"I'm just a step away
I'm just a breath away

Losing my faith today
Falling off the edge today

I am just a man

Not superhuman

I'm not superhuman

Someone save me from the hate

It's just another war
Just another family torn
Falling from my faith today
Just a step from the edge
Just another day in the world we live"

-"Hero" by Skillet


c hA p T e rt w o

Of Apples and Vampires

A chill ran up and down Carter's spine.

The wind lashed at his face like the slash of a leather whip. He felt everything in his body go numb. His face. His nerves, and lastly his mind. The questions that had recently been rolling in his mind dissipated, flying away with the strong wind.

He took hesitant steps forward, oddly he was confident in this action even if he didn't know why he was doing it. Step after step, he strode forward, still not questioning why. After he was about halfway through the platform he saw a girl. She had bright red hair that whipped wildly in the wind. Her hair was the most vibrant color he had ever seen, it reminded him of apples and red candy suckers. A part of him wanted to go up to her and taste her hair to see if it tasted as delicious as it looked.

As he observed her more closely he noticed she was around his age and a little shorter. She had beautiful blue eyes that matched the sky surrounding them (which was then that he noticed that he was on the roof of a building.) Her bright hair whipped ferociously in the wind but through her hair he could see her mouth moving. She was saying something. Her eyes were on him, staring diligently, so she must be speaking to him. He tried to shout and tell her that he couldn't understand what she was saying over the sound of the weather but her face showed a confused expression.

He took more steps toward her so he could tell her that he didn't know what she was saying. The distance between them was too much and he soon started running towards her. In a few seconds, as he was only a few feet away she took a step back and fell off of the edge of the building. Carter let out a scream for the girl, wishing that his voice could keep her from falling but, the last thing he saw was the flutter of her tasty-looking hair as she slid to her doom below.


Carter woke with a start. Sweat rolled off of his forehead as he bolted into an upright position. If dreams were meant to be a sign from the subconsciousness, what was his brain trying to tell him? Carter mulled the options in his head, hoping to think of something that it could possibly mean, although to no avail.

"Carter?" he heard his sister, Sally, call from somewhere else in the house. He assumed she was in the kitchen since it was a Saturday morning, the only morning she was able to have breakfast with him because of her strict work schedule. "Is everything all right?" She called out again. Sally always had a problem of over worrying about Carter ever since their parents had died a few years back.

Carter heaved a sigh and rolled out of bed. He dabbed at the sweat on his face with the collar of his shirt as he trudged to the door. He opened the door and took one fleeting look at his room. There was only one change that had recently been added. A black-handled switchblade that he had stolen from the weird guy in the street. Carter couldn't remember his name. Todd? Josh? Neither sounded right. He pushed the memory of the little run-in with danger to the back of his mind, he didn't want to worry Sally.

He took slow steps into the hallway, "I'm fine, Sally!" he called in the direction of the kitchen. "I just had a bad dream was all!" He walked through the apartment and took a quick step into the bathroom. He took one look in the mirror and studied his appearance to make sure everything was still alright with him. His light brown hair was sticking out in a few directions, which reminded him that he needed a hair cut soon. His emerald green eyes looked worn and even darker than normal with the usual grogginess that he suffered from in the morning. Everything was in it's right place, even the pink scar the ran under his chin. Every time he saw the scar it reminded him of the family he lost but it only ever lasted a fraction of a second because as soon as it had popped into his head he suppressed it away in an instant.

He took a quick bathroom break and then walked out into the kitchen. Sally was standing next to the stove with her nose hard-pressed into a book, today she was reading another vampire book, that of the likes he had seen her read everyday, this one particularly had the name of a type of a moon. He wondered just how many vampire themed books there were out there and found it better just to not think about it. There were enough teenage girls invested in that obsession, he wasn't too keen on joining them anytime soon.

Sally looked up when Carter entered the room. "Hey man, good morning," she said in her high pitched voice. She half-smiled at his appearance as he sat down at the little table in the center of the kitchen. She folded the page in her book that she was on and set it on the counter. She took out a plate and scraped some eggs onto it, she added some bacon and hash browns. She also poured him a glass of Apple Juice and set it in front of him. She sat on her respectable side of the table and gnawed at a piece of bacon. Carter as well began to eat his food.

"So?" Sally started. "Did you hear about the three teenage boys from your school showing up dead?" She asked nonchalantly. Carter nearly choked and took a swig of Apple Juice to clear his throat again. "I'll take that as a no," she chuckled. "Anyway where I'm going with this is . . . ." Carter sighed. "It's not that bad, I'd just feel more comfortable if you came to work with me today." Carter looked at her incredulously.

"Wait. Just. A. Second. Who was it that was murdered?" He asked.

"Maksim, Hayden and some guy named Greg." Carter's eyes widened. "I remember hearing that kid, Greg's name before. Wasn't he that guy that got busted for doing drugs on the school campus?" Carter couldn't believe it. A pair of the two most popular guys in school had been killed. He began to wonder who would kill those two. As the shock wore off a bit he remembered that even if those two guys were widely liked they were also hated by many. Both of them were pretty arrogant and had created many enemies over the years but he couldn't imagine either of them doing something to deserve being killed. "Carter?" Sally asked after a few minutes of silence.

"Huh? Oh, yeah, I remember that kid, he got expelled two years ago because some kid saw him smoking pot and then went to the nearest teacher and told on him. No one ever knew what happened to him after that but, he was on his way to being pretty successful in football, though. I heard he lost it all but, I'm not completely sure. A lot of rumors go around school about him. People have even said they saw him beat up a little kid before. I highly doubt it but, he was really close with Hayden whom was pretty close with just about everyone."

Sally nodded in response, sending her golden locks frizzing around her. "It was on the news this morning. They think that the three boys were jumped and then beaten to the death. Which brings me back to . . . . . " Carter groaned again. "Please, just humor me? I don't want you out today so please just come with me? You can bring whatever you want to do with us."

Carter sighed. "Fine, I'll go."