Okay, this has taken me forfreakingever because school. Stupid, annoying, writing depriving, school. And believe you me, i DID NOT like being unable to write. On the plus side, though, i think i got five A's and two B's. Which is awesome for me. Especially in math. I got an A in math!!! YAY!!!! Hope you like the chappy!

The blackness of the world was so, very astonishing to me as I drifted slowly into death. There was a strange prodding sensation coming from outside my ribcage.

'This must be my body's last wish at being alive.' I thought. 'Yet…how can I be thinking if I'm dead?'

"Oi, mate, I think ee's aloive, ee twitched! D'ja see eem?"

"No, make 'im do it again!'

The prodding sensation recommenced.

"Ay, mate, you think ee's stopped gushin' yet?"

"I dunno. I guess we can look."

All of the sudden I felt the layers of warmth around me slowly being peeled away, until my chest was bare to the chilling air.

"Oi! Look! Ee stiffind up! Ee's aloive!" the voice laughed jovially, "Ee's aloive mate! We c'n take 'im back to the mount'in!"

Both voices were laughing, and singing, happy to have saved me and take me back to this 'Mountain'. A thought occurred to me, could they possibly know about Vampire Mountain? Could they possibly be Vampires themselves?

"Oi! Look! He's speakin'!" they were quiet for a moment, "Can you hear 'im?" one of them whispered.

"No" the second replied, and then raised his voice to me, "Oi! What are you sayin'? Who are you talkin' about?"

I wasn't aware that I had bee saying anything.

"I think ee's sayin' summat 'bout not takin 'im back." the first one said to the second, "Back where? Oo r'you?" he asked me.

I held very still, trying to feel something, anything that would allow me to know that I could move. I tried to wiggle my big toe. Nothing. Not even a reaction from my company.

"Ee's not sayin' n'thing now. Jus' leave 'im be for now I guss."

"Let's let 'im regain 'is strength. Ee looks pretty bad. Sittin' out a few days before we found 'im is prob'ly not gonna 'ave 'elped im either."

"Yeah. That's true. I'll talk to you in the morning Lenny."

"L'righ George, I'm gonna get sm firewood frm the foe'rest."

I heard Lenny's footsteps growing fainter.

"Poor bloke. He doesn't even know."

I was in a procession. Kurda was in front of me, Mr. Creplsey was behind me, behind him, and in front of Kurda were people I had never seen before. Everyone was chanting in some unknown language. When I turned to ask Mr. Crepsley what we were doing, I found Steve instead. I stopped dead in my tracks, frozen with fear. A noise started building us in my throat, soon I was screaming at the top of my lungs. Steve was at my neck in a second, he was throttling me. I tried to push him away with the full strength of my arms, but it was like trying to move a brick building.

The shaking got worse and worse, and then Steve was calling my name.

"Darren" Steve said, "Darren! Wake up!"

My eyes shot open, and immediately I was on my feet in a defensive position, the walls of the room were a tan-ish color and it was somewhat dark. But my legs were weak and couldn't support me, so I fell flat on my backside. In front of me stood not Steve, but Debbie, Alice, Harkat, and one other, whom I presumed was one of my rescuers.

Debbie smiled from ear to ear at me, "Darren!" she exclaimed, falling on her knees and embracing me in a tight hug.

"Debbie, be careful, he's badly hurt." Alice said.

I was holding in my pain so she wouldn't see as she slowly let go of me, mumbling her apologies.

"It's alright, that didn't hurt so much." she moved as if to do it again, "but I'd wait a while longer before you do that again." I smiled sheepishly at her.

"What happened Darren….how did that happen?" Harkat asked, pointing at the small hole through my heart.

I didn't want to tell them the truth. Debbie and Harkat would be sorely upset, and Alice…I don't know what she would do, but I know she wouldn't be pleased. Just as I was about to make something up, the man in the corner, my rescuer, began to speak.

"Oi, mate! What's with all the questions? Let him be."

For the first time, as my rescuer moved into the light, I got a good look at him. He was brusque-looking, big, and yet slender. He had short red hair and freckles on skin that seemed alabaster. He may have even been able to glow in the dark with that pale skin of his. He was dressed in a tattered light and dark blue striped shirt that was smudged with so much dirt, it was almost impossible to see the original color of the shirt. His khaki pants, once clean perhaps, were so ripped, they could be considered shorts with long, thick strings of the material dangling to his feet.

"What did you say your name was again?" Alice asked with an untrusting tone.

"I didn't" he replied indifferently.

I laughed inwardly at Alice's face contorted in dislike.

She puffed up, as if to beat this man's name out of him.

"Alice," I said, indicating with the tone of my voice that I wanted her to leave the man alone, "Where's Darius? How's the little tyke? Hates me I'm sure. Just like his dad I guess."

Alice's features softens immensely, "He's doing better actually. Annie's going to enroll him in an extra curricular math class. He's having trouble with it." she smiled, "He misses you Darren."

Debbie smiled at the confused look on my face, "What?" I asked skeptically, "What do you mean, 'he misses me'? That kid hates me!"

"Don't be so naïve." She paused, thinking, "What person do you remember the most?" she asked.

"Mr. Crepsley." I replied immediately.

"And did he not push you to be better than you already were?" she asked, eyebrows arched in conclusion.

"Yeah, but—" I replied, only to be interrupted.

"But nothing. You remember him because he pushed you to be better, just like you pushed Darius to be better than his father taught him to be. It's hard on him you know. Annie's starting to notice that he's not normal. She's going to need you to help take care of him." she paused, "He'll need you…a lot. You'll practically be his father, Darren. Can you handle that? Seeing as you ran away from all of us!?" she yelled this last part.

I paused before responding, ignoring her question, I asked, "Really?" I paused, "Does he really miss me?" I asked, still not believing that the kid that smacked me with an invisible wall of pure hatred, actually liked me.

"Yes, Darren. He does. Now will you answer my question? Why did you run away from us?! What happened?" she demanded.

I looked down at my wound, "Was it very bad?" I asked the man in the corner, my savior.

He was leaning against the wall, his foot resting on the wall of the cave, "You'd have been a goner if we hadn't found you?"

I looked around the place. Sure enough, there were three places to sleep, but there were only two people to account for that used them. The guy and myself, this made me curious.

"Where's the other guy?" I asked.

He smiled wistfully, "You remember him dontcha?"

I nodded my head, "Yeah, he was the one that kept poking me in the ribs, wasn't he?"

The man barked a laugh, "Yeah, he always was the curious little bloke." his face grew ashen then, "I dunno where he went to. He just was wondering around those mountains over there, looking for firewood. He never came back. That was about two days ago." he paused, "George wasn't one to doddle around. He'd go get the firewood, and then bring it back, and then ask if he could play around in front of the cave."

Alice's features softened, "Oh, I'm so sorry. Do you have any idea where he could've gone? We'll look for your son, don't worry, I'm sure we'll find him."

The man laughed, and then Alice flushed, "What on earth are you laughing about?! You lost your son! Are you that heartless?"

He stopped laughing, "Lady, that guy's not my son. He was my retarded best friend. He had mental issues. He had the mental abilities of a five year old." he paused, "Hopefully he fell in a pond and drowned. It would have been the best way for him to go. It would've been peaceful." The man's face became sad, his eyes contorted in pain and he immediately turned to face the wall behind him.

I turned to look out the opening to the cave that the man had been pointing to. It was Vampire Mountain.

Lighted up with fear like a match thrown on gasoline, I exclaimed, "You have to get me out of here, right now!"

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