To be awakened by the screeching of an owl was anything but pleasant.

Rotating it's massive wings, the owl plummeted downwards towards the frostbitten fields, rising up once again with a mouse firmly gripped within its deadly talons. Giving a triumphant cry at the catch of a meal, it flew off in oblivious contentment.

An emotion which the rest of the world below was far from reaching.

Peeling his head off the steering wheel, Finch groggily glared at the world outside of the cramp cab. It seemed, however, that whatever had emitted that God-forsaken noise was far out of his reach to beat on.

Watching the field silently as his consciousness slowly crept into the waking world, he inched himself cautiously off the steering wheel. Being in the position he was currently in, it was inevitable that something was going to be sore. And it so happened that physical pain was not something he could deal with easily.

Almost reaching the sitting position, he almost sighed in relief before a dull throbbing echoed in his lower back. Freezing the upward incline instantly, he lowered himself back onto the steering wheel with a scowl present on his face.

Figures that something, somewhere in his body would be strained, especially after the way he flew off the handle like that. Charging in a fit of rage, crashing his already piece of shit car in the middle of a field, and promptly passing out could not be any could for a person's body.

Let alone mental health, but Finch wasn't touching that topic with a twenty foot stick.

Ironically though, this seemed to happen at least every other week, or once a month. Little things that originally posed no threat to annoy him seemed to throw him into a downward spiral, one that he was falling down, fast.

Being the fucker that he was, claimed he was going through hormonal PMS. Which would've made complete sense, if it weren't for the fact that he was male. seemed to take it upon himself to bring the non-flattering topic up whenever they were together, even going as far as to mark Finch's fits on a calendar.

That asshole.

That being said, those moments didn't happen very often, since Spencer was never around anymore. Which, Finch supposed, he should be grateful for. But then again, cat boy wasn't usually around much in the first place.

It seemed that Spencer had been chasing after every single thread of interest that distracted him from his friends since his childhood. After all of these years, Finch is still convinced there was over half a ball of yarn left for that cat to chase after.

The first string had been easy to spot: Nips. Well, to be completely honest, that thread had been pursued by almost every male in town. Including Finch, but it was short lived. Once he found there was nothing to gain from just chasing, he moved on. Yet, this thread seemed to captivate .

If Finch could remember correctly, had followed that thread's lead until he actually managed to snag it in his claws.

Needless to say, he ripped it to shreds.

That, Finch recalled, was one of the worst cases of mutilation he had ever seen. The memory of it was something he tried not to think back to, for he could still clearly picture Nip's bloody, battered body oxidizing in the tub of bleach.

Spencer, that fucker, tried to cut her head off. Which led to nothing clever of the sorts, and resulted in blood slicked stairs and even a bigger mess to clean compared to if he hadn't touched the body post mortem.

Damn amateur.

When Finch had answered his horrified friend's call about the body, he truly didn't believe the mess would've been as bad as it was. But, as he had slipped on the blood glossed steps three times, he figured that things couldn't be worse.

Until he saw the bathroom.

Oh Lord, the smell.

That fucker forgot to mention that he had first soaked her corpse in table polisher –thinking it was bleach- first. The clashing chemicals had formed some sort of combustible chemical reaction, causing the whole bathroom, and soon house, to go up in flames.

They had made it out in the nick of time, and Finch proposed that all evidence had been destroyed, so they went home.

Feeling a familiar sting of his nose, he put a hand over it and noticed with a tinge of exasperation that it was bleeding. The stench of that bathroom had made him throw up twice, and succeeded in making a permanent mark in his brain.

Now, even the slightest recollection of that night where Kitty had taken Nips in more ways than one, his nose would bleed excessively.

Needless to say, he and had been on a very thin sheet of ice, suspended over a sea of rumbling lava, for more than five years now.

Getting the sense that whatever disturbance that was created in his back was gone, he straightened up and reached into the back seat. After a few moments of his hand fishing around through trash, he found a napkin and promptly shoved it to his nose.

If there was one thing he did not want to happen, it was blood getting anywhere on his car.

Even though it was completely battered, and ran on a prayer, he still had the decency to keep it clean enough to be presentable. Which was completely impossible when he had Spencer in the cab, because fast food wrappers and crumbs always followed.

Not that that mattered anymore really, because his car had been spotless for about three months now.

Ever since they had entered Junior high, the cat boy had found another new thread that caught his complete interest: Sports. Within the first two weeks, he was listed on the basketball team, and then led their shitty team to victory.

The Galloping Gophers.

Honestly, who the fuck named things in this town?

