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Posted 9/8/08 , edited 11/21/08

This story is actually 32 single-spaced pages long. It's really quite impressive considering the fact that this was my friend and me's first real story. If it's good enough after some editing we might consider sending it to a publisher.

Death. What is it but the end of a life? Right? Well no, not really. Death, in at least my world, was freedom. A way to get away from a weird world where everyone does everything the same. Turns out you’re stuck in my old world until you finally get the guts to do something out of the ordinary. Like starting a food fight, or learning how to read. Whatever out of the ordinary thing you did, it will reflect on what you’ll be like in the next world. Too bad for me their’s a glitch in the system. I never died. Some weird girl got shot to death, which happens maybe once a decade and I caught her as she fell. I’m sure you’ve heard of a dead man’s grip, well that’s what she used on me, so when these unnamed creatures came to take her to the next world they had to take me too. Not just my soul like her, no I was not dead as I mentioned, they had to take all of me. My body, my mind, and my soul. So now I’m some seventeen year old boy who suddenly appears into the world with no parents or even preparations for it. All I know is that I’ve been sitting here in this room for the equivalent of eleven years and the girl who got me into this mess is now my age and has no actual memory of me. This’ll be strange. Wish me luck!

Chapter 1

I don’t know why that boy keeps staring at me. He looks at me like I’m an alien. He watches me like I know him and he’s waiting for me to do something, acknowledge him. So I will. “Why do you keep staring at me?” The boy’s head jerked upwards and his eyes opened wide.
“Wh-what?” Was all he gave me in reply.
“Why are you always looking at me?” Cate demanded, saying each word slowly, as if she thought he couldn’t understand.
“W-w-well,” he stammered. “I-I think y-you’re um, really nice.”
Behind her, Cate could hear my friends giggling and tried hard not to do the same, she didn’t want to be rude.
“Oh…well, okay then.” Was all Cate said before turning around and leaving as quickly as she could with her friends following close behind.
“Do you even know his name?” Someone whispered. It was Kassidy with her bright eyes shining and her dark blond curls slipping out of their customary ponytail.
“No,” Cate hissed back at her. That boy has always been in my classes for some reason and yet, I still didn’t know his name. He seemed to spend most of his time lost in thought.
“Wait!” It was the first time anyone had ever heard the boy’s voice raised above a whisper. Everyone on the bridge turned their heads to stare at the boy. Most of them had never even heard his voice before. Seeing everyone else staring at him, he started to fidget with his coat sleeves. He looked around and swallowed hard. “M-my name is Edmund. Do y-y-ou remember anything? Anything at all from, the-uh” Edmund stopped talking suddenly and his face screwed up, like he was thinking hard about something. “From…from before?”
“Before?” Cate asked. She had no clue what this strange boy was talking about. Trying to be as nice as she could, it must have been hard for him to talk in front of all these people, Cate answered, “um, Edmund, what are you talking about?”
The boy’s face fell and his blue eyes dropped to the ground, looking as if every shard of hope had left his being. “You don’t remember do you?” He asked in a hollow voice. Without waiting for an answer he turned away from the girls, his head dropping with his hope for ever setting things right. Cate watched as Edmund walked in the opposite direction, he stopped at the edge of the bridge where there was a railing to keep people from falling over. The boy stopped and looked at the rolling waves. He gripped the top bar with his hands and started to climb up it.
“Shit,” Cate whispered, before she could think of a reason why not, she ran over to where Edmund was trying to jump. “Hey, wait! Stop!” She screamed. She didn’t know what had happened to this crazy boy but Cate knew she couldn’t just let him kill himself.
Hearing Cate’s voice, Edmund froze; he turned his head slowly, his pale eyes locking onto Cate’s dark brown ones. As if sensing her concern he jumped off the railing and landed next to Cate.
“Thanks,” he whispered.
“No problem,” Cate answered. She was even more confused than before about Edmund. ”I couldn’t just stand there and watch you die.”
Ed’s pale face just got paler. What is wrong with this kid? He talks to me as if he knows me, and when I answer honestly that I have no clue what the heck he’s talking about, he goes suicidal. Definitely not normal. He glanced around at the crowded bridge, everyone was staring at them, “I have to go.” He raced off into the relative safety of one of the shops.

Chapter 2

“Wow, that boy just got weirder. I mean, first he’s practically silent and then he’s running after you asking if you remember something about ‘before’. What’s that even supposed to mean?”
“Take it down a notch on the ferocity, Jen. So he’s little weird, but isn’t everyone in someone else’s eyes? I am curious to know what he meant though. Of course we’re not the only ones right Cate. Cate?”
Cate started in surprise at the sound of her name. They were riding the school bus home and she had been thinking deeply about what Edmund had said to her earlier that day. “Wh-what? Sorry, I was thinking.”
“Poor, Cate. Please don’t put so much thought into that weirdo’s words?”
“Jen! Stop being so mean. None of us know what he’s really like so you shouldn’t talk like that. As I said I am curious about what he meant but I’m not going to worry about it.” Said Kass trying to be helpful and righteous at the same time.
“Thanks Kass.” Said Cate, It’s like he knew me before I did; like we knew each other from some other life and he remembers it but I’m clueless. Who is he? Maybe I should try to get to know him; maybe if I do I’ll remember whatever it is he want’s me to. “Anyone know where Edmund lives?” Both Kass and Jen stared at Cate. “I just wanted to talk to him. Maybe he’ll be more open if he’s not being stared at by everyone.”
“I don’t see why it matters, but I think he lives with an older brother in the Blackthorn apartments.”
“Thanks Kass, see you guys tomorrow.” With that Cate got off the bus. With his older brother in the Blackthorn apartments. I wonder what happened to the rest of his family; maybe he’s adopted or something. Maybe that’s what I’m supposed to remember.

