A figure knelt down in a poor lit hallway, the florescent lights above him hummed as they flickered off then on. The rest of the lights were out, probably shot out by wild gunfire. He slid his hands against his black tactical pants, fished out a spare magazine from his pocket and discarded the spent clip from his military grade assault rifle. He closed his green eyes and sighed, running his glove covered hand through his spikey light brown hair.
"Get up Chris, get up and get out of here," he said to himself as he looked around the blood-stained hallway. A chorus of dry, raspy moans echoed down the hall towards him. He raised his rifle as a human figure lurched slowly into the light, his, for lack of a better term, clothing was torn apart; dried blood covered his shirt and his mouth.
"Dammit, I thought I had more time," he growled and pulled the trigger…except the gun wasn't in his hand. Chris scrambled backward, tripping over the very gun that he was holding just a second ago. The creature tripped over its own feet and fell face first onto the cold hard ground. It dragged itself across the ground, grabbing hold of Chris' boot as it stared at him with its white, lifeless eyes.
"Chriiiiiiiis" it moaned, pulling itself on top of him. "Chriiiis….Gale…tto" it moaned again as it sunk its teeth into his leg.
"No!" Chris yelled, kicking his leg out as his eyes shot open. He was not in a post-apocalyptic hallway; he was sitting in his last period US history class. The zombie that was about to devour him was standing right in front of him, except it was his teacher, Mr. Maloney.
"Perhaps you'd care to enlighten us as to the war of the Gods?" he asked, smirking confidently and arching his eyebrow.
"Uh," Chris hesitated for a second. "Well, there the Titan Chronos had three sons, Hades, Zeus and Poseidon and they uh, it's a classic tale of the sons craving the power of the father and symbolizes the struggle all sons face, are they strong enough to take the place of their father? "
" Interesting take Mr. Galetto, but if I catch you sleeping in my class again, you're getting detention," Mr. Maloney turned and walked back to the front of the class. The bell rang shortly after and Chris grabbed his notebook, dropped it into his drawstring bag and raced out of the room. He bobbed and weaved his way through the hall, passing confused freshman and other underclassmen in order to reach his locker. He emptied his bag, grabbed the few books he needed and took his grey and navy hoodie out and slipped it over his uniform. He closed the locker behind him and loosened his red tie and unbuttoned his light blue shirt.
"Ugh, where is she?" he asked, looking at the clock in the hallway. "The line's going to be massive…" he grumbled.
"I'm coming, I'm coming!" Amanda called out as she squirmed her way through the sea of underclassmen. She brushed a strand of her light brown hair out of her eye and straightened out her uniform top. She looked up at Chris and breathed a sigh of relief. "What are we waiting for? Come on, let's go," she asked, smiling playfully at him. Chris tilted his head and ruffled her hair.
"Yeah, yeah. Let's go" he laughed and walked over to the staircase. "So, wanna play at your house?" he asked.
Amanda shrugged and looked up as she descended the stairs next to him. "Yeah, mom and dad are out at a dinner party. They figured we'd be playing all night so they left us money for dinner. I'm thinking, sushi," she replied.
Chris nodded in approval as they exited the stairwell and out to the student parking lot. "I can't believe that thing runs," Amanda teased, pointing at the turquoise station wagon. It wasn't flashy but it was all Chris could afford. He got a good deal on it and busted his ass for the last two summers to get enough. It was his baby.
"At least I have a car - you be nice to her," he replied with a small chuckle.
It was a short drive, just a few minutes later they pulled into the parking lot. Chris slumped in his seat at the size of the line outside the game store. "Crap. Think they'll have enough?" he asked as he pushed the car door open.
