before he was adopted. Mireya was in the foster care system for ten years then she was taken in by a warm, comforting family. It was at the end of these ten years, that she and Nigel ended up in the same school. There was a bit of a rift between them at school. Nigel already had a group of friends and Mireya didn't quite fit in. She was bright, sunny and accepting, and Nigel's friends were dark, brooding and exclusive. However, outside of school, they were always together. They had different interests, but both had a fascination with old movies, independent films and rock music. It seemed as though they had a bit of a game going on. Who could bring the oldest and most obscure movie ever? Who could find the oldest, dingiest, record with the most socially liberating music?

Mireya knew that at school they could never speak, it was a social taboo and she made her own friends. She also knew that if his friends wanted to go somewhere after school, that Nigel would most likely go, but she had no problem. She knew he would always look out for her in smaller ways. They would always walk to school together, and separate at the gate of their school.

They were both unaware of the person who watched them with interest every morning as the approached the entrance to their school. She was called Toxity, her real name, now one knew. She knew that Nigel preferred to come to accompany the sunny haired girl on their walk to school. Toxity had befriended Nigel, their outlook on life was surprisingly similar. She had bright red hair and piercing black eyes. Her lips were adorned with black lipstick and she watched curiously as the two chatted amiably. Her eyes smoldered with the vengeance of a goddess denied her only wish, why she was angry, she wouldn't quite say.

One morning, as Nigel and Mireya separated for the day, Toxity headed toward the dark haired boy. Wrapping her arm around his, she inquired as to who the girl he was walking with was, although she already knew the answer to her own question. When he dodged her probing remarks she smirked and didn't ask any more. She simply said she had business to take care of and walked away.

Toxity entered a class room and flounced in the teacher's chair. She hated so many things right now, and that girl…Mireya…she annoyed her to no end.

"Rune! Rune! Oh sister dear…" she called. The blonde woman exited the classroom's closet. Rune's soulless blue eyes met her sister's black.

"What do you need, Toxity?" she said simply, her voice mechanical. The younger girl twirled in the chair before leaning on the desk.

"You've taught Nigel and Mireya…what do you think of them?" she asked. Rune looked out the window, seeing everything yet nothing at the same time.

"They're just part of a game," she answered, "A game they know nothing about."

Toxity shook her head, "I knew you'd say that. Buy you forget, we're part of the game too. Do we really know what's going on?"

The older woman didn't respond right away.

"Of course we do," she said. 'Or at least I do,' Rune thought.

Mireya waited for Nigel after school, and when he didn't show up after a few minutes, she started home without him. It didn't hurt her when he didn't show up, she knew that Nigel was busy, and if nothing else he would call her that night. She put her headphones in her ears and popped in her favorite CD as she walked.

Her latest musical discovery was an underground band called Sol Razors. She procured one of their older CDs through much searching and crawling through mountains of old tapes and CDs in the back of the record store. She purchased every one of their albums up until their latest one and she was in anticipation of another. She hummed along as she walked in time with the pulsing drum beat. The girl tossed her short blonde hair as she bobbed her head with the whines of the guitar. Entranced as the music guided her home, she almost didn't notice the tap on her shoulder. She smiled and pulled the headphones from her ears.

"Hey, Nigel. What held you up today?" Mireya asked. Nigel brushed back his long bangs and breathed deeply.

"Well, Toxity and the gang were just talking about going to a movie later…" he said his voice trailing off. Mireya looked down sadly.

"It's that movie that I said I wanted to see over the weekend, right?" she said. Nigel nodded. She smiled brightly.

"You should go, I can go see it by myself," Mireya said. Nigel rolled his eyes.

"You're such a martyr, I'll go see it again with you," he told her, "Besides, it's our favorite actress' mainstream debut."

The girl clapped her hands in delight, "I've only been waiting for Sylvia Whiteman to go mainstream for years! Ever since you found that short film with her as the lead role, I've been hooked to her acting style."

Nigel shook his head slightly as she continued on babble on about Sylvia's repertoire of films. He smirked as he noticed the CD player in her hand.

"You still have a CD player? What's the matter, you can't afford an mp3 player?" he asked. Mireya giggled.