Chapter 3

Ok, here goes nothing. Cate thought to herself before knocking on the old wooden door of apartment number 929 Blackthorn street. Aka, where Edmund the weirdo lives. After two quick knocks, Cate’s hand jumped from the door and went back to dangling nervously at her side, her knuckles white from clutching her fist too hard.
The door creaked open, “Hello? Who’s there?” A young man, definitely in high school, maybe even college stood at the door. He had black hair and tan skin; his light blue irises had almost no color to them. At first glance, he hardly looked like his younger brother, but Cate could see some resemblance. They both had dark hair, and incredibly light eyes.
“Hi, um, I’m Cate. I wanted to talk to Edmund about, eh, school. Yeah, we’re science partners and we’ve got a project due soon.” She wasn’t exactly lying. The two of them had been paired together many times before, and not just in science. Also, Mrs. DuGall had assigned them something for homework, but it could hardly be considered a project.
“Well, okay then. Ed’s in his room I’ll get him for you. Then maybe the two of you can work on your project outside, it’s a nice day.”
“Um, okay.” Cate said, not exactly sure what to do. In her eleven years of experience, you always invited your guest into the house, especially if they wanted to talk to someone inside. What kind of a rude person sends you outside to work? It’s like he doesn’t want me to get too close. Cate thought to herself, noticing how awkwardly the man at the door stood. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other every so often and seemed to be keeping his distance from the stranger at his door. Maybe, maybe it has something to do with Ed. Maybe he’s got some weird disease and Ed has to take care of him. Or, I dunno, it could have something to do with that ‘before’ Ed was talking about earlier.
“Ed! C’mon out, you’ve got a visitor.” He hollered, turning his back to the hallway as he waited for the boy to appear. “My name is Jack by the way. Feel free to stop by anytime.” Jack looked long and hard at Cate, and for a second, a look of recognition came to him. His pale eyes widened, and grew slightly darker. For a second, Jack had normal, blue eyes. Cate blinked, surprised, and then Jack was back to normal. His eyes were eerily pale again, and his weight had been shifted back to his left foot.
Ed poked his head out of a door that Cate assumed led to his bedroom. “H-h-hello.” He said to Cate and then shot a curious glance at Jack. The older boy nodded and Edmund walked to the hallway.
“Well off you go kids.” Jack said, giving his brother a little push before closing the door quickly behind him.
Cate watched Jack disappear and then turned to Ed. “Sorry, I know we don’t have a project, but I wanted to see you.”
“Um, do you want to go outside? This hallway probably isn’t the best place to talk.” Ed asked his own pale eyes watched Cate intensely. It was then that she noticed the difference between Ed and his brother. Although they both had incredibly pale, almost colorless eyes, Jack was much tanner than his brother, who seemed to stay pale no matter what. In fact, even in the summer, Cate remembered that Ed always had had nearly white skin. Suddenly she knew what Ed reminded her of. A ghost. Shuddering, Cate tried to banish the thought, but it would not go away.
“So, what did you want to talk about?” Ed asked as he swung gentaly back and forth on one of the three swings on the outdoor playground.
“Um, well I…I kind of wanted to know what you meant. I mean…w-what did you mean when you said ‘before’?” Cate looked up from the ground and watched to see Ed’s reaction.
“Well, do you ever have dreams about people or places you’ve never seen or met before?”
“Sometimes, but that’s not too out of the ordinary. At least that’s what my parents and friends tell me.”
“Do you have a birthmark on your chest?” With that Ed hit himself with his own fist in the upper right part of his chest. “Does it look kind of like a circle? Like the old bullet wounds you see in the movies?”
Cates toped swinging her own swing and stared at Ed. “, WHAT are you?”
To Cate’s surprise Ed smiled. “So, you’re finally catching on but not remembering; you’re definitely her. So what do you think I am? What do you think you are?”
“I’m not human?” God, what does he know about me that only you and know one else knows? How does he know these things? Please, tell me he’s not one of your’s come to get me.
Ed sighed then began to speak, “All humans have a past life just like all will have a future one.”
“What makes you so special that you can remember your past life and know about your future one?” Cate challenged, surprising herself with this sudden sensitivity towards the subject. Why does it seem like I’ve seen those eyes before? Why does he seem so calm? It’s as though we’ve changed personalities; I’m the shy one and he’s the outgoing and nonchalant one. PAIN! Why does it feel like I’ve been shot; I’m fall-Ed, help me!
“W-what happened?”
“I think you just remembered something.”
Cate gave a start and opened her eyes. There she lay in the middle of the playground clutching to Ed as though she was about to die. “I…sorry I didn’t mean to...faint.”
“What did you remember?”
Cate considered not telling him but for some reason it seemed as though he was asking her a question he already knew the answer to. “I-I’m not sure. I think I was shot and I saw someone with the same pale skin and eyes as you. I don’t know it was just weird.” She said nervously shaking.
Still kneeling there, holding Cate, Ed looked off into the distance. “You were shot, eleven years ago, when you were still in your first life.”
“What else do you know about me?”
“Not much more than I’ve already told you. I didn’t know you but you still chose to die in my arms and you still chose not to go on to the next world alone.” Ed whispered to himself.
“You should go home now Cate. I’ll see you at school.” Said Ed as he helped her get up then he walked back to his home.
Chapter 4
She fell down, she fell down, she fell down. The words kept running through Ed’s head as he walked up the stairs to his room. It felt good to finally let go of his secret, to know that Cate knew. But she fell down! The words wouldn’t leave his mind. Why? Something must really have been wrong for her to have fallen down, but what. Usually people can fall up. It’s not like it is unnatural here. Strange. There were not many reasons for anyone to fall down. Most children knew how to fall upward on this planet. Gravity was only the stronger force when a person was unable to lend their will to go up, or of course, that person wanted to hit the ground hard. But Ed did not think that was the case.

Chapter 5

Similar thoughts ran through Cate’s head as she walked slowly back to her own house. Her shadow stretched in front of her and she realized that it was getting dark. “Darn!” She said, still not comfortable with using the more colorful language that many of her classmates preferred. Her mom would be home soon and wonder where she had been. Cate started to run, leaving all her previous worries behind.
“Where were you?” A sharp voice greeted Cate as she pushed the door open and stepped into her house.
“Nowhere,” Was the natural response. “I…was at someone’s house. We-we needed to work on a project.”
Mrs. Randall looked at her daughter for a second before returning her attention to the pot in front of her. “Hurry up and get washed. Your dad will be home soon and he’s going to want to eat.”
“Yes ma’am.” Cate scurried up the stairs to dump her backpack inside her room and lay down. It had been a weird day.
Could everything Ed said to me actually be true? She wondered, of course not. Although she was brought up to believe that the good were rewarded with an eternity of happiness, Cate did not really think that much about what would happen once she was dead.
If I were dead, how could I be alive right now? At least…I think I’m alive. Cate pinched herself and laughed. Of course she was alive. You couldn’t be dead and alive. That just was not possible. If Ed was right then everyone else in the world would have to be dead as well. Or maybe not everyone, Ed had said that he was not dead. That she, Cate had dragged him with her as she died in her past life. Now that was just strange. It was an even worse story than he had concocted about her. He’s just making all this up to be with me. Maybe he thinks I will like him if I think that we are somehow connected. Or, another thought arrived maybe he is going insane.
“Cate! Dinner!” Mrs. Rendell’s voice brought her daughter back.
“Whatever it is, I shouldn’t have to worry about it. That boy’s crazy anyway.” Cate said with a shrug as she ran down the steps, happy for a distraction.

