Everyone's in luck! Not only is Chapter Four up, But so is Chapter Five!

Hope you like how the plots working out. Enjoy! ^^

...xXxXx...

Chapter Five: A Deal of Unspoken Truths

"Truth never seems to hurt more than when it's revealed by a good friend." Entry 23

The man in the middle of the room spoke again. "We don't wish any of you to be alarmed. We only need you in order to complete an analysis of sorts."

Stephen was the one to answer. "And what kind of analysis would that be exactly?"

The man smiled and crossed his arms. "A simple observation of your strength is all."

Stephen walked to the edge of the stage and matched the man's posture. "And how do you intend to accomplish this task without some kind of resistance on our part?" The air in the room was so tense I felt shivers.

"That would prove to be rather difficult, wouldn't it," the man agreed.

He snapped his fingers and one of the black cloaked figures stepped forward. The form of this one was smaller than the greater majority of the rest; like a female. She stopped beside the man and held out two hands as if pressing against an invisible wall. She then shifted familiar electric green eyes to the kids on the platform stage. Suddenly sparks flew from her hands. Her eyes rested on me and her lips twisted into a grin. The sparks grew greater, temporarily blinding me.

The grip Serene had on me gradually disappeared. I felt around for her only to find that she was gone. Others must have disappeared as well for several kids were calling for one another.

"Izzy!" someone shouted. "Isabella!"

"Maya?" another called out weakly. "Where are you."

I whispered my sisters name and felt around again.

As the crackling light cleared my vision came clearer. I focused my eyes on the man. Behind him were five cloaked figures. Two big muscular looking, two tall and most likely well toned, and the other the figure from before. Those electric green eyes I couldn't quite place, were still staring at me, hands holding and muffling any possible noise my sister could be making. Each figure standing by the man was holding a child, the youngest being a boy at least four years of age.

"Izzy!" the voice from before screamed. I looked over to see Bradley struggling with the two girls from earlier. They were trying to hold him back from possibly doing something stupid. But what could be so stupid about trying to save someone you care so much for. I could feel my blood begin to boil, adrenaline seeping its way into my system."Isabella!" He cried again

"What do you think you're doing?" Stephen snapped. "Let them go!" The rage in his face was building.

The man chuckled. "But of course," he said and again snapped his fingers. A black hole like the ones the figures came out of appeared under each of the children. Slowly they began to sink through the floor; and fast.

The adrenaline kicked in. I screamed Serene's name and jumped off the stage. I ran at the figure still holding her, helping her decent through the floor. The presence of another behind me caught my attention momentarily, but I dismissed it and kept running. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Bradley catching up to me.

Several of the gray creatures stepped in front of us, trying to block our path. Not letting that happen, I barreled right into the first, slamming it into another that was behind it. Bradley did the same and ran into another.

One of the black cloaked figures was suddenly in my way. I crashed into it but it didn't fall. It reached out to hold me down but I resisted and swung on it, hitting it in the jaw. It seemed surprised for a moment, then, as it registered what happened, it smiled. It grabbed my wrists firmly and spun me around to watch my sister disappeared though the floor. Bradley was pinned on the floor being made to watch as well.

"No!" I screamed. My throat was dry and hurt.

Once the last child was gone, we were let go. Bradley and I sat on the floor defeated. The girls, Jessica and Lasey, Cyrah and Kristina, ran toward us once it was clear we weren't moving. All the adrenaline that was there a moment ago was almost all gone; vanished with Serene. There was no helping it now.

"As you see," the man spoke up after a silent moment. "You must cooperate with us. It in all actuality, means your life."

Several sobs could be heard from the stage. "What did you do to them?" A girl shouted. "What did you do with my little brother?" Her sobs became a wail as she collapsed to the floor.

"We've only sent them away. You see we have no need for the week here. We are seeking those with strength for our numbers, not children who cannot fend for themselves or those with weak spirits who cannot even muster up the courage to come their younger brother's aid."

The girl began to weep more. Jazmin bent down to comfort the girl. She looked up to the man and glared at him with all the hatred the world could bring forth.