"You know that my family can't afford things like that," she said, "Not everybody's adoptive dad becomes an heir to a multimillion dollar franchise of dishwashing liquid."

He tousled her hair playfully.

"So we're still going to see Sylvia's movie Saturday?" she said.

"Sure," he replied. They came to the railroad crossing.

"Do you want to stop by for dinner, or are you going straight home?" the blonde asked.

"I'll have to go straight home today, but tell your mom I'll be by tomorrow, so she can make those empanadas I like so much," he replied.

"Sure thing," she said and she headed home. They separated, but their thoughts always dwelt on the same thing every time they left each other's company. What drew them together? What was that past memory lay just beneath the surface, so close they could touch it?

"Really? Is this true, Tox?" a girl with long black hair asked as she crossed her arms. Toxity narrowed her eyes in anger.

"Yup, this girl really thinks she has a chance with Nigel," she spat.

"What's her name?" another girl prodded, putting her hands on her hips, her pink ponytail tossing as she tilted her head to the side.

"Mireya, Mireya Morales," Toxity replied. The Gothic-Lolita girls who had gathered around her began to talk of ways to put that happy-go-lucky airhead in her place. How dare she try to push her "purifying" views on Nigel? Who was Mireya to think that he needed to act like there was no evil in the world like she always did? Just who was she?

Toxity smirked. It was fun to start these kinds of things. The red head walked away toward the room where her sister waited for her. Rune was sitting on her desk, talking to a small girl who sat in the front row. The girl's eyes were as blank as Rune's, yet they were a bright and vibrant red. Her hair was grey and pulled into pigtails. She looked over at Toxity as she entered.

"I hear you added more fire into the game," the girl said. Toxity smirked.

"I do good work, don't I?" she said. The girl yawned.

"Yes, but it's a bit mainstream…" the grey haired child answered, "If nothing else he'll end up protecting her in the end. You need to get Nigel to hate her, and I know just how to do that."

She got up from her seat on the desk and closed her eyes. Slowly, the girlish flesh had transformed into the contours of that of a young woman. She was indeed the mirror image of Mireya.

"He won't know the difference, and all I need is to violate the one rule he asked her to keep," she said. Toxity grinned.

"Nigel never wants her to talk to him at school," the red head said.

"I'm going to go a little farther than that," the girl said as she gazed at her reflection in the window.

"It'll set a rift between them," she said, "The bigger the rift, the more leeway there is for my rules. Their game will end soon, and I shall start mine."

Mireya and Nigel parted at the gate as usual. Mireya was instantly accosted by a group of girls with bizarre hair colors. She was afraid of course, but what they said confused her mostly. Something about how she wanted to brainwash Nigel into her "world of conformity." She sighed and went to class once they were done. Those girls had no idea of what really was going on between her and Nigel, and as long as he knew the truth it didn't matter what they said. She sat in her seat waiting for class to start.

Mireya put her headphones on and listened to the mesmerizing lyrics as she tapped her fingers along with the beat. It was her Sol Razors CD again, and her favorite song was playing. It was called "Chaos is Watching You." It had a wonderful, deep base line and a catchy chorus.

"You don't know when it's coming" she sang softly, "You just want to sing the sun again. You just want to know what's going on, watch out!"

As the lead singer spat out the warning "Watch out!" she looked up in surprise. She all of a sudden got the worst feeling in the world, a dangerous, sinking feeling in her heart. It was almost as though someone whispered in her ear "Nigel's in danger!"

Without another warning, she bolted out the door. All Mireya needed was to see Nigel, and then maybe her feeling of dread would subside.

Nigel went to his locker and he was surprised to see Mireya waiting for him. He drew closer, cautiously and hardened his face into a scowl.

"What do you want?" he snapped. She knew the rules, she wasn't supposed to talk to him in school.

"Nigel," she began, "I just have this horrible feeling, I just…if anything happens, I just want you to know something…"

Nigel rolled his eyes in indifference and annoyance. What on earth was she trying to do?

"What is it?" he asked. All of a sudden she was close, her arms around his neck, her face close to his.

"I love you, Nigel," she whispered. Without another warning, she pressed her lips on his. He pushed her away.