“Hi,” Ed said, two feet away from where Cate and her friends stood staring at him.
“Hello.” Cate replied. “What do you want?”
“W-well, I thought…maybe you’d like to talk…about, you know…after yesterday…”
The other girls looked at Cate. She hadn’t told them anything about her visit to Ed and his brother’s apartment. “Nothing happened.”
Her words told Ed more than he wanted to know. Cate did know what he was talking about, but refused to believe him. And he was absolutely forbidden to talk to her, or anyone close to her, especially about anything he had said. “Ok then.” Ed told the air in front of him with a sigh. At least he tried. She doesn’t really need to believe it, does she? As long as she knows the truth, that is all that matters. I’ve done my duty; it’s not my fault she does not want to believe me.
Chapter 6
“For you to go to ‘heaven’---for you to be free-you—you must first fulfill your promise, her pain…you must fulfill it. You get four tries before judgment—you must get her to remember. Your only—that’s your only hope…hope…hope.” Ed woke with a start, he was covered in sweat and panting. These dreams keep coming now that I’m so close—I can’t let it go! I can’t let her ignore all the things I’ve risked telling her. She’s starting to remember. I’m sorry Cate, but I can’t let this drop, I can’t let this end the way you want it. He thought as he pulled off his covers and swung his legs over the side of the bed. What shall I do? Ed wondered as he turned his head to look out his window and into the night. People don’t know how lucky they are to have such beauty around them. Not many worlds boast a purple night with gold stars. What shall I do? She remembers being shot but does she remember who I am? What I did for her? Why for that matter was I even there when she got shot? I can’t tell her. I don’t have the guts much less would she believe me unless she remembers something first. “A promise…the promise. I never made a promise to her, but rather she made it for me.” He whispered as the cool breeze of the night played with his bangs.
Ed sighed; he was stuck here for the next year. The boy closed his eyes and inhaled, savoring the crispness in the autumn air. This is something I would never have felt before. I wouldn’t even know this world exists then. Stupid Cate for bringing me here. Stupid brother. Fool. How could I have thought I could rescue her? It’s bad enough she died. But why did she have to drag me with her? She should have taken Tristan, not me. Stupid stupid stupid.
That was the first time Ed had ever thought of the consequence of his actions in the past world. He had been told of the promise that had been made between him and the girl once they had both left but now he was stuck here. He was stuck in time, the world around him kept moving through time while he stayed still. Ed was the same as he had been on that day. Well not completely the same; there was one difference.
With no one in sight, the boy reached behind him and twisted his arm upward so he could run a finger down the red scars on his shoulder blades. He had been given those scars by the ones who carried souls from one world to the next. His soul however had not gone alone, his body had come too. It was part of the Dead man’s Grip. The person who grabbed him tied his soul to its current body so he could not die. Their talons clutched onto the body’s flesh leaving red scars on Ed and on the backs others like him. The scars would never heal until Ed was reborn which could not happen until he helped Cate.
“But what could Cate Rendell, the girl who has everything, possibly be lacking?” Ed asked the wind. No answer came to him. The boy sighed and walked towards his door. Now the question would be haunting him all night.
“What are you doing?” Ed was almost out the door to the freedom of the hallway when Jack’s voice stopped him. The boy turned around, his pale eyes widened as he looked at Jack’s face.
“Why do you care Jack?” Ed spat back. His ‘brother’ was getting on his nerves. There was no need for the two of them to live together, they were not related. Not physically, but the two of them did have something in common. They both had promises to fulfill.
“I” Jack answered, his blue eyes darkening a sure sign of anger. Ed saw the warning signs and bolted.
Chapter 7
“Cate! Hey Cate! You okay? Did something happen to you yesterday?” Kass received no answer from Cate as the three of them walked to school.
“Oh, no, you’re still taking that weirdo boy seriously, aren’t you?” Jen said gaining no more leeway towards an answer than Kass, from Cate who walked in a trancelike state. “Cate, listen to me, he’s out of his mind! He’s not worth listening to. All he wants is for you to think he has a special connection to you so that he can get you for himself.”
“Jen! You’re so mean towards Ed.”
“Oh, shut it, Kass. You’re only defending him because you think he’s cute! You would actually think you would be on my side of this argument, but no! You’re too afraid to go out there and get a guy for yourself so instead you help others with their ‘guy problems’ even when it’s the guy you want!”
“Jen! You’re so cruel. Just leave Cate alone! If she wants to, Cate can be with anyone. She doesn’t need your permission to talk to Ed or be friends with anyone else. Come on, Cate. Let’s go and leave Jen to think about her actions.” Said Kass as she gently took Cate’s hand and led her away from Jen,
“Where you guys fighting about Ed again?” Said Cate who had finally come out of her trance.

“Alright, let’s see, who’s absent today?” Asked Ms. Dowdy.
“Ed is!” Cate’s classmate Sarah called out. Cate couldn’t help but look over her shoulder to make sure Ed’s seat really was empty and it was. Where is he? I don’t remember him ever missing a day of school before.
“Don’t worry, Cate. Ed may be skinny, but he’s strong. He probably caught a cold when that cold front came in yesterday. He’ll be back in no time.” Said an optimistic Kass during lunch.
“He’s never been sick before. It’s not like him.”
“Cate, if he’s sick he didn’t choose to be. Anyway, do you want a ride home today?”
Kass couldn’t help but smile at Cate’s response, “You’ve been so worried about Ed that you didn’t even notice the storm warnings. It’s raining right now but the cold front seems to be cooling everything down fast enough that we’re actually supposed to get a foot of snow. A foot! Cate that’d be the most snow recorded in a single day. Well at least around here.”
“Well even with all the snow I doubt there’ll be enough to stop me from walking home when school ends.”
“Brave soul chancing such things and going head on head with Mother Nature.” Both girls laughed at Kass’ sarcasm and went back to class still giggling.

It had begun to snow. By the time school had ended for the day there was already two inches on the ground. Even so Cate was determined to walk no matter what anyone said. Cate sure not to let Kass know that the reason she really wanted to walk home for was because she was planning a detour. She walked down the somewhat familiar sidewalk and into the Blackthorn apartment complex. The clouds had made the sky so dark it almost looked like night itself. Cate continued to walk slowly down the walkway, past the playground where she remembered talking to Ed only the day before. Something’s wrong. The weather doesn’t change this fast, it’s unnatural. Cate jumped as she heard a howl of pain unlike anything she’d heard before. “Wh-what the…?” Cate whispered to herself as a quiver worked its way up her spin. She began to silently walk towards the dark area where the sound had protruded from. This is insane, Cate! You should run away from scary unknown noises not walk towards them! Yet for some reason, as though drawn to it, Cate couldn’t stop herself from walking to the dark area.
There she saw him, and running from the corners of his eyes where tears of liquid sapphire. She saw his body writhe and contortion itself violently in ways that made obvious its pain. As she slowly stepped forward in the cool, now harsh seeming snow, she saw for the first time torrents of blood, rich syrupy blood, Cate could see eight long scars. Two seemed healed and even old, while the rest looked fresh and for some reason they looked like they had opened on their own accord.
“Oh my ---!” Cate ran over to the crouching boy. He was too small and young to be a man. The snow was now coming down harder than ever before, covering the boy’s dark hair in white. She crouched down next to the boy and took off her coat. Her wet fire-brown hair clung to her as she put her coat on the boy being careful not to do more damage to his back. The boy jerked at her touch and his head whipped around to stare into her envy-green eyes with two menacing sapphire ones.
“Ed!” Cate gasped.
Those inhuman eyes seemed to soften slightly at her voice but they still retained their fierceness as he looked up at Cate. “L-let’s get you to the hospital.” Cate stuttered as she pulled out her cell phone with trembling hands and dialed 911. She told them that the boy she was with was eleven years old and losing a lot of blood from several wounds on his back. She also told them that they were alone and the wounds were of unknown cause. While Cate did all this Ed continued to bleed and squirm in pain. When Cate got off the phone she wrapped her arms protectively around Ed and held him close in attempt to keep both of them warm and to calm him down. “You will tell me what happened, won’t you?” She whispered in Ed’s ear.
Ed just nodded and wiped away a sapphire tear that was running down his cheek. Cate could feel his shaking and winches of pain but could tell Ed was making an effort to control himself. When the ambulance finally came Ed wiped the rest of his weird tears from his face and closed his eyes. Then two of the paramedics came and carefully laid Ed on his side on the gurney they had brought with them.
“Miss, would you like to ride with him?” Asked one of the paramedics.
“Um, sure.” Cate carefully got into the ambulance and sat next to the gurney. Then the paramedics jumped in, closed the doors, and they were off speeding down the street to the hospital. When they reached the hospital they quickly unloaded Ed and Cate rushed beside them. Suddenly Ed stuck out his hand to Cate and she couldn’t help but take it. She had barely held his hand for five seconds before it went limp and slid out of her grasp; she could go no further and Ed seemed to have finally passed out from his high quantity of blood loss. There was nothing for Cate to do but sit and wait in the waiting room and call her mom. After she did that she sat down and looked at her hands only to realize she’d been clutching in her hand three perfect teardrop shaped sapphires.

He screamed in pain as the so-called demon closed the wounds on his back with a piece of flaming metal.
“It’ll only hurt a little longer. If we don’t do this then you would bleed to death and go to what the humans call Hell. Life is full of pain and suffering and you’re one of the only five people this has ever happened to.”
“W-what?” The boy said. His voice was hoarse from screaming with a throat closed with tension.
“In your original world a year there is equivalent to a minute here while an hour here is equivalent to a year in the next world.”
“W-why am I here?” The boy panted. He was now slowly getting up as his wounds rapidly healed on his back.
“Sorry about that Edmund.” The demon said gesturing to the boy’s back. ”The raifs have a tendency to leave those huge scares on the backs of the living people they pick. As I said before you’re only the fifth person this has ever happened to.”
Ed’s eyes opened slowly as his mind raced to remember what had happened. He remembered deciding that he had to tell Cate the truth and convince her that’s what it was. He also remembered Jack getting angry and that as he walked away from his home a raif had appeared out of nowhere and then—nothing. His head felt as though it was on fire, his cheeks and eyes felt burned. His back, indescribable; how he didn’t pass out do to pain or at least scream was all to do with the fact that Ed was not human.