"In fact," he continued. "I've definitely no use for you." He waved with his hand and another figure came forward. "Let's dispose of this one, shall we." The figure held out its hand and a blast of ice shot from its palm.

Before the blast could reach the girl, Jazmin stood defensively in front of her to protect her from the blast. She held up her arms to guard herself but did not move a muscle.

The ice never made it to either girl. A flame of fire shot up around the stage and instantly melted the ice. Both the man and the figure turned to look at another of the figures. It in turn stepped forward and spoke. "You cannot dispose of that one," he said jabbing a slender finger at Jazmin. "She's one of my candidates."

"What do you mean candidate?" Jazmin spat with as much venom as humanly possible.

"I think I'll take this one for myself if you don't mind." the man said.

"No superior," The figure replied. "I shall pick another."

"And since we've already started picking, and I'm sure you've all thought of someone by now, what do you say we wrap this whole ordeal up."

"What exactly is going on?" Stephen shouted, jumping down from the stage with Jonathan and striding over to where our little group sat. "What is it you're here for? Who are you?"

"My name," the man started. "My name is Xemnas. Superior of the In-Between, leader of Organization XIII, and in most cases, savior of your pathetic lives. If not for my subordinates and myself, the heartless would have destroyed you many moons ago."

"Heartless?" I asked breathlessly. Heartless. The word brought to mind the blackened creatures that frequently attacked me in my dreams. The heartless creatures that took Darius from me. "Darius," I whispered.

Xemnas cut his eyes to me. "We've come to find strong hearts to add to our ranks," he added. "This school has a reputation for sheltering just that. You all are candidates my subordinates have personally chosen. Well that is," he said looking at the girl Jazmin was guarding, "most of you are."

"And how do you plan on proceeding with this scouting trip of yours?" Jazmin asked from her place on the stage.

"It's quite simple really. See we've been observing your reactions to our presence since our arrival in the northern bases. The lot of you took the destruction of your homes very well. Even displaying great courage at points." He gestured to both me and Jonathan, who was standing behind me.

"You made all of those terrible things happen!" A girl accused from on the stage. I recognized her as one of the girls I'd been introduced to by Luna. Her name was Melissa. She was a tall blonde with little kids all around her. Only now there were no children, for they were all gone.

"Very clever, this one," Xemnas praised with a hint of sarcasm."Yes we caused that madness. We had to fish the strong out into the open. The weak wouldn't have survived or they'd have been taken by the heartless. I would say it was a success wouldn't you?"

"You're a monster!" she screamed at him. "The most heartless creature of them all!"

"I am very heartless," he agreed. "More than you'll ever come to know." He waved his hand again. "I'm done here."

A wave of drowsiness suddenly washed over me. Everyone around me and on the stage were collapsing. Then everything went black.

...xXxXx...

I woke to a bright light in my eyes. Lasey was bent over me shining a miniature flashlight in my face. She had a worried look on her own. Jessica was standing behind her with an equally worried expression.

I swatted her hand away and sat up. I was laying on a bed with a soft black bedspread. The room however, wasn't mine. The blue walls were a pale gray and there were stacks of electronics in every corner. Laptops, video games, CD's, movies, fancy looking gadgets, everything.

"Where are we?" I asked whoever was nearest.

"In the boy's dormitory," Jessica answered. "Jonathan let us use his room until you woke up. You've been asleep for two days."

"Two days?" I repeated.

"Yeah. We didn't know you'd wake up. You and seemed to never wake, though she opened her eyes last night."

"What happened thought?" I asked getting up. I was fairly sure Jonathan would like his room back.

"We don't know," Lasey said. "We were all put to sleep by one of those guys in black. Who knows what they did after that. What we do know is that there are only thirty of us left in both homes."

"Twenty-eight," Jessica corrected.

"Whatever," Lasey said dismissing her. "The point is, they were gone and so were sixteen others who'd been with us after those people showed up.

"Do you think they were the candidates that man was talking about?" I asked

"I don't think so," Jessica said. "Jazmin was definitely a candidate. Xemnas said so. And that girl, Tina, who broke down crying is gone."

