NOTE: Credits to Celine and Leah, as well as the always wonderful Becky for reading and editing.

Drip drop.

This is the sound that greeted me.

This is my reality.

I awoke under the evergreen tree, my head throbbing. I stagger up to my feet, cursing under my breath and pain. I looked around. There wasn't another living soul in sight. "What the fu-"

The sounds of tribal flutes and drums interrupt me.

The phone in my front left jean pocket began to buzz and ring. I wearily pull it out, and answer. "Hello, who is th-"

"Shut up and let me explain. There isn't a whole lot of time!" The voice was heavily distorted, sounding like a machine personified. "You have several minutes until it finds you, so prepare your self."

"Until what finds me?" I asked, confused as hell.

"The demon. A Tier 4. And it's out for your blood."

"Wha..what? Okay seriously, this isn't funny!"

"It's not suppose to be. Good luck."

The line went dead. I slide my phone back into my pocket.

"God damnit, I wonder which A-hole friend thought this was funny. Probably Sarah," I mutter to myself, twisting to get the kinks out my my back. I have a strange feeling, a premonition of sorts. "Maybe Mister Distorto had been trying to warn me about whoever drugged my ass…" I yawn. "Man I'm too tired for this crap. Time to bounce," I say to myself, readjusting my hat and scarf before setting out on my way. But something didn't sit well with me. No one would go as far as to drug and drag me back to school, under the exact same tree I hang out for a prank right?

It's nonsense. Absolute nonsense.


The blood curdling roar echoed throughout the halls. I stop dead in my tracks. "Okay, you got me. Real funny."

No reply.

What the hell.

"Seriously bro, I am not amused. The joke's over!." Then I noticed something odd. The sky, it wasn't the normal dark grey I've become accustomed too, but rather a light gold. "Maybe I'm having one of those weird ass lucid dreams," I mused to myself. "But if this is one, where's my giant mecha combat ready to fight some freakin kaiju? Man this is lame." Another roar erupted as if to taunt me. "Oh will you shut the hell up? YOU ARE NOT SCARING ME ONE BIT!" I yelled back annoyed.

No reply again.

Then, the sound of heavy footfalls.

Stomp stomp.

It emerged from the depths of school, rearing its ugly black dog like head. And there were teeth, oh so many teeth with pieces of rotten meat in between. It's torso was huge and barrel like, a stark contrast to its comically small limbs, all eight of them. The monster stood on its two pairs of hind legs, and beat its chest the other four.

I stare at it.

And laugh.

"What the hell are you supposed to be son?" I said, holding my stomach. "You look like a Power Ranger reject. I bet your name is like, 'Beyfonze the Incorrigible' or "Syrix the Invincsiblessed." I couldn't contain myself, this thing was just too ridiculous to be true. "Seriously bro, go back to the Supernatural convention you came from because I think they're missing their token ugly hell spawn fangirl!"

It cocked its head up and down for a few seconds before growling in an unnaturally low voice, "Human, you're not funny."

"Oh look at that, the beast speaks!" I began to clap, shouting "Bravo! Bravo!" before it roared and charged me like an oncoming train. I tried to dodge, but the monster crashed into me, sending me flying a few dozen feet. I hit the ground hard, the glorious sound of bones breaking heralding my arrival. I stagger back to my feet, just in time to juke around another tackle. I took off in a mad sprint, the halls alive with the sound of shoes and paws hitting the concrete. I looked behind me, and saw the beast had taken to all eights in pursuit.

More tribal flutes and drums erupt from my pocket.

I grabbed my phone and answered it.

"IDOIT! WHAT DID I TELL YOU?" The mechanical voice screamed. "I told you to get ready, not make a fool of yourself. You just never learn, do you?"

"Oh my bad. The next time some whack job calls me up saying that a demon that looks it crawled out from the asshole of Middle Earth wants my blood, I'll take them seriously!" I spat back. "And what the hell do you expect me to do anyways, huh?"


"...You're not serious. Even if I could, with what? I don't have a freakin sword or gun on me!"

"The only weapon you'll need is around your neck. Good luck." The line went dead once more.

"Goddamnit godamnit GOD FREAKIN DAMNIT!" I curse loudly as I put the phone back into my pocket. I dive into a corridor and press my body against the wall. The monster galloped past, apparently not noticing my new hiding spot.

A heavy sigh escapes from my body as I sat down for breather. Stupid me.

I hear it stop and roar. I get up and begin to run once more as it appears in sight, looking extremely pissed. I yelp as it lunges from behind, pinning me against the floor. "Little bird, did you honestly think you could escape me?" The creature rears one of its arms, steely claws unsheathed. "Good night."

I closed my eyes. Regrets and desires filled my head like a symphony of locusts flapping their wings in unison. But above all that noise, one thought rose, radiant like the forgotten sun.

I want to live…

"I want to live," I begin to chant, defiance rising with each repetition as tears rolled down my cheeks.. "I want to live. I want to live. I want to LIVE!"

The monster laughs a brutal laugh.. "Are those the magic words signalling the changing tide? Are you going to surge up and strike me down? Just stop resisting, and let me end this little fox!" With a mighty roar, the monster brought its giant paw down, aimed straight for my neck, I brace for impact, shutting my eyes once more, still chanting.

I never thought I'd go out like this. A final thought forms in my head, appearing like burning ink.

Amber, I'm so sorry...