Chapter 8

That much Cate knew. If she or any of her other classmates had mysterious bleeding scars suddenly appear on their backs they would either be dead from blood loss or screaming their guts out. But not Ed no he lay on the hospital bed, his pale skin almost the same color as the white sheets, with his eyes closed.
Probably to keep the doctors from realizing what a freak he is, Cate thought. She had seen Ed’s strange colored eyes and knew that most people who saw them believed they were a sign that something was not right. If the doctors knew then he’d never be able to leave, everyone would want to run tests on him. Poor kid, what happened to him?
“Ed?” Cate asked, she had questions for the strange boy but needed to be sure he was there. Ed’s eyelids flickered revealing the color under them for no more than a nanosecond before he turned his head to look at Cate. “Um, how did you get those scars on your back? What I mean is, uh, what happened to you?”
Ed grunted “long story,” and scrunched his eyes even tighter.
“Please, tell me. I want to know what happened. Maybe I can help; you look like you’re in pain.”
“I am,” Ed answered. “And actually, there is something you can do about it.”
“Do you know how you got here? How anyone gets to this world from the others, and then goes to the next?”
What did that have to do with anything? If he starts talking about that I’m getting out of here and never speaking to him again. “I don’t get what you mean.”
Ed sighed and opened his eyes. “That’s what I thought. There are four worlds and each soul must pass through each one of these” he held up his hand, as if anticipating Cate’s response and blocking her words “I don’t know what happens before or after these worlds, so please don’t ask. When a soul dies it passes to the next world, but sometimes a soul leaves its world before it dies.”
“What?” None of this was making sense to Cate, but something told her she should listen.
“Have you ever heard of a Dead man’s Grip?” Cate shook her head still confused. “When a person dies they can take another soul with them. Most people don’t, but you did.”
Cate’s mouth moved forming the word ‘you’, but no sound would come out. She choked and giving up just pointed at Ed. Ed nodded at her, still not moving any part of his pale body that he didn’t have to.
“So now both of our souls are incomplete. Mine because I am not truly meant for this world, I am still alive on the first world but stuck on the second. And yours because, well I don’t know what exactly is wrong with your soul, it’s just missing something. Something a promise can fix. Most people die when their lives are completed, you however died too soon so you took me with you when your soul moved from one world to the next.”
“Did I, did I do that to you, those awful scars?”
“Indirectly, it was the raith’s claws. They aren’t meant for holding bodies, only souls. There was nothing wrong with my body when you died, so it did not leave my soul before the journey.”
“I-I’m sorry.” Cate said, she wasn’t sure what to say, but she just could not stand there in silence. The corners of Ed’s mouth turned upwards, forming a grotesque smile while his eyes resumed their scrunched together position. He was in pain. ”I-is there anything I can do? Should I get a doctor?”
“No,” the words came out raspy, like there was something clogging the boy’s throat. Cate stood in silence, watching as Ed fought with his pain, trying to gain control so he could finish with his story.
Even after the pain subsided, there was still silence. Ed had told her everything he knew. “So what is this promise?”
“I don’t know.”
“Is there any way to find out?”
“Yes, I think so, but I’m not entirely certain. We have to find out why you dragged me here. What were you missing in your past life? There is still a hole in your soul, so it should still be missing from your life now.”
“Would it help if I knew how I died?”
Ed was silent for a long time before he answered “No.” There was a force in his voice that Cate had never heard before, a force that shocked her. What is he not telling me? She wondered to herself, determined to find out what secrets this mysterious boy was keeping.

Chapter 9

She can’t ever find out the truth surrounding her death. If she ever learns the truth then who knows what she’ll do and if she does and runs off on me then they’ll be more problems. She’s not ready to know. “No” Ed said in a low voice adding a firmness to it that told Cate it was a forbidden subject. Then Ed closed his eyes and his heart on the world around him and concentrated silently on recovering so he could get out of the hospital, a place of so many questions that even with his knowledge he could not answer.

Chapter 10

The day finally came when Ed could leave the hospital. No one in their class knew about Ed’s incident or that he was even in the hospital; for that matter everyone assumed he was on vacation and so Cate encouraged that little lie.
Before Cate had left the hospital, that day when she had gone with Ed in the ambulance, Ed had made her promise never to tell anyone about anything out of the ordinary about him or that he was in the hospital recovering from something or that they had even talked or could be associated with each other besides being classmates. He’s got a lot of unnecessary rules; it sounds like he doesn’t want anyone to actually know a real fact about him. Of course I would never tell people the truth about us, maybe that we talk and could possibly be friends but I would never mention what has really happened to Ed. In either of my lives.
“RRIIIIIINNNGG” The school bell sounded very loud and very clear cutting through Cate’s thoughts quite unmercifully.
“Hey Cate, come on let’s go home!” Said Jen standing next to Cate’s other two friends Kass and Sarah. Jen and Kass had gotten over their earlier debate about Ed and where back to being art buddies, they both take art and love to make things. Sarah wasn’t in any of Cate’s classes and Cate didn’t ride the bus as the rest of them though she sometimes did anyway. Even so they all had known each other since their first day of school back when they were five. “Oh and after that do you want to have a sleepover at my house? It’s a Friday and my mom said we could and she’d order us pizza and everything!”
“Um, sorry Jen tonight’s not a good night for me but you feel free to have fun without me. I’ve got something I have to work on tonight.”
“Oh, well if you for some reason finish early or don’t have to work on it just come on over and join us okay?” Said Jen. She didn’t even question Cate even though it was obvious that the weekend was full of free time.
Cate wanted to go to Jen’s sleepover but she wanted to be there when Ed was released after being in the hospital for two weeks. “I’ll be sure to do that if I can. Thanks you guys. I’ve got to head to the hospital now.”
“The hospital! Did something bad happen to someone in your family?” Asked Sarah.
“No, I’m just going there to help out with one of the patients, community service.” Cate lied. Though she looked like it was no big deal Cate felt awful about lying to her best friends. I’ll make it up to them somehow.
“Okay, we’ll see you later. Keep safe!” Jen, Kass, and Sarah left the classroom and ran to catch the bus.
Cate just sat there for a few moments, thinking about all the things that have happened to her in this past two and a half weeks. My friends probably think I’m acting weird. At least my mom doesn’t worry about me going to the hospital every day to visit my hurt friend.
Chapter 11
“Will you stop it?! I said I’m fine, I don’t need your help to check out of a hospital.”
“Have you ever been in any other room of the hospital but your own?” Cate asked Ed. She already knew the answer to the last question and Ed knew she did.
“No, but I’m smart enough to find my way out without needing your help.” Ed’s back was still stiff as he walked beside Cate. The doctors had actually operated on his back to clean out his wounds, close them up and possibly find the answer of what had caused them. Ed had said that he didn’t remember anything after leaving his house and that he remembered suddenly waking up in the hospital not knowing what had happened. His surgery had taken place during his second day in the hospital due to the fact that the doctors could clean the wounds properly and that they had never actually stopped bleeding until after they had surgically closed them. Why he actually needed the operation? Who knows, but for whatever reason the doctors said it was best if they operated on him.
“You’re so stubborn. And don’t think I wouldn’t drag you all the way to your home if I see you at school anytime next week when we know the doctor said you’re not allowed to be active for another nine days.” Cate threatened as she walked him out of the hospital to the car Ed’s ‘brother’ had pulled up to the doors in.
“You want ride too? Or are you just going to walk all the way to our house?” Asked Jack. Cate had opened the door for Ed much to Ed’s displeasure and to Jack’s extreme amusement.
“Oh, um thank you…Jack.” Cate said as she slid across the seat and Ed sat stiffly next to her in the back of the car. Still grumbling about how he didn’t need any help from Cate.
“No problem.” Jack replied as he turned the radio on.
“Um, uh,” Cate’s curiosity was burning inside her, but she wasn’t sure if she wanted to know Jack’s answer to her question. “How did you find out that Ed was in the hospital?” Blurted Cate, who was unable to stop the words from escaping, her blue eyes flicked across to Ed. She wanted to see what he thought of her question.
There was a long silence in the car as Cate tried to gage each brother’s reactions. Did Ed’s usually pale skin just get lighter? Did Jack just get tenser? His hands clutched the steering wheel until the knuckles popped out. How am I noticing these things? They are such minute details that I’m not even sure if this is really happening.
“The hospital called me once they found out who Ed was. They can’t just let a minor go there without notifying his guardian.” Jack replied in a steady voice. Or did Cate detect a hint of anger? Probably not. What Jack said made sense. Cate knew that if she went to the hospital her parents would be notified.
“But you’re not my guardian. You’re not even part of my family. I don’t have a family.” Despite his recent release from the hospital and major surgery Ed still couldn’t help challenging his ‘brother’.
Jack didn’t respond to Ed’s belligerence, but Cate did. Once again she couldn’t help herself. “That’s not possible. You need parents, or else you wouldn’t be here.”
The two boys exchanged ‘how much do we tell her’ looks before Jack replied. “Well, that’s not technically always the case. Those of us who get dragged into this don’t need to gain a body. We come in the one we already posses.”
“So that means – you…” Cate exclaimed. She hadn’t expected Ed’s story to be true. Even if it was how many other people have experienced the same thing? Much less someone so close. “Does that mean? How many are there?”
“Five known cases, including me and Ed. The other three failed.” Jack responded.
“And Jack’s going to fail if he doesn’t do something soon.” Ed butted in with a glare at thee driver that cut off all possible conversation. “You just passed the turn for Cate’s street.”