My chest tightened at the thought of what might have happened to them. I frowned thinking back on the other day. Something was bugging me. The eyes of that one figure. The coats they all wore. Even the word 'heartless'. All of it was somehow familiar, but I just couldn't put my finger on it.

"There's something else," Jessica said pulling me away from my thoughts. "When we woke up, everyone seemed fine. But we all had these marks on our hands. Almost like letters." She held up her hand so I could examine it. On her hand were the letters V, I, I and I. Lasey held up her hand as well. It was identical except for an X being where Jess's V was.

"Well," Lasey said. "Now that you're awake, we can have that meeting Stephen's been wanting."

"Sounds like a good idea," Jessica agreed. "Because we really need to get some things sorted out." They made their way to the door and I followed.

...xXxXx...

The meeting was utter chaos. We met in the rec room in the boys home. Blankets were strewn across the floor from where everyone was slept. None of the girls wanted to go back to the girls home and the boys didn't want to let those who did. Everyone was freaked out and the entire meeting was unorganized. Everyone had an opinion and everyone was talking over one another.

"What are we going to do about this?" someone shouted.

"Who were those people?" another shouted.

"We need to find where everyone was taken."

"We need to kick those creeps asses."

There was a loud banging on one of the tables. Everyone quieted and looked toward Stephen. He had a pool ball in his hand. Once he got everyone's attention he spoke calmly and reassuringly. "Everyone needs to clam themselves. Before we can do anything we need to figure out who's still with us and who's missing."

Some one in the back of the group stood and pushed his glasses right on his nose. His brown hair swooped into his eyes causing him to brush it out of his face several time before it stayed. "Over the past twenty-four hours the twins and I compiled a list of just that." I heard several snickers throughout the group.

"Thank you Corey," Stephen said. "I'd like to see that when you have the time."

"Of course."

Someone else stood up. A girl. She had to be the youngest person here. Her short black hair and blue eyes made her completely adorable. "Are we going to find my big brother, Stephen?" She was so small. And to think those creeps would brand here and take away her brother.

Stephen came over and crouched in front of the girl taking her hands. "We'll try our best," he said softly. He seemed to be thinking for a moment. Suddenly he stood upright and walked back to the front of the room. "Okay, this is what we need to do. First we need to figure out who … what … those people were. Then we need to secure the perimeter of this place. We're officially safe no where. We'll have a group go to the girls dorms and get anything that could be useful here. Another with patrol outside at intervals to make sure no one suspicious decides to pop up."

"We making groups now?" A boy I remembered as Brian said. "This feels like school." He crossed his arms and leaned back in a chair while three boys around him snickered.

Stephen smiled. "Luckily for us, Mr. Holly here has volunteered to take the first patrol shift. If he disappears in an hour we'll know patrols aren't safe either."

Brian paled. "Why me?" he complained. "And by myself?"

"No. We'll have patrols of three people at a time." Stephen turned and spoke to everyone else. "Is there anyone here who would like to join Mr. Holly's patrol group?"

There was utter silence. Brian muttered something to his friends and punched one in the arm.

"I'll do it," Corey said raising his hand. "I'll patrol."

Brian scoffed. "Mr. Science major wants to do patrols? This is gonna be just -"

"Shut it Holly," a bigger boy said from nearby. He was sitting next to Jessica. They looked alike. Maybe they were brother and sister. "I volunteer too. But I'll be in charge," He looked at Brian. "So you'll have to listen to me."

"No way am I listening to this angel," Brian said. A boy named Edgar laughed.

Stephen caught this and raised an eyebrow. "Good another volunteer. Thank you Mr. Matos." Edgar looked shocked. Obviously he didn't expect to have the same fate bestowed upon him as his companion. "We still need a few more."

A boy with fair hair raised his hand. He looked thin and weak. Almost sickly pale. How did he expect to help in any way? "I'll help," he said. His voice was strong and unwavering washing away any doubt I had.

Two more hands flew up from behind him. It was Jonathan and his friend from the other night. "So will we."

"Perfect. I'll let Angel tend to the patrol arrangements. Everyone else please divide into groups. We're going to use these groups to keep track of everyone easier." Once he finished his sentence the chaos resumed.