"Mireya!" he cried. The bell rang and the halls began to empty. Nigel turned to go, but the blonde girl caught his arm in a vice like grip.

"I need to talk to you!" she said franticly. He pulled his arm away and kept walking. Two hands grabbed his shoulders and slammed him into the lockers.

"I don't think you heard me," Mireya snapped, "I need to talk to you."

A few students stopped to stare. Mireya glared at them.

"What are you looking at?" she shouted. They continued, not wishing to intrude on the quarrel that was brewing. Soon the halls were empty as the bell rang once again.

"Mireya, I'm late, and—" his words were cut off by a harsh punch in the stomach.

"You self-righteous, pig," she said, "You think that you can send your little wenches to come and tell me off for being your friend! For 'brainwashing' you!"

Nigel sank to his knees. It seemed as though this whole thing was happening beyond time and space itself, whatever happened must have really hurt her.

"What…are you talking about?" he said. She slapped his face.

"You know what I'm talking about!" she said. She pulled Nigel up by his collar.

"You won't play games with my heart anymore," she said. She tossed him aside as easily as she would one of her old dolls.

"Mirey…"he began. He stood up shakily. The blonde girl was marching for him, a dangerous look in her brown eyes. In one fluid motion she kicked him squarely in his forehead. Nigel held his head and was almost shocked when he saw blood. His vision was blurred and he was on his hands and knees searching for God knows what in the mass of color that had become the world. He felt someone pull him up by his long, black hair.

"You won't do this to me!" she snapped as threw him to the side. He felt the lockers bend under the force of her throw, and he was certain something in his body was broken. Why didn't anyone come? Couldn't they hear her yelling at him? Mireya was pointing hat him, her index finger glowed with a strange light.

"We've played by your rules, now we play by mine," she said. Nigel closed his eyes. What was going on?

"Nigel!" a voice called. He looked down the hall. It was…Mireya? How could there be two of her?

"So you've come to join the fun?" the Mireya pointing at him said, "Well, it doesn't matter, so long as you both know about my new rules."

Nigel wasn't quite sure what happened after that. It seemed as though his mind phased out at the most inconvenient of times. Next thing he knew, he was shoved out of the way of what he assumed was a laser beam. It was then he saw Mireya's figure crumpled on the floor gripping her stomach tightly.

"Nigel…are you all right?" she asked.

"Reya…" he replied softly. The blonde girl stared down at the two of them.

"Pathetic," she said, "Both of you."

Nigel could barely see as she walked away, but he could have sworn he saw her transform into a girl…a little girl. But that was all negligible now, Mireya was on her side gasping in pain.

"Nigel, I'm sorry…" she whispered, "I'm sorry I broke the rules…but I'm just glad you're safe…mostly…safe…"

With that she closed her eyes as a pool of blood began to form under her body. Nigel reached out to touch her hair, but he couldn't see her. The world blurred once again, became red and then faded to black.

He woke with a start. Where was he? What happened? Nigel gazed about his surroundings. It was obviously a hospital room, he noticed the chart at the end of his bed. He reached up to check his forehead, and felt the bandages over his wound. His vision was still a little blurry. Outside he heard hushed voices. He recognized his mother's voice.

"Who could have done this?" she asked the doctor. Nigel, kept listening to the conversation as he inspected his surroundings.

"We're not sure," he replied. His voice melted into the background as his eyes fell on Mireya. Her skin was deathly pale and she was on a respirator. Just what had happened to her when that beam struck her? He remembered her last words to him. She had apologized for breaking the rules so that she could protect him from her imposter. What on earth was going on? Why did Mireya have to pay for his mistakes?

He pulled up a chair and put his head in his hands. It couldn't end like this! He couldn't let it end like this! What could he do…what could he do to help her? The dark haired boy couldn't find it in him to hold her hand and beg her to come back to him, to come back to the realm of the living. He simply didn't deserve to be the one to bring her back to life. He couldn't just sit there and let her die! Nigel was at a loss as to what to do. Mireya always said that if something was getting you down, you should think about the things that make you happy.

Sylvia Whiteman's films always made him happy, in a gothic teen's sense of the word. They had so many quotable lines. What was that one that he liked so much?