Chapter 12
“Where were you after school today, Cate?” It was dinnertime and as usual Cate’s mom was interrogating her over a plate half full of beef and mashed potatoes.
“Uh, I went to the hospital... to check on a friend of mine” So she broken one of Ed’s rules about letting people know of their friendship, but only to her parents. And they did not count.
“I didn’t know Jennifer was in the hospital.”
“Um, mom,” Cate replied softly “it wasn’t Jen.”
“Then who was it? Kassidy? Sarah?”
“Neither, mom, this is someone I met recently. I just wanted to check up on-“Cate stopped herself before she could finish her sentence. Once her mom knew she had been visiting a boy she would never be left alone again. Her mom would badger her with questions about Ed that she really didn’t want to answer. “Don’t worry though. I don’t think I’ll be going back to the hospital anytime soon though.”
“That’s good.” Cate’s dad answered after he had finished eating his steak. “How did you get home?”
“Oh, well, you see. I saw my friend’s, um, someone that I knew was there and offered to give me a ride home and I accepted.”
“Please, call us next time you need a ride. You know it’s not safe to get in cars with strangers.” Her dad chided.
“But I knew this person!” Cate exclaimed.
Her father didn’t answer; instead he picked up the ringing telephone. “It’s for you.” He held out the receiver to Cate, waiting for her to take it. Cate did and ran upstairs to her room, making sure to shut the door behind her.
“Hello?” Cate spoke into the telephone.
“Hey Cate!” Three voices squealed back.
“You’re missing a great time. Are you sure you don’t want to come over? It’s not too late for you to change your mind.” After the weird car ride home from the hospital Cate needed to relax by doing something normal.
“Sure, hold on. I’ve just got to ask my parents.” She opened the door and raced down the stairs back into the kitchen. “Mom, Dad, can I go over to Jen’s for a sleepover? Kass and Sarah are already there.”
“Yes, just hurry and pack.” Mrs. Rendell said without even looking up from her food. “Thank you!” Cate gave both her parents a hug before running back up the stairs to her room where she threw her pajamas and a pair of jeans and a t-shirt into her bag. With a pillow and sleeping bag under her arm and her backpack slung across her shoulders Cate marched downstairs and into her mother’s car.

“Sorry most of the pizza is gone. We weren’t sure if you were going to come when it came.” Jen apologized. Cate just shrugged. She didn’t care too much about pizza she had already eaten dinner.
“Who wants ice cream?” Sarah came in with bowls and spoons, as well as a jar of sprinkles, in her hands.
A chorus of three soprano “I dos” rang through the Bann’s hallway.
After ice cream the four girls retired to Jen’s basement where they sat down and got to business doing each other’s hair and nails. And talking about their favorite subject: boys.
“Have any of you seen Matt’s new haircut?” Kass sighed. She was boy crazy and everyone knew in. Every month there was a new boy on Kass’ mind. This time it was Matthew Chang.
“Matt got a haircut? His hair is always so long I don’t think it’s possible for it to look short.” Sarah teased. She was not in the same class as the other girls, but knew everyone in their grade. She tugged Cate’s reddish brown hair into a tighter French braid and muttered “hold still.”
“You know, that Edmund kid isn’t that bad looking. In a unique sort of way.” Jen chimed in from where she was debating which color to paint her nails.
Hearing Ed’s name made Cate perk up. She was heading into dangerous territory here; there was no way she could tell her friends about the two of them. Cate’s reaction didn’t go unnoticed by Sarah. “I don’t know.” Kass answered thoughtfully. “I guess if you got over his super-paleness, and thought of it as an asset. Maybe.” Now she would spend the next hour rethinking Ed’s status.
“What do you think Cate? You’ve hardly said anything all night.”
“Hmmm,” Cate answered, acutely aware that she had to be careful. “I guess he could be cute, maybe. But he’s so weird and he never really talks. Personality has to count for something, but it can’t if you can’t see it.”
“Wise words.” Sarah commented, ending Cate’s braid with a bright blue hair tie. “My turn.” Cate nodded and worked on twisting her friend’s pale blond hair into an elaborate knot with lots of bobby pins.
“But I know he talks.” Jen said, she had chosen a color and started painting her nails bright purple. “I’ve seen him talk to you, Cate, a few times.”
“I have too. What’s up with that?” Kass said. All three girls were now staring at her, even Sarah.
Cate’s heart sped up as she tried to think of what she could say that wouldn’t give too much away. “We, uh, we’re working on the same thing for community service.” Cate settled on a vague answer that left even her unsatisfied.
“I haven’t seen him in a while.” Kass was really irritating Cate. Why couldn’t her friends pick an easier conversation topic? She couldn’t say anything about Ed without risking suspicions. If they don’t already guess something’s not right then they aren’t as good of friends as I’d always thought, Cate hypothesizes to herself. In a secret place she hoped that her friends would stay oblivious to her discomfort.
“Neither have I.” Jen called out. Her brown eyes slid to meet Cate’s green ones. “I bet Cate knows. I mean, what kind of a girlfriend would she be if she didn’t know where her guy was?”
“WHAT?!” Cate, Kass and Sarah screamed.
“What the heck are you talking about?” Cate growled. This was sheer nonsense. Where could Jen have gotten such an absurd theory as that? Her and Ed? Never.
Jen’s dark face grinned evilly at Cate’s reaction. “What? Can’t you take a little joke?”
“I can!” Cate answered defensively. “Just not that. It’s too…ugh” She shuddered to emphasize her point.
“Alright. Alright. No more jokes on Cate’s behalf for the rest of the night.” Jen glared at Sarah and Kass, hoping to drive her joking point home. The two girls nodded seriously and then cracked smiles.