...xXxXx...

The next hour was one of the longest in my life. We didn't seem to get anything done. Brian, Jonathan and Angel took the first patrol in the middle of the meeting. Stephen, a redhead named Shawn and another kid named Thomas were put in charge of the groups we were divided into. I was put with Stephen. But I guess that was better than the other two.

We were in groups of three right now scouring the girls dorms for anything that could be useful or anyone that might still be there. There was no one, but we found loads of food, computers, and other stuff that could be useful.

"Wanna check your room?" Lasey asked stopping next to me. "We don't really know everything that's in there. Maybe we'll find something useful."

I shrugged. "It can't hurt to look." We went directly to my room to investigate.

I made may way over to the PC on the black marble desk. It was on. I pushed the mouse and a giant cat head popped up with a speech bubble next to it. 'Hello,' it read. 'Welcome to the Home!' I clicked the button and logged on.

"You have awesome clothes!" Jessica squealed. Her and Lasey were raiding my closet again.

I shook my head and rummaged through the files under Hobbies. The files were so organized it was funny. Hobbies, Art, Clothes, Sketches. I clicked on Designs and surprised myself. It was a full folder of scanned sketches I did. Page after Page of clothes I'd draw out during the blizzard.

"This is confusing," Lasey shouted from in the closet. "Nothing in here is organized. It's all mixed up. And they're numbered in a type of bar code order."

I looked through a few more scans. "Find me item MB17-09X." It was a personal favorite of mine. One of my better designs. A black mid sleeved wrap-around shirt that tied on the side. There were cut-outs on the shoulders and a not too low v-cut.

Jessica came out carrying a copy of the shirt. I took it and examined the material and dimensions. "What did you find?" She asked me.

"Clothes I designed during the blizzard." I turned the screen toward her so she can see. Lasey walked up beside her with a bright green blouse in her arms. They both eyed the shirt in my hands.

"You made that?" Lasey exploded after a few minutes. I just nodded. "Did you make all of those clothes?"

I shrugged. "Maybe. I wouldn't know."

"Awesome. You've so got to design my next wardrobe."

I rolled my eyes and shooed them away. I quickly scanned through the rest of the files on the computer. I stopped over a file titled Darius. My heart picked up speed until I could feel the blood in my ears.

I clicked on it and the document popped open.

"Dear Melody,

"Sorry to have you worry about me for so long. I thought it best if I'd disappeared from your life. At least as the Darius you once knew. I will see you soon, however. Those creatures are still after you. And only one will be able to survive.

"You must be wondering how any of this is possible. You see it was all planned out. When the creatures pulled me down from the helicopter I was supposed to make my escape. However, I was knocked unconscious. When I came to, it was seventy degrees in base ten, and in complete ruins. A search helicopter occupied by some friends of mine found me and brought me to safety where I stayed for two weeks.

"The creatures attacks have multiplied since. I feel they will not stop the chase until they have had their fill of hearts. I fear as well that they will succeed in taking yours if you are not careful. You are not safe in the home. It will not stand forever.

"I will be watching over you in the meantime. No matter where you are, I will be there. Please don't forget me. I love you so much. Until we meet again.

"~ Darius Z."

I couldn't believe what I was reading. How could this be? Darius was alive! And somewhere nearby! And he said … he loved me …

My thoughts were interrupted by an earsplitting scream. I turned and was knocked out of my chair and thrown to the ground. I blur of back blocked the girls from my view. They were screaming. I could hear them. There was a weight pressing me to the floor. As my eyes focused I could make out the yellow eyes and black bodies of those blackened creatures.

"Get off me!" I screamed at the creature and shot it off my chest. It exploded into a cloud of smoke and I stood. Jessica was behind the smoke with a long jagged piece of something in her hand, using it like a sword.

"What the hell is going on?" Lasey yelled a little ways away. "I thought we left these things when we left base six!" So they had encountered these creatures before too?

"Look out!" Jessica shouted at me. I turned and was knocked again to the floor. This time by a huge black creature with a heart shaped hole in its center. Heartless!