Since that lucky break, Kitty's rise to fame seemed nowhere near close to dropping him down the ladder of popularity. Through basketball teams, soccer teams, baseball teams… His abilities weren't even put to a challenge. And that seriously irritated Finch to no end, since to him, was truly incompetent.

Being proved wrong about his friend's abilities was just adding salt to an already fatal and bloody amputation, one that he had no desire to stitch up.

But then again, Kitty was no longer around to meddle in Finch's serious affairs. No more did he have to worry about the spontaneous blonde creeping up behind him and promptly tackling him into a huddled heap to the ground; something the jocks loved to do to their 'bros'. Frankly, Finch didn't need that kind of 'affection'.

It was odd, however, how much everyone had changed over the years. A cliché thought, yes, but a true one at that.

Finch found that it wasn't best for him to dwell on subjects like this for long, for he found that the longer he looked at a problem, the questions he would discover would greatly outweigh the number of answers he would uncover.

Besides, his mental stability was already diminishing as it was.

At least he still had Pigpig, the only sense of normalcy in his life. Although the boy would rather submerge himself under the pressure of virtual warfare than doing anything social with him, Finch wouldn't have it any other way.

To him it was a comfortable silence of a friendship instead of annoyance. Him and Pigpig always had the roles of dominant and submissive, and by them giving each other the well needed space, they had an incredibly stable relation.

As odd as that may sound.

Besides, the two played by the 'rubber-band affect'. By isolating each other, they finally had something to discuss, instead of similar situations like that pitiful experience a few hours ago.

Well, it wasn't like they had always gotten along anyway.

Pigpig, like Spencer, had gotten over the childhood fascination of the public's images of holidays and celebrations, and decided to take interest in other areas of wonder. All which, Finch considered, were material and popularity by media related. Basically, they became sheep going into the herd of life.

Pathetic.

Despite his harsh thoughts on the publicity of the world, Finch was curious why he was the only one who seemed to see this materialized world for what it was, a conspiracy against humanity. Not that humanity wasn't fucked from the start, but now that it was so bluntly obvious he figured that at least one other person could open their eyes and see.

Well, there was Devil Lad.

Frowning, he threw his body back into the position he was so desperate to remove himself from moments before. The dull smell of fading rubber from the steering wheel was enough of a familiar comfort to stop the rise of nausea that suddenly threatened his stomach.

Apparently, emotional scars were harder to fix than physical ones.

This seemed to happen a lot lately. The sudden mood swings, the excessive bleeding, and the sour taste of bile rising in his throat. All that became an expected occurrence during the Halloween event.

His body was plotting against him.

After a few still moments used to ensure his stomach contents were kept down, he struggled to pull himself out of his pointless musings. Surely it was about the time to head home; he planned to leave something small for Moochie to eat whenever she returned from God knows where.

Just because he was a psychopath didn't mean he didn't care.

Even if it was just a bit.

God damn, he was musing again.

To snap himself out of his pitiful mood, he flung himself back into the sitting position and glared to the darkness of the outside world. Absentmindedly, he ran a hand through his hair, since it seemed to be plastered to his forehead. Halfway through that motion, however, something caught attention of his senses and soon he was completely alert before the threat was even seen.

Remaining completely still, he refused to move his locked gaze with the outside world. Now that he was attentive, he realized how still the night seemed to be, as if the slightest movement would break a trance that the world was under.

This was probably it, he thought darkly. This was the special toll of the evening.

Every year, Turgid Meadows was plagued with unfortunate occurrences; zombies, aliens, robots and prehistoric cave men against towering dinosaurs. It would be a shame, he thought with bitter amusement, if the fun would end as soon as he turned legal. Seeing countless of lives in peril always did seem to lift his mood.

This, however, felt different. Something new was coming, and despite the wariness that he had achieved as he matured into a young adult, he felt himself waiting in apprehension for the darkness to reveal what it held.

"It's cold."

He surprised himself, not realizing that he had spoken aloud. That soft, whispered statement seemed to have broken the trance of anticipation that held the night, and he took a sharp intake of breath he didn't recognize he was holding. Everything returned to its normal state; wind fluttering aimlessly and the soft vibration of the engine of the vehicle.

But what shocked his senses?

Finch was not one to be confused, yet this seemed to downright puzzle his mind. It was as if a haunting spectre of overwhelming emotion passed over the world, and then took its fearful aura with it as it left.

How bizarre…

Shaking off the disturbance, he reached to turn the key in the ignition, trying to ignore the overwhelming need to leave this area that was creeping up on him. He just felt disturbed.

The keyhole was gummy, resulting in Finch expressing too much force in jerking the key back and forth to fully turn. It was one of those things that he reminded himself to fix every day, but ultimately forgot about in the darkening hours.

