A group of four kids walked single file in the forest during the darkest part of the morning, three holding flashlights with death grips and the fourth dancing in the front without a light." The demons are awake, hungry and hunting. Can you guys hear them?" She called sing-song, teasing the other three who where obviously afraid of being out.

"Aw, Alex, why you gotta say things like that. You know there's been rumors about something hiding out here from the war." A crackling sound startled the boy who had said this, and a girl walking in front of him stopped and took hold of his shirt.

"Mikel, you know that those guys didn't all just get dug in or sent home. Of course there're still people left here from the war."

"Of course you'd say that." Mikel groaned. The girl next to him held onto him tighter and looked petrified.

"Alex, can we stop soon and have a fire. Please?"

"It won't be much longer Cori." Alex seemed to soften, while smiling at the other girl, her bravado unflinching however, she was quickly off leading them to a nearby clearing that had once been used for people in hiding.

The war that permeated throughout these teens speech was two years past and yet still remained fresh in their minds. Most people their age couldn't remember much of their life before the war, and hadn't known much other than the battles always nearby, fleeing from their homes, and hiding fearfully in places like where Alex and her friends were in now. Strangers, alien peoples from a place called "Anderra" had been the only real enemy that people had known for eight long years, and stories of remnants of the Anderrans had replaced the monsters in the closet and wandering killers in wait in the minds of young people.

Alex was efficient at starting a fire, and Cori was quickly calmed down by its comfort. Mikel sat close to her, obviously enjoying his time with her, thoughts of their boogieman no longer a problem. Alex meanwhile watched the group, playing with the fire absently. The only one who seemed to not be enjoying themselves was the fourth member of the group, a boy who was staring at an object he held in his hand.

Looking up from where she crouched, Alex looked up at her friend and begin to chew on her lip. Finally seeming to resolve something, she walked over to him and sat down beside him. Almost imperceptibly, she snatched the trinket -a gold necklace with a heart shaped locket on it -from his hands. Blocking him from grabbing it back, she opened it and frowned with displeasure.

"Dillon, do you remember what you asked us out for?" Her naturally pleasant mood was tainted with a bitter hint. He clasped his hands and hunched over, looking at the ground with his arms resting on his thighs. "Dillon, you said, "help me forget about her" right?" She asked looking over at him "You're going to be miserable forever if you refuse to accept the help we try and give you. If you refuse to look at anyone other than Julie, all you gonna have in that head of

yours is her." Alex gripped the locket tightly and then lightheartedly shoved Dillon to get his attention.

"Thanks for trying to help me Alex. You're a good friend." He said quietly. Alex bit her lip again, seeming to keep something to herself, before hugging him.

"I'm your best friend, so don't forget it, k?"

From the trees, a pair of icy blue eyes witnessed the embrace. They belonged to a boy who looked dead, his skin lacked color to it, accented by hair the same color as ink. He moved silently towards the camp, a look of confusion in his features. He maintained it as he entered the clearing and made his presence known to the four teenagers.

"Hello, sorry to interrupt, but can I have a moment?" Alex nearly jumped when he spoke. The others seemed equally startled by him, but only because they hadn't heard him come in. Alex was startled for a different reason, but wasn't sure what it was that disturbed her about the guy until he spoke up again.

"Sorry, did I startle you kids?" His lips moved, his smile seemed genuine, but Alex's rang with the silence, and told her he wasn't actually making any noise. She looked over to see if anyone else had noticed this, but was dismayed to see that she was the only one. Distrust turned her into and frightening person and made her stand in defiance towards him, making the others worry. "You did, who are you?"

"Oh yes" He seemed to laugh lightly "My name is Damien, and yours?"

"Why are you here?" He smiled sarcastically at her rudeness and without skipping a beat, replied that he was surveying the return of normal animal life to the area.

"Certain unnatural disturbances seem to have been detrimental to the species here." He looked at her mockingly, something she did not respond to well.

"Animals around here are just fine."

"Alex! C'mon, don't be rude to him!" Mikel scolded her. "I'm sure he's just trying to do his job properly." He motioned for Alex to sit down, which she ignored and walked off to the edge of the clearing

"I'm sorry about her; she's not very friendly to strangers." Mikel apologized to the cold-eyed stranger, attempting to be amiable "My name is Mikel, this Cori, Dillon, and as you probably guessed, the rude one is Alex." Damien smiled very warmly and thanked him.

"I hate to have to do this, but could you please leave the area for tonight? If you leave now, I can pretend like I did not see you."

It hinted at something menacing. Wanderers in the forest were supposed to be reported, and taken in, just in case. Not something a group of teenagers wanted to bother with. The campfire put out and all objects gathered in a few moments. As they quickly started out, Damien was politely sarcastic in his reminder of which way the path was for them to take. Alex fought the urge to hit him on the way past, and became all the more on edge when she realized a second later that he was no longer behind her. he must be freakishly fast she thought to herself.

"Human children are idiots these days. Are they not supposed to be afraid of the woods like good little babies?" Damien sneered as he entered a nearby clearing, this one without a fire, but not unoccupied either. A girl with dazzling blonde hair and electric blue eyes glanced back at him with a smirk, so used to his disdain of others that it hardly seemed rude to her anymore. He was not ignored by the second person in the clearing though, a boy with dark skin, eyes, and hair.