I grabbed a chain I'd left in my room when I first arrived. With all my strength I whipped the chain at the heartless. It didn't disappear the way the others did. It just stumbled back a bit giving me the opportunity to stand. Jessica lunged and stabbed at the creature and Lasey was throwing heavy things at it from near the bed. It wasn't going anywhere though. This one definitely wasn't like that others.

The room was growing cold and the lights began to flicker. "How do we get rid of it?" Jessica asked. "It's so much stronger than the ones we've battled before."

"I don't know," Lasey said throwing a book at the heartless.

Suddenly the heartless let out a cry. It seemed to glare behind itself. Standing there was a figure with a book in its hands and a black coat. The person was unmistakably one of the creeps from the other day. He chanted something from under his breath and the heartless was gone. The figure snapped the book shut with a loud slam.

"So the big creature leaves and we get stuck with a freaky occult member?" Lasey asked coming up to where Jessica and I were standing.

The figure removed his hood and looked at us all. Underneath the coat was a boy about our age with slate-blue hair. He had beautiful cerulean eyes an aura of wisdom about him. I knew who he was immediately.

"Darius?" I asked. This was Darius. That meant the heartless didn't kill him. That he survived the fall. That he was also part of the cause of all the disasters.

Darius looked down away from me. "I'm very sorry to have to place you all in this situation," he spoke. "But you must come with me. For your own safety."

"What makes you think we're coming with you anywhere?" Lasey spat.

"Darius," I said calmly taking a step toward the boy. The boy who was supposed to be dead. "You're alive. You survived." I couldn't control myself as tears spilled down my face and I threw my arms around his neck.

"You know this creep, Jojo?" Jessica asked coming up behind me.

I couldn't answer do to the sobs escaping my mouth. I caught Darius's confused look at the name. He said nothing, however; just held me at arms length. Then, "You have to come with me. Now."

This was so confusing. How could he be with the people responsible for destroying our homes and separating us from our families. "Darius, what's going on? What are you dressed like those creeps that did all of this to us? Why … did you leave me? Let me think you were dead?"

"I'm sorry to have made you think I was dead. I'm so sorry I left, but I'll explain later. Right now you have to come with me. You're not safe here."

Lasey pulled me away from Darius and shoved me into Jessica. "We're not going with you. You're part of that group that did this to us," she held up the numeral on her hand, "aren't you?"

Darius was silent a moment, then he nodded. My chest tightened. "Yes, I am. You've met quite a few of us actually. And I know you don't trust us, but if you don't the heartless are going to kill you."

No one spoke. There was so much information to take in. "Isn't this just so touching?" A voice came from the hallway. A familiar boy with bright red hair stepped in dragging a struggling boy behind him. It was the pale boy from before. "But if we don't get out of here soon, the whole place is going to collapse on us. Courtesy of Lexaeus."

"Lea?" Jessica said, shocked at the presence of the redhead. "You were with them too?"

Lea looked at her with sad eyes and opened a hole in the middle of the wall. "We'll have time for reunions later. For now, you'll either go through the portal willingly or not-so-willingly."

"You're not making me do anything," Lasey protested and crossed her arms over her chest.

Lea just grinned. "You'll have plenty of time to find out what I will and will not do." Quickly he shoved the boy through the portal and threw Lasey over his shoulder before she could even gasp another protest. "If you'll be so kind as to follow." He jumped through the portal with Lasey.

I looked at Darius wanting answers but he was looking down. "He wasn't lying when he said the building was going to collapse," he said. "So please, just come with me." He stepped forward and took my hand.

I looked over at Jessica who was staring questioningly at the black hole I the wall. Then she stepped through. I looked back at Darius. "I can't." I said breathlessly. "I … I can't do it."

Darius pulled me closer until I was in his arms and embraced me. He walked backward slowly toward the wall. "I won't leave you," he whispered in my ear. "Never again."

"I don't know that," I said surprising myself. But it was true. I didn't know that.

"Just close your eyes … and have faith."

Suddenly we were falling.

...xXxXx...

I bet no one saw that coming. ^^

What's gonna happen next? Wait and see!

Review with ideas and you might see it in the story.