When the cursed key finally did turn, Finch relaxed in the comforting whir of the engine, feeling the last of his disturbed nature flood away. He was turning paranoid, paranoid about all the pressures and consequences of finally aging.

Growling lowly, he shifted the car into drive and was about to floor it when a loud rapping noise hit against his window.

Although he would never admit it, he yelped.

Loudly.

Hand still on the gear shifter, he yanked it onto park. Over his rapidly pounding heart he could hear ecstatic laughter mocking him from outside the cab. Who the fuck just pulled that on him? Peering outside the window almost instantly his eyes were met with hard yellow, and he felt himself groan and his anger flood away

Devil Lad, duh.

The red clad figure gave a lazy wave, although Finch noted with irritation that his hand was covering the lower half of that mask, meaning the bastard was grinning like a cat.

That was a dirty trick; he scowled, to… surprise him after such a bizarre incident! But Devil Lad didn't seem to notice –or care- as he easily slid in the passenger side and lean back in the seat. Over the course of the years, Finch grew accustomed to guessing what facial expressions were under that mask and figured that he was smirking right now

But what kind of smirk was it?

"What's up, Finchie?"

Despite his pissy attitude, Finch smirked lightly and shook his head in annoyed amusement.

"Was that you just now?"

Splaying his hands out to Finch in mock innocence, D.L. cocked his head to the side like he was confused.

"What ever do you mean?"

"That aura of impending doom and hopelessness just now. It was pretty awesome."

Even after knowing Devil Lad for over ten years, Finch still had no idea where the male clad in red came from. It was considered taboo to ask in their childhood days, and even as they aged they just learned to accept that they would never understand the true mystery that was Devil Lad. Although the rest of them changed, Devil Lad still managed to stay the same; foggy and harsh like a strange dream, one that took hold of all five senses and demanded total attention.

"Heh!" He tapped a sharp cheek bone on the mask, as if flattered by the compliment. "Just visiting like I always do. I suppose you've never felt that before?"

Nodding, Finch studied him carefully. "That was a first. Is that what happens when you pop outta hell?"

A sharp, but clear laughter filled the cab, and Finch couldn't help but smile at the steering wheel while shaking his head. Devil Lad still thought it was all a joke, always brushing off their speculations of where he came from.

If he only knew that they weren't making these outlandish theories to amuse either or to tease, but because they had absolutely no idea where he could possibly be from. A person of Devil Lad's being certainly wasn't from around here, or anywhere else on Earth for that matter. He was just… truly unique in a sense that he couldn't be raised anywhere civilized.

"Oh yes," he spoke with mock astonishment. "You finally discovered my secret. Now what am I going to do? I have nothing else to shield myself with this amazing power of deception! "

"Oh fuck off!" Finch laughed, actually laughed. "And put your seatbelt on." He shifted into drive once again.

Sniggering, he strapped himself in, jabbing his forehead so the mask would go in place. "Going for a ride?"

"Sure, why the hell not?"

When the tires began to spin, he jerked the lever into four wheeled drive. The damn car still kept on spinning in place, and when Finch noticed dirt instead of snow spewing out behind them he finally pulled his foot of the petal.

"Reverse?" Devil Lad piped up, his voice sounding slightly anxious.

Yeah, Finch didn't want to get out and push this piece of crap out either. So taking notice to the request, he switched the gear and accelerated slowly. Still, they stayed spinning in place, and Finch felt his last nerve beginning to snap.

But, whatever was catching the car seemed to release its hold suddenly. All at once they felt motion and movement take control of the car as it lurched backwards under the force of the gas pedal, and Finch gripped the steering wheel in a vice grip as D.L. reached for the dash board.

In a swift, fluid motion they were propelled out of the field and towards the road. With a force that sent Finch and him into the dash, they flew over the ditch, the road and into the ditch on the other side. When they landed, the energy was so great that it snapped Finch out of his initial shock and he slammed the break to keep them from crashing into the trees.

As the car creaked and groaned as it settled, they were silent as they tried to get over the intense adrenaline rush they received from that scare. Out of the corner of his eye, Finch noticed D.L. hastily pull back his hood. He realized with annoyance that he could've at least seen what his hair looked like, but instead he completely missed his chance.

"Well," he stated dryly. "You got a lead foot there, Finchie."

Unable to hide his embarrassment, Finch slapped a hand to his flushed face and groaned. At least nothing was so severely damaged that it needed repairs, because he really didn't have the money to fix his only means of transportation.

Not to mention what it would do to his stress levels…

Shifting gears to drive, he cautiously pulled out onto the road and headed back towards town. Softly, he heard a 'good job, Finchie!' but chose to ignore it.

Just this once.