"They forget so fast and only care for what they want right now." The girl laughed at him.

"Oh my Ser, careful, keep it censored, Damien's got virgin ears..."

"I'm sure he could hear what was happening in their heads. I don't believe that for a moment. Probably scans it all the time." He continued to tease.

"Of course Damien wouldn't do something like that! He'd find it too impractical!"

"Maybe he finds it a study on human nature..." They smiled at each other. Damien knelt down beside them and presented a blank face. "Glad to be a convenient distraction, but we have work, remember?." They were all silent for a moment, their eyes fixed on a single point in front of them. Many bodies and a single living being occupied the crumbling ruins of a church probably dating back to the early times of their country. At the moment, the small man was eating the intestines of a young woman, her tan skin stained darker with blood was not yet cool. The man shuddered, a sort of ecstasy came over him as he ate.

"Really, you'd think those kids would have heard about how many people came out here without returning" Ser commented as he watched the man eat. "Karikus doesn't even try to hide it. Anyone can come close enough to this place to see the bodies he's got hanging up on the bell tower and still get away without him noticing them."

"Those kids almost did. The clearing they were in was less than 30 feet from where the tower is visible." His lips did not move as he spoke. His sister looked over at him and seemed exasperated. "We wouldn't have to worry about kids if we just killed him now."

"As much as I would love to do that right now, this is our first night of reconnaissance and you know what the council would do if we killed him tonight without reporting and requesting permission to kill first? They would be sure to have us hung by morning. Remember, in their eyes, you and I are basically nothing."

Skye rolled her eyes. "Yeah, I know. I just hate the fact that you just calmly accept that they are prejudice towards us, just because we…!" Skye growled as Damien interrupted..

"It's something that can't be helped just yet. But Damien is right, we have to wait for at least another day." Ser commented, ending their argument.

After a moment or two, Damien sighed, obviously bored calmly declared:

"Fine, we watched him catch and eat one, carelessly display what he's doing, and show an obvious dismissal of their request that he at least be more concealed about it. We can pack up now."

Skye made a small squeal of excitement and quickly closed the camera she was using to film Karikus in the church. Ser smiled and stretched. They seemed weirdly calm and rudely unaffected by the entire situation, seeming to act like a group of kids on a school trip. They wore something like smiles and calm warm looks that friends could share; they did not seem to match three teenagers who had just watch someone their age be tortured and eaten.

They were about to leave when both Skye and Damien stopped. Skye fell to her knees and gripped at her chest, seeming suddenly broken hearted, and Damien looked as if he were listening.

"Dillon, we're going the wrong way! How can that stupid locket be this important?"

The rude girl from earlier, Alex, was the owner of the voice. Damien knew though, that this was not her voice really, but her mind screaming desperately to get the attention of Dillon who seemed determined to go somewhere that was obviously the wrong way. Skye began catching her breathe, "That boy…is so disturbed." She said sounding almost sad, but a small smile on her face. "I wasn't expecting him." She moved to leave but Ser stopped her, looking at Damien.

"They're going to see the tower."

"Yes, and they will most likely continue on and Karikus will get dessert."

"But, the friends who were too afraid to go on their own, will notice that they're missing and will bring people in the morning to search for them."

"And then Karikus will spark witch hunt in the entire area"

It was silently agreed upon that they needed to intercept Alex and Dillon before they could become a problem. Moving silently Damien came within a few feet of where they were running and caught Dillon mid-step.

"Hey!" Dillon shouted falling to the ground, Alex stopping short ten feet away from Damien. For the first time, Damien noticed something strange about her. She wasn't breathing hard, Dillon who was on the ground was nearly dying, but she looked as if all she'd had to do was walk to keep up with him. She seemed suspicious of him as well, and it was beginning to bother him.

"I told you guys you needed to leave. There is a herd of deer over there that will attack if you startle them"

"Deer won't attack." Dillon said dully before getting up and starting to run again. Damien and Alex stood dumfounded for a second.

"Actually they do but…" Alex shook her head and took off again, Damien trying to outpace her without going to fast.

"Really, deer?" She continued. Damien looked at strangely for a moment not completely understanding her comment. "Seriously, who comes up with a lame excuse like deer to get rid teenagers?"

"I'm surveying the area remember, deer are completely viable!"

He didn't finish his argument, because at the same time he and Alex saw what looked like an animal trap right in front of Dillon. Damien jumped to try to catch the kid before he could cripple himself.

"Dillon watch. out…!" She wasn't able to warn him in time, because of a disgusting sound of bones being crushed, and a small spray of blood interrupted her. She sighed with relief to see it was deer-boy that had gotten his ankle crushed. Dillon had been tossed away from it and Damien sat on his butt looking rather angry.

"Aw look, tomato juice." Alex pulled a face, looking like she was going to laugh.

"What!?" Damien was beginning to really dislike this girl.

A/N HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN! I'M SO SORRY! I've had this around since before last christmas...just too lazy to edit! I'm getting my own laptop next monday, but i'm getting friends and family in, plus i have take a exam next week...taken 3 quizes and doing an assignment already this week...i'm gonna die, but here you go!