"Love is like a healing shadow," he whispered. The last two words struck a chord with him suddenly. He felt a strange urge to say them again.

"Healing Shadow…" he said softly. Slowly, the darkness that permeated the room moved, gathered, and surrounded his friend. For some reason, it didn't scare him as much as it should have. Instead, it seemed to bend to his will.

"Save Mireya," he said. He wasn't sure what good it would do, but he placed his head on her stomach.

"Please…please…don't die," he said. With that said, he fell asleep.

It was her favorite scene in Sylvia's movie, The Tombs Have Eyes. In it, Sylvia played a high society vixen named Lana, who ran a funeral home and graveyard. In Mireya's scene of choice, Lana invited the man she had fallen in love with to a candlelight dinner at the graveyard. The lighting for the shot was perfect and Sylvia was gorgeous in her black satin dress, and deep red lips. What struck Mireya most was the dialogue. Lana was quick witted and heartfelt, the man she was with equally as sincere, but obviously a little uncomfortable with her choice of location. When her lover asked why she chose this spot for dinner, Lana smiled coquettishly and said, "I find the darkness comforting. I have nothing to hide, but sometimes, I just feel like hiding in the shadows. Love is like a healing shadow for me…"

Mireya opened her eyes. The light of the sun shone through her window. She looked around the room. The blonde quickly knew she was in the hospital. The bed beside her was empty. She exited the room and was about to head down to the head nurse's desk when she saw her parents. The Moraleses were extremely glad to see their adopted daughter alive and well.

"It was just a scratch, Mom," Mireya said. Mrs. Morales shook her head and hugged her daughter as tears began to form.

"You don't know how badly you were bleeding…" she sobbed, "You were so weak, and you could hardly breathe!"

"I feel fine," Mireya replied.

"Have you seen your scar?" Mr. Morales asked, "That might give you an idea as to how badly you were hurt."

Mireya went into the bathroom and took a peak at her stomach. It was a round, circular scar, a little jagged around the edges. She poked her head out the bathroom door.

"It doesn't look bad," she said. Her father narrowed his eyes.

"It seems like nothing now, but the doctors said that you had a hole the diameter of a quarter in your abdomen from the front," he said pointing toward her scar, "to the back."

Mireya looked at her back as best she could in the mirror behind her. Sure enough there was another scar on her back.

"The doctors said that even if you got through the night, you'd surely die sometime this morning…" her father continued.

"Both you kids were beaten pretty badly," her mother said wiping her tears, "What happened?"

Mireya stopped and stared at her mother. What had happened? It all took place so fast, she wasn't exactly sure. She wasn't even sure if she should tell her parents just who had tried to kill them. So what could she say?

"I'm…not sure, Mom. I really don't remember," she replied. The blonde girl knew she shouldn't say anything just yet. Not until she had talked to Nigel. He looked pretty bad when she had last seen him, but from what her dad said, it seemed like he just got up earlier that morning and left with his parents. The doctors were baffled at how he could heal so fast. Mireya was even confused, Nigel had broken his arm several times during his "skater" phase and didn't heal for weeks, like a normal person. He seemed much worse off this time around, and despite that nasty blow to the head, the dark haired boy was up and about. None of this made sense.

"I'll have to call Nigel later," she told herself as she gathered her things.

The two arranged to meet at Nigel's house, and talk about what happened. Mireya was sure he'd remember more of it than she would. Her father drove her over to his large white house and dropped her off in front. Normally, he'd watch her enter in his rearview mirror as he drove away, but this time, he watched her enter from the driveway. Only when she was safely inside did he pull out. Mireya was greeted by one of the house's many maids who inquired after her well being. She said something to the effect of she was fine and needed to talk with her friend. She knew her way to Nigel's living room and headed there.

Nigel was sitting there, his mother balancing her checkbook at the table nearby. He stood up when he saw her.

"Are you all right?" he asked. Mireya nodded dumbly.

"Yeah, more or less," she replied, "I brought by that CD I was listening to the other day, you wanna hear it?"

"Sure," Nigel said, "But we really need to talk."

"Of course…" she replied. She put her CD in the stereo.