Amanda shrugged and straightened out her grey skirt. "Aw man, why is it so crowded? Isn't anyone in school anymore?" she complained with a huff. Chris wanted to point the irony out to her that they were just juniors and normally would still be in class at this time. But he thought better of it and just shook his head, smiling at her "Well let's go. The sooner we get in line, the better." She closed her door and jogged over to the line quickly and he followed after. Who knew this new PS2 game was going to be so popular? They killed time, talking about anything and everything that came to mind. Time passed quickly and they were out of the store with a copy of the game in hand. Amanda practically skipped back to the car and waited for Chris to get into the driver's seat.
The next few hours passed by, most of it spent playing. Amanda had changed out of her uniform into a pair of relaxed pants and a t-shirt while Chris just sat there in his white undershirt and uniform pants. "Wouldn't it be cool?" Chris asked as he looked up from the game to Amanda.
"What?" she asked, before placing a piece of sushi into her mouth.
"If this was all real, like this is the reason the Greek gods are gone," he said with a small grin. Amanda shook her head and laughed.
"Who said it didn't happen like this?" she asked, teasing him.
"Oh come on, it's possible!" he laughed, putting the controller down and throwing a chip at her. "Don't crush my dreams, we don't really know what happened back then," he said defensively as Amanda gave him a look. "meh, you know I'm a dreamer," he added with a small huff and turned his attention back to the television.
A phone chirping brought a halt to the gaming. Chris pulled his phone out and flipped the screen open.
"Chris, you ok?" Amanda asked, pausing the game and looking back at him. Chris raised his hand up to signal her to stop and threw his phone against the couch. "Home?" Amanda asked, brushing a loose strand of hair behind her ear. Chris shook his head and showed her what was on the screen. She leaned into him and sighed heavily. "I'm sorry" she added. Chris didn't reciprocate the embrace and just sat there.
"It's Brittany's anniversary tomorrow," he said dryly. Amanda pulled back and looked up at him, but nodded slowly.
"Do you have to go?" she asked, knowing how hard it was for him.
"Yeah… it's not like those two will do anything to remember her. If I don't prepare at least…it's like she was never here," he spoke softly, looking down at the carpet.
He took a deep breath and composed himself. "Just, don't get too far without me ok?"
"No promises," she teased smiling at him and putting on as brave of a front as she could manage.
"I love you buddy," he whispered. Amanda pulled back; her eyes wide. Chris gave a half-hearted smile as he left.
It was nearly nine o'clock by the time he arrived home. The street was bathed in the pale-yellow glow from the overhead street lights and his car came to a stop next to the curb. Chris glanced out his window at his plain white and black house, which was like every other one on the block. The area had been developed sometime in the early 1920's and the biggest feature each house had different was the shape of the roof covering the front room. Some, like his own were peaked and others were flat, turned into a deck that overlooked the street and of course, the houses on the other side that were mirror images. Chris moved to open the door, he hesitated and lowered the visor revealing a picture of a girl. The dome light illuminated the car, showing off the photo. She was a few years younger, with her hazel eyes and her light brown hair pulled back into a pony tail. He closed his eyes and let out a deep sigh as his fingers caressed the image. "Love you Brittany," he whispered before stepping out and closing the door behind him. He jogged up the driveway, passing the faded brown late eighties style 'cop' car that his father drove, and climbed the three steps to the front door.
The house reeked of marijuana and the only source of light was the flickering glow of the television in the living room. He pulled the collar of his t-shirt over his nose and grimaced. He should have expected this; it was his fault for thinking, for once, his parents could be responsible.
Chris stepped into the living room and headed for the staircase to get up to his room.
"About fucking time you got home."
Chris paused and turned, his eyes settling on his father. The man rose to his feet and scratched his beer gut. The man had on a white t-shirt depicting animals in various sexual positions and a ratty pair of briefs. The man was a class act…
"Lucky I'm here at all, not like you'll get off your ass for Brittany," Chris muttered as he stepped past his father, only to have the collar of his shirt yanked back.
"What the fuck did you say you ungrateful bastard?" he asked, narrowing his blue eyes at his son.