When the girls had talked themselves until they were content, they finally rolled out their sleeping bags and pulled out Jen’s stock of Romance movies. For some reason all the girls including Cate felt like watching a Romance movie over their normal choice of a Chick-flick. After some debate, the girls all agreed to watch the classic love story ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
The girls settled into their sleeping bags as the opening credits began. They had all seen the movie and had all admitted in some way that they wished for their own love story. As the movie began Cate found that it was difficult to concentrate on what was on the screen because her mind wouldn’t stop drifting to Ed.
I wonder what Ed’s doing right now. I hope he’s not in pain…how would he respond if someone joked about us dating? Would he be angry? Would he think I told people about our being friends? But are we friends or is he just humoring me? A tear slid slowly down Cate’s cheek as she thought that last question. Why do I care if we’re friends? It’s not like we actually agreed to be friends or even classmates.
She quickly wiped away the tear only it was too late. A second tear had fallen followed closely by a third and fourth. Cate sat up and curled into a ball holding her knees to her chest. Even so the tears didn’t stop and she finally grabbed her pillow and jammed it in between her legs and chest where she could easily put her face into it without it looking like anything more than her resting her head on the pillow.
I bet Ed doesn’t actually like me. He just lets me be near him because he needs to complete that stupid promise so he doesn’t fail. Oh, God what will happen to him if he does fail? Cate’s face was now covered in tears as she tried to sort out what was going in her mind completely oblivious to what was happening in the movie.
Geeze Cate what’s wrong with you?! You’ve never cared about Ed before so why are you getting so emotional over him?!
“Cate? Cate, are you alright?” Kass’s sleeping bag was right next to Cate’s and she had noticed the flood of tears. “Oh Cate come here.” Kass wrapped her arms carefully around Cate and quietly called Jen and Sarah over to her.
“Hey, Cate, what’s wrong?” Sarah softly asked. “The movie’s not even to the sad part yet so you shouldn’t be crying.” She carefully joked.
Cate looked up and saw that the movie had been frozen in the middle of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth’s first dance together. She smiled slightly at the funny expressions that were stuck on their faces. Even though Cate was smiling tears kept sliding down her face and she realized for the first time that a bitter taste was on her tongue and her throat had an awful tightness to it. She couldn’t talk and when she tried to sobs came from nowhere and refused to go back to where they came from.
None of the girls knew why Cate was so upset but they could tell this wasn’t a good time to try to find out what was bothering her. Instead they hugged her and kissed her on the top of her head. They took turns for who was on tissue duty and who was to rock her.
Why can’t I stop! I have no reason to cry but the harder I try to stop the worse I get. Finally giving up on trying to control herself, Cate just went limp in Jen’s arms and flat out cried.

“Did you girls have fun?” Mrs. Bann asked the girls as they were eating home made chocolate chip pancakes in her kitchen.
“Yes, we had lots of fun last night! Thank you for letting us come over Mrs. Bann and thank you Mr. Bann for making us pancakes!” Sarah answered. All the girls had agreed to not tell Jen’s parents about Cate’s outburst the night before. They had made this agreement after Cate had cried herself to sleep so Cate didn’t know about it.
“Diiinng-dong” The doorbell sounded just as Sarah had finished talking. Mr. Bann went to get the door.
“Cate! It’s your mother!”
“O-okay. Bye, see you all later and thank you!” Cate said as she jumped off the counter stool she was sitting on and went to get her things.
“Bye Cate!” The other three girls chorused, waving good bye.

“Michel Rayson, Tyler Raven, Cathleen Rendell…”
“Here!” Cate called when her name was said while she doodled aimlessly on her notebook. She was trying not to look at the blank chair that had belonged to Ed. Now a new student was sitting in Ed’s place behind Cate. It was appalling. Students didn’t have assigned seats but everyone had picked a seat the first couple days of this quarter but after that no one changed seats until the next quarter and even then most people didn’t. So though the seat didn’t belong to Ed it caused the students to stare at the new student even more because it even bothered them to see someone in another person’s place.
At the end of spanish class someone stood next to Cate’s desk. “Hi, could you show me where the cafeteria is?” Asked the new boy. Cate grabbed her things and shoved them into her backpack then stood up. The new boy was about three inches taller than Cate and had two round warm-brown eyes that were looking at her patiently.
“Follow me.” Was all Cate said to the new boy. She didn’t want anyone to know how much it angered her that this ‘boy’ had sat at Ed’s desk. She led him through the complex hallways with ease to the cafeteria.
“I’m Riley and you’re?” The new boy said. He was trying to make polite conversation as they walked and Cate just wanted him to be quiet and stop bothering her.
“Nice to meet you Cate.” He paused, waiting for a response, he got none. “So, do you have science with Ms Connor after lunch?”
“Yes” Cate admitted reluctantly. She really didn’t want to get to know Riley and she didn’t want him to be in any of her classes. Unfortunately he was in her English class.
They had reached the cafeteria and Cate was relieved when she saw Jen waving enthusiastically at her from their normal seats. Jen and Kass had saved her a seat in the middle of her large group of friends making it impossible for Riley to get a seat anywhere near her.
Come on Cate! Two more classes to go and we’ll be done! You only have to survive science and gym and those are easy classes. Besides there are no desks in gym and all the seats near you in science are full. Tomorrow is an A day so I probably won’t see Riley and then it’s the weekend and Ed will be back in school next week!
Cate was absurdly happy about Ed’s return. He’d been a good boy and had slept most of this week waking up to take his antibiotics, stretch his back and when it just wasn’t possible to sleep anymore. Yes, she’d been checking up on him every day but she had made Jack promise not to tell Ed that she was. Ed seemed very vulnerable to becoming angry which was weird since Cate had never seen Ed angry until after she started talking to him. Maybe it was because he was injured and it annoyed him but either way Cate was glad he was doing well and would be back next week.