And then...nothing.

I opened my eyes to find that a red fabric had wrapped around the beast's claw, restraining it despite the immense struggle to be free.. I trace back the fabric's origin to find it was coming from my neck.

My scarf, to be exact.

It releases the claw before slamming into the beast's chest, knocking it off me. I get up and I hear a chime from my pocket. I pull my phone out and a text appears on screen. It reads:

"Don't just stand there, grab the scarf and FIGHT!"

I grab my scarf and with a single motion unwind it from my neck. Before me, the monster rises to its feet.

"Nice to see you've got some fight in you little fox. Make this interesting for me!" it calls out to me, a big toothy grin on its face.

"Um, yeah, you too…I guess." I say, trying to disguise the fear and confusion in the my voice.

I look down at my scarf, and whisper "Hey, can you transform into like, a sword or something?"

As if on command it began to twist and turn in my left hand, forming into a scarlet red cutlass with a little strand of cloth trailing from the bottom of the hand guard.

The blade was long and slender with a slight curve. It makes sharp metallic noises and creates sparks when I strike it across the ground. I twirl it around my fingers before going into a combat stance. With my left foot in front of my right, I raise my arms and hold my sword in front of me diagonally, ready to cut.

"Come at me you son of bitch," I yell, trying to sound tough.

The monster beat its chest like a gorilla and charges me, uttering a war howl.

I dodge roll to the left, a little surprised in my newfound agility but I didn't take a moment to revel in it when I got back on my feet. I swing my sword horizontally, cutting the monster on its side. It turns and utters a low growl before launching a flurry of swipes. I backstep out of the way before surging forward to stab it. It connects, piercing the beast in abdomen. It cries out in pain, and a frenzied look forms on its face. It slugs me in the gut as I pull the sword out, and I'm sent skyward. I hit the ground and barely roll back up on my feet before it rushes me. It brings a claw down aimed for my head, but I bring my blade up to deflect it. Another one comes from my right and slashes my side. I grunt in response but I don't let it slow me, Instead I backstep to avoid another claw and bring my blade down upon it, cutting it clean off. I proceed to cut another, reveling in hearing it fall to the floor.

The beast reels back, and looks at its two remaining arms.

"Time to get serious, shall we?" It laughs, and then two blades seem to sprout from its back. It grabs them and clangs them together, and lets out another howl.

"Holy hell, if you can do that then why not start the fight like that?" I asked, trying to collect my breath.

"I thought I wouldn't need to. Now come on little fox, FACE ME!" it roars loudly.

I sigh before charging at it in speed I didn't think I was capable of doing. I swing my cutlass horizontally but the beast blocks with both of its blades, locking our swords together.

"Think you can best me in a contest of strength?" it says to me, a slight tone of excitement in its words. "Come on, give me a challenge!"

"Sure...I guess," I reply wearily. Great, I get stuck fighting a masochist I think to myself.

I push forward with my right hand behind the sword's blade, putting all my strength behind it.

Strength I didn't even know I had.

Slowly but surely I begin to overpower the monster, but just when I think I'm done, it breaks the lock and aims one of its swords at my head. I duck, but the other sword comes at me from the right so I roll left, narrowly avoiding it. I pop up and deliver a hearty kick to one of its legs, causing it to buckle. It turns to face me, swinging one of its swords. I block and backstep, before jumping at it, sword pointed downward. I plant the blade in the monster's head and begin to stab rapidly. After a few moments of frantic waving, it knocks me off and onto the floor. I get up and see a big bloody gash where its right eye was. I could tell it was daze, and decided to take the opportunity to finish it off.

I feel power building up in my body, a sensation both alien and familiar. I dash towards the monster and deliver a flip kick to its jaw, launching it skyward. I jump up to slash it, but instead my cutlass turns back into a regular scarf and wraps around it. I begin to spin around the monster, enveloping it in a whirl of red.

I myself was nothing but blur.

When we reach the apex of our ascent, the scarf unravels and turns back into a cutlass. With all my might, I cut straight through it, touching down before both halves of its body land next to me.

"I guess I'll call that...Twist of Fate," I muse breathing hard, before collapsing, hitting the concrete with a light thud. The sword changed to back to its original form and wrapped around my neck.

The rain overhead intensified but I welcomed it with open arms for its cool touch rejuvenats my tired body.

Drip drop.

"Reckless and sloppy, but otherwise not too bad for your first time. I suggest building up more stamina. You'll need it," a voice comments, heavily distorted.

I look up, seeing what appears to be a rip off of a certain Dark Lord. The figure's wore jet black armor, with a matching cape and a helmet in the visage of a bird of prey. His (I think it's a guy) arms were crossed, and his right foot was tapping impatiently.

"So, I'm guessing you're the guy from my phone," I say, slowly getting up.


"Mind explaining what the hell is going on here?"

"Not really. How about tomorrow? You look tired."

"Okay. Second question: How the hell am I supposed to leave?"

"There's an app for that on your phone. It's called Charon."

"Like the ferryman?"

"Yeah. Like the ferryman."

"Um…alright then." I pull out my phone, and sure enough there's a new app with a picture of a simple canoe that had the title "Charon" underneath. "One last thing before I go."

"Are you going to ask for my name?"


"They call me...Ishmael."

"Of course they do," I reply, facepalming on how cliche it was. "See you around...I guess." I click the app on my phone.

And the whole world fades to black.