"Tony, cut it out will ya?" his mother, Gabrielle slurred as she staggered in from the kitchen. She held a glass with a few ice cubes and what Chris could only guess, was scotch. "You know Chris doesn't mean anything," she chimed in.
"Well then, what did you say?" Tony asked again.
"Nothing," Chris replied as his father freed him from the grasp.
"That's better," Tony sneered and turned his back to Chris. "You making dinner Gabrielle? Huh? Get the fuck in there and start cooking, you lazy bitch," he yelled, pushing his wife back into the kitchen, leaving Chris standing in the living room. He hated them. He hated everything about his parents, but there was nothing he could do about it, he wasn't big enough or strong enough to beat his old man in a fight, he didn't have the money to move out, he was trapped. Hell, the cops couldn't even touch them after what happened with Brittany. Chris was sure that would be it, that would be the final nail in the coffin, but of course, nothing came of it. They were garbage covered in Teflon and they were always going to keep on going. There was no proof and they always put on a good show for the authorities and even managed to settle with the commuter rail company, since they had no record of any train running the night Brittany died.
He climbed up the stairs and turned into Brittany 's old room. He clicked the light on and slowly strolled in, taking notice of the photos on the dresser and the poster of N*SYNC on the wall. He stood before her bed and sat down on it, taking a picture off of her nightstand. It was them at the beach two years ago. Their aunt had taken them down to Busch Gardens in Tampa during spring break. Chris had dragged his younger sister on all the roller coasters and they were exhausted by the time their aunt took the picture, but their joy shone through.
"I wish you talked to me, I wish you told me what was going on…" he said softly, rubbing his thumb against his sister's face. "I could have done something…I could have helped…you didn't need the train…" he added and shut his eyes tightly.
"Do you desire vengeance?" a calm, melodic voice asked. Chris' eyes shot open and he looked quickly around her bedroom. He set the photo down as the room faded into a black abyss. He took a step back, but quickly realized there was nowhere to go, he was alone in the darkness and while he knew he should have been scared, there was something calming about it.
"Who's there?" he yelled, trying to assert some authority in the situation. Two glowing red eyes pierced the darkness in response.
"I've been looking for you Christopher. My whole life has been leading to this, I can help you with everything you desire," it replied. Chris took a small step back from the sets of eyes, none of this made sense; he must have fallen asleep and needed to wake up from this nightmare. "It's no dream Christopher." The voice surrounded him, piercing his thoughts. "We can eliminate your parents, and together, we can bring your sister back." it continued on, enticing the teen with every word.
"What do you want from me?" Chris asked, lowering his guard before the eyes. It was as if it knew him, his thoughts and his feelings. Everything told him this was wrong, but he wanted to know more. A creature began to take form from the darkness; it resembled a demonic figure with a ram's head and a humanoid body.
"Want? You misunderstand, I'm here to offer you everything you've ever wanted." The creature smirked, bearing his white fangs at the human. "I can help you get the justice you so rightly deserve." A black and silver device suddenly appeared out of the darkness before Chris. "Take this Digivice and our bond will be complete, and everything you desire will be at your fingertips" it instructed. Chris studied the beast, then the small silver device before him. He closed his eyes and allowed the darkness to surround him, penetrate him and fill him. For the first time since Brittany took her life, he felt a sense of purpose. "So, is this a deal with the devil?"
The beast tilted his head as if pondering the question. "Devil? Oh, you must mean in some religious sense. No, I am not one of your so-called gods or demons. I am much more than a fairytale." The beast replied, crossing his arms and shaking his head.
Chris stared back at the creature "What's your name?" Chris asked.
"Mephistomon, at your service." He knelt down, folded his bat like wings up against his back and bowed his head.
Chris took hold of the device as the darkness began to fade around him and the two stood in the backyard of his home. He felt calm for the first time since his sister had taken her life. The demonic creature didn't frighten him as it should, it was like seeing an old friend.
"Well Mephistomon, let's see what it is you can do," he grinned wickedly.