"Let me guess…Sol Razors?" he said. The blonde girl nodded. She sat down and tapped her foot on the carpet.

"Oh this is the best song!" she said.

"What's it called?" he asked, trying to lighten the mood.

"'The Labyrinth'" Mireya said, "I love it so much!"

"Focus, Reya," Nigel said softly, "We have to talk about what happened."

"You're right," she said, "But all I remember is…that girl and pushing you out of the way of that…that…"

"Laser beam," he finished, "You saw it too, didn't you?"

"Y-yes…" she said, "And that girl…"

"Looked exactly like you," Nigel said shaking his head, "What are we supposed to make of all this?"

"I'm not sure," Mireya replied, "But…how did we heal so quickly? Why aren't I…why aren't I dead like the doctors said I would be?"

Nigel's mother stifled a sob. The two turned to look at her.

"I wasn't paying attention to the whole conversation," Mrs. Lauderdale began, "But the way you can talk about your near death experience without a hint of fear…it's just so…"

She never finished. Mrs. Lauderdale picked up her calculator and checkbook and left the room in tears. Mireya looked at Nigel in confusion.

"Is she okay?" The girl asked. Nigel looked at his mother's retreating figure.

"Yes, she's just…a little shaken," he said. The two were silent for a few minutes. Mireya was unsure as to whether or not she should talk about her sudden protective impulses and Nigel didn't want to mention his newly acquired healing powers. There were so many questions in the air.

The day was ending, dusk filled the sky with its fire. Something about the song was tugging on their minds, something about the red sky…

"Red sky…" the voice on the stereo sang, "I don't know why, but you are standing, with mysterious eyes."

Suddenly the two friends locked eyes. It was a familiar gesture, but why today of all days did it bring back memories? The music swirled in psychedelic patterns in their minds as a long forgotten piece of their lives played before their eyes.

Nigel had never seen anything like it. In all his short life, the sky had always been black, occasionally painted a navy color by the silver moon and the diamond like stars. Here, where his mother had taken him, the sky was red. The dark haired boy stared up at the sky with his large, grey eyes full of wonder. The sky was on fire! He could feel its warmth on his skin. At home, it was always so cold, the small boy took relish in the fact that somewhere there was a place where you could always be warm, where the very heavens allowed its soft heat to comfort your tired soul. Nigel spread out his arms. Oh, how he loved the feel of this red sky!

"Are you having fun?" a small female voice chirped. Nigel spun around, embarrassed that he might be caught enjoying an experience he had never had before. Behind him he came face to face with a girl, a girl who looked to be from the ruddy heavens herself. All the other girls he had ever known had milk-white skin and light colored eyes that were wide and reflected the light. This girl's skin was a tawny color, her eyes a deep, rich brown. Her waist length blonde hair hung about her face in luscious, shimmering ribbons that Nigel felt he simply must touch. Blonde hair was a rare occurrence where he lived, and his boyish curiosity drew him toward it.

"My name is Mireya, what's yours?" she asked, her delicate pink lips etched in a bright smile.

He looked into her eyes, they were so much darker than what he was used to, but so inviting, so…mysterious.

"Nigel," he replied, "I'm Nigel."

Mireya brought her hands up to her face and gasped. It was part of their past, they were starting to remember. But why? Why now? Had that beating they took awoke some dormant memory? Mireya's shock was broken suddenly when Nigel reached out to touch her hair. The girl assumed that he was apparently still trapped in his revelry.

"Your hair," he began, "Even though you cut it, it's still the same…"

Mireya smiled, "Yours is still as dark as ever, it's just longer now."

Nigel smirked.

"One thing's obvious about our childhood," Mireya said, "Things were…a little different than here. I remember being fascinated by the red sky…it was always blue where I lived, even when it was supposed to be night."

The boy's eyes narrowed in thought, "I remember the sky always being black."

"Where ever we are from, it wasn't here…" she said. Mrs. Lauderdale entered the room.

"Kids, Marcela said that dinner's ready if you want it," the older woman informed them.

The two got up. One thing was certain. They had to figure out who they were soon, for it seemed inexorably linked to why they were being attacked.

Well, that's chapter one. Reviews are appreciated, constructive criticism is loved.