Cate is standing on the now very familiar top step of the grey-blue apartment. She had just knocked on the white door and was waiting for Jack to answer the door. She heard the bolt being taken out of place and the familiar creaking of the door as it opened.
“Ed!” Cate squealed when she saw who had opened the door. She had to put in a conscious effort not to jump up and hug the unsuspecting Ed. It was Saturday and he had been out of the hospital for eight days now. Ed had spent six and a half of those days asleep. Six and a half because it had taken about half the day to get Ed home and give him his meds and he had accomplished to stay awake for as long as any normal person on this eighth day.
Ed looked quite shocked to see Cate. Jack really had kept his promise of not telling Ed that Cate had been visiting him every day while he was sleeping.
Cate heard a quiet snicker and knew that it was Jack trying really hard not to draw attention to himself. He had a reason to laugh because the look of shock on Ed’s face really was so funny that Cate couldn’t help but start laughing.
“w-what?” Ed asked looking from Cate to Jack and back again. He really did look confused. “What?!”
“Sorry Ed… Your…hah face……was really…funny.” Cate managed to say between fits of laughter.
“Oh” He said looking awkward.
Cate entered the apartment being careful not to laugh. When she looked at Ed she realized that he had answered the door without a shirt on. “I didn’t know guys liked to walk around half-naked.”
“What?” Ed looked down at himself to try to figure out what Cate was getting at. “Oh” was all he said when he realized what she had meant. “Sorry, I don’t normally do this.” He quickly walked passed Cate to pick up his shirt that was lying on one of the kitchen chairs.
Cate was following him silently when she suddenly realized for the first time that Ed was a good six inches taller than her five feet five inches. How hadn’t I noticed how tall Ed was?! He always seemed so small when really he’s got to be taller than most of the guys in our grade!
“It’s good to see that your back is healing as well as it is.” Cate couldn’t stop herself from gently stroking one of the eight claw marks along his upper back. She was surprised to feel that his back was heavily muscled when he looked like nothing more than skin and bones.
Ed flinched slightly but said nothing. He stood there holding his shirt not responding while Cate found herself carefully tracing all eight claw marks on Ed’s back. The two of them stood there in almost a trance-like state until Cate finally realized what she was doing.
“Sorry” She said as she jumped away from Ed. Cate looked around and was relieved to see that Jack had stayed in the living room. You can’t see the kitchen from the living room because a wall was in the way.
“It’s alright.” Ed had put his shirt on and had turned to face Cate. “What is it you want to do?” He asked meeting Cate’s bright green eyes with his shinning sapphire eyes.
“I…I don’t know. You’ve been stuck here so what do you want to do?” Cate sheepishly asked. She wasn’t sure what Ed had meant when he had asked her what she wanted to do. It was a Saturday morning so she wasn’t sure whether he wanted to go outside.
Ed still had Cate’s eyes locked with his own. “Do you want to go to a movie?” He asked without breaking eye contact.
“Sure” Cate said trying to be calm. What’s going on? Is this a…a date? Or is he trying to become actual friends with me? Oh, no the only movie theatre is in the mall!
Chapter 13
Ed could feel a sense of rightness as he walked next to Cate through the mall. He wasn’t sure if it was just his relief to finally be out of the house, and away from Jack, or if there really was a sort of electricity between himself and Cate. His pale blue eyes darted to the right, resting on Cate’s figure, where the electric current was coming from. Strange. Ed thought. I’ve been around Cate for a long time now, practically her whole life, and this has never happened. What is it?! I don’t remember any sort of buzzing, or ever feeling like this before. Even in my past life. What makes now so different?
For some reason, this moment was special but not entirely unique. The tingling sensation had started in Ed’s scars back in the apartment as soon as Cate touched them. She had never acted that boldly when it was just the two of them before. And Jack. No matter how hard he tried Ed couldn’t forget about his older brother. Both of them. Sensing his eyes on her, Cate turned her head and smiled a smile that lit up her tanned face, making her green eyes glow.
Ed remembered hearing a tale from the previous world. It was something his mother, a woman whose face he could barely remember, had told him. In that world everyone had a soul mate. At some point in a person’s life they would meet that soul mate and in the instant the two first realized their destinies intertwined an electric current would run through them both. Sort of like what was happening to Ed right now. But, as he tried to control his expression Cate did the same. Making it impossible for Ed to gage how she felt.
The question is: is this story the same on this world as well. But Ed already knew the answer to that. Cate had had two boyfriends in the past year; the story of how Travis had dumped her and broken Cate’s heart had circulated throughout the school. Once Ed had heard it he had been torn between wanting to go to Cate, and hurting Travis. But he had done nothing, unsure then of why he should act on the behalf of a stranger.
“So what movie do you want to see?” Cate’s quiet voice cut through Ed’s thoughts of her.
“Um,” he glanced up at the electronic sign telling which movies were playing when. “I don’t know. What do you want to see?”
“I was thinking Indiana Jones.”
Ed didn’t really know much about the current movies. In fact, he had only seen five movies in the past seventeen years. “That sounds good.” He rummaged around in his pockets for twenty dollars, enough to pay for both his and Cate’s tickets.
“Could we have two tickets for Indiana Jones, at” Ed pulled out a cell phone and checked the time, “two thirty, please?”
“You know you didn’t have to do that.” Cate hissed into his ear.
“Yes, I know.” Ed replied, trying to find the words to explain an impulse. “But you’ve been so nice to me lately. Coming to visit, I feel like I should pay you back.” Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Ed thought, only seconds after the words left his mouth. I don’t want her thinking this is just a way for me to repay her.
“Fine. Whatever.”

Ed would never remember the plot of the movie he saw that day. But he could never forget how he felt with Cate sitting next to him. The electricity between them grew to an unbearable level. He had to touch her. Resistance was impossible. Ed didn’t know how he could have managed for the past hour and a half. The buzzing was deafening, and his knee moved of its own volition to the closest part of Cate. Her knee. Like two oppositely charged magnets the two knees were dragged together in a gesture that felt instinctive to their owners.
The cool touch of Cate’s skin on his own calmed the buzzing in Ed’s ears. For once, Ed felt complete. He felt safe. He felt truly happy for the first time in so long.

“Hey! Cate!” A skinny blond boy ran up to where Ed and Cate stood right outside the entrance to the movie theatre. Right away Ed knew he didn’t like this new kid.
“Riley,” Cate groaned. Was it just him, or did Cate move closer?
“I didn’t know you were going to be here. I would have looked for you sooner.” Riley continued, not noticing Cate’s annoyance. His brown eyes looked up and met Ed’s ice blue ones. “Who’s this? Brother? Boyfriend?” Riley’s brown eyes lit up when he said brother, as if hoping there was space for him to be the later.
“Uh-” Not knowing how to tell Riley the correct term for her and Ed’s relationship Cate faltered, glancing at Ed.
“Boyfriend” Ed interrupted. He wasn’t sure whether or not Cate agreed, but he wanted to get rid of this intruder. As soon as Riley had made his intentions clear, a stab of jealousy went through Ed. He didn’t like this stranger for no better reason than he threatened Ed’s own position with Cate. And Cate obviously did not want to talk to him.
“Oh,” Riley’s face fell.
“We really need to get home Ed.” Cate’s voice became shrill with tension; her anxiety to get away clear for all to hear and see. “I promised my mom I’d be home to start dinner.”
“Right.” Ed said, he threw his arm around Cate’s waist and walked with her out the door.
“Bye.” Riley called out.
“Bye,” Cate and Ed shouted over their shoulders on their way out the door.
“That was close. Thank you.” Cate said once they reached the safety of Ed’s car.
“You’re welcome. I could tell you wanted to get away from him.” Ed replied, aware that Cate had not walked away from him, had not even reprimanded him for telling Riley they were together.
“So, um” Cate began. “That buzzing, did you feel it too?”
Shocked, Ed couldn’t think of what to say. Should he tell her the tale from the previous world? “Yes. Do you know what it means?”
Cate’s slim body turned until she was facing Ed, meeting his light eyes with her dark ones. “Yes. I do.”
“What?” Ed whispered. He was so happy Cate had felt the same thing. He wasn’t crazy. What would she say it meant. Ed didn’t think she could know the tale since the only reason he did was because his mother had told him right before Cate dragged him into this world.
“It means,” Cate started in a voice barely louder than Ed’s. “That if I believed in destiny I would say ours were linked, like we were supposed to be together. Or maybe, maybe it’s got something to do with that task you told me about. I don’t know. But whatever it is, I like how it makes me feel when I’m with you.”
“I agree.” Ed could feel it again. Stronger this time, and for whatever reason, it felt pleasant. But, what could he do next? Ed had never met his soul mate in the last world. And staying in his preferred spot in the background at school kept him away from most girls.
But Cate didn’t hesitate. As if knowing about Ed’s hesitance, she smiled and reached out a hand to touch Ed’s cheek. They kissed.
“What about that promise to your mom?” Ed broke off once he realized this sort of behavior might not be conducive to his fulfilling his promise.
“What promise?” Cate asked, “oh, that. I just made it up to get rid of Riley.”
“Why, though?”
“I don’t like him.” The two of them walked through the parking lot towards Ed’s car. “I didn’t like how he stole your seat in Spanish while you were gone, and then wouldn’t leave me alone for the rest of the day.”
As they drove to Cate’s house, Ed’s thoughts were jumbled together. He could not think straight. Something had definitely changed between himself and Cate. But how would it affect his task? That was
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OH DEAR GOD!!!! U PUT IT UP! *Takes out paper bag a breaths heavily in and out of it*
Posted 9/8/08 , edited 9/8/08

Tazzy-spaz-taz wrote:

OH DEAR GOD!!!! U PUT IT UP! *Takes out paper bag a breaths heavily in and out of it*

i will deleat if yu want...
cuz maybe its jus for YOURSELF
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Please protect my story because i don't want anyone to copy/steal it. I will enjoy ur comments and feel free to buddy me if u want to talk about it or maybe read other stories I'm working on. I would love to see ur criticism too! I hope to become a writer and I'm currently taking a course on writting so please support me and everyone else whose stories are on this site by not copying w/out the writer's permission and ur comments/ideas of course! <3

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Posted 9/8/08 , edited 9/8/08

Tazzy-spaz-taz wrote:

Please protect my story because i don't want anyone to copy/steal it. I will enjoy ur comments and feel free to buddy me if u want to talk about it or maybe read other stories I'm working on. I would love to see ur criticism too! I hope to become a writer and I'm currently taking a course on writting so please support me and everyone else whose stories are on this site by not copying w/out the writer's permission and ur comments/ideas of course! <3

wow that was a great story great job i would like 2 c more ^^ cant w8 (i quoted it so u can c lolz )
Posted 9/8/08 , edited 9/8/08

Tazzy-spaz-taz wrote:

Please protect my story because i don't want anyone to copy/steal it. I will enjoy ur comments and feel free to buddy me if u want to talk about it or maybe read other stories I'm working on. I would love to see ur criticism too! I hope to become a writer and I'm currently taking a course on writting so please support me and everyone else whose stories are on this site by not copying w/out the writer's permission and ur comments/ideas of course! <3

i have a strict rule of that!=D
hehee just read my rules/regulations page!!=D
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25 / F / a world of dwinde...
Posted 9/8/08 , edited 9/9/08
Thanks! I'm glad you like it animeangelXV! I'm currently working on several other stories right now...maybe I'll post them, we'll see. And thank you for protecting my story! <3
Posted 9/8/08 , edited 9/9/08

Tazzy-spaz-taz wrote:

Please protect my story because i don't want anyone to copy/steal it. I will enjoy ur comments and feel free to buddy me if u want to talk about it or maybe read other stories I'm working on. I would love to see ur criticism too! I hope to become a writer and I'm currently taking a course on writting so please support me and everyone else whose stories are on this site by not copying w/out the writer's permission and ur comments/ideas of course! <3

Dont steal this from my friend, she worked so had on it, and it is amazing~!!!!!!!~

Posted 9/9/08 , edited 9/9/08

Tazzy-spaz-taz wrote:

Thanks! I'm glad you like it animeangelXV! I'm currently working on several other stories right now...maybe I'll post them, we'll see. And thank you for protecting my story! <3

hehe yu are welcome! =}
Posted 9/9/08 , edited 9/9/08

myspork93 wrote:

Tazzy-spaz-taz wrote:

Please protect my story because i don't want anyone to copy/steal it. I will enjoy ur comments and feel free to buddy me if u want to talk about it or maybe read other stories I'm working on. I would love to see ur criticism too! I hope to become a writer and I'm currently taking a course on writting so please support me and everyone else whose stories are on this site by not copying w/out the writer's permission and ur comments/ideas of course! <3

Dont steal this from my friend, she worked so had on it, and it is amazing~!!!!!!!~

hehe yup!:]
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25 / F / a world of dwinde...
Posted 9/9/08 , edited 9/9/08
You guys are too nice! Why do i have the feeling one of u guys might beat up the person who trys to do something like that Oh well! I'm very much flattered! <3
Posted 9/9/08 , edited 9/9/08

Tazzy-spaz-taz wrote:

You guys are too nice! Why do i have the feeling one of u guys might beat up the person who trys to do something like that Oh well! I'm very much flattered! <3

hehheee =]
thats US :}
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25 / F / death zone
Posted 9/14/08 , edited 9/14/08
I loved it!.. nice plot!! I whould really want to know what happen next after "that was"
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25 / F / a world of dwinde...
Posted 9/14/08 , edited 9/14/08
Oh sorry! I didn't realize my whole story hadn't been posted! Here's the rest!

As they drove to Cate’s house, Ed’s thoughts were jumbled together. He could not think straight. Something had definitely changed between himself and Cate. But how would it affect his task? That was, after all the most important thing.

“Home so early?” Asked Jack from the kitchen.
Ed made a face. What did he mean ‘home so early?’ “How long was I supposed to be out?” He asked, curious.
“Well, I don’t know maybe until dark so I could have the house to myself for once. Or maybe you could have been gone until morning?” Jack said.
“Why would a movie at 2:30 last until dark? I mean what did you expect me to do for the next three hours? And why would I be gone until morning? Honestly, where would I have gone?” Ed asked trying to figure out his older brother for the first time in his life.
“You asked her out, you idiot! When you take a girl on a date you’re supposed to take her to the movies, or dinner, or some other event and most of the time you at least do two of those things per date! And don’t you dare tell me you don’t understand what I meant about you not returning until morning and you had better know the answer to your question on where you would have stayed for the night!”
Ed couldn’t figure out whether Jack was angry or excited; most likely both. Suddenly it became awkward to be downstairs with Jack. Ed quickly fled to his room. He couldn’t help but think about what Jack had said while he remembered what had come to pass between him and Cate on their ‘date’.

We kissed. We actually kissed! Cate couldn’t stop thinking that all last night and now that phrase plagued her mind as she walked with her friends in the mall. This time Cate was in the mall to buy a new pair of black jeans because Ed’s blood had badly stained the only pair that she had owned. As Cate passed the South end of the mall she saw the entrance to the movie theatre where Riley had bothered her and Ed.
“Cate! Hey Cate!” Cate groaned as she slowly turned to see the one guy that she really didn’t want to exist. “Hey you’re not with your boyfriend today.” Riley observed as he approached Cate and her three friends.
“That’s because I like to spend some time with my friends without having boys bothering us.” Cate said making sure to add emphasis on the word boy hoping strongly that he would take the hint and leave.
Riley did notice the hint but chose to ignore it completely. “So where is he then? Walking around the mall with some of the other boys?” He asked refusing to shut up even though Cate was giving him venomous looks as her friends began to listen to what he was saying. “By the way, what school does he go to?”
“What did he look like?” Kass asked. She is always curious about boys.
“Well, he had short black hair, really light blue eyes and his skin was really pale. He was also about three maybe four inches taller than me. I had never seen him before but he seemed to be pretty close to Cate.”
“Of course he’d be close to Cate if he’s her boyfriend! Actually I didn’t know you had a new boyfriend. When did this happen?” Sarah asked.
“Oh, and what’s his name?...Wait did you say he had really light blue eyes and really pale skin?” Jen said.
“Yes! He seemed a bit shy too. Do you know who he is?” Riley asked eagerly.
“Oh come on guys is this really necessary?” Cate said but no one was listening. All four of them where too busy trying to solve the mystery of who Cate’s ‘boyfriend’ is.
“There’s this boy in one of my classes who has really pale skin and scary light blue eyes. He’s also very tall and never talks. Oh, and he has short black hair just like you said!” Jen squealed excited.
“There are a lot of people that could fit that description!” Cate tried again but her efforts were a waste.
“So what is his name?!” Riley asked. He was just as excited as Jen and Kass.
Cate had had enough of this and just walked away without saying anything to her friends. Great now what do I do? My parents are gone for the day and my only ride home is with one of my friends. I can’t walk home and there is no way I’m going to listen to the four of them going on about me and Ed like they actually know something! Wait…would it be weird if I called Ed and asked him to pick me up? Would that be creepy? She could no longer see or hear her friends so she quickly pulled out her cell phone and dialed the number she knew well. Cate had called Ed’s house several times to check and make sure he was alright; again she had made Jack promise to never tell Ed.
“Hello?” Ed asked.
“Hi, Ed? Are you busy?” Cate asked unsure of what she should say. You kissed him and now you’re calling him! Her voiced screamed. What is he thinking right now?
Cate heard a quiet chuckle come from the phone. “You know I’m never busy. What’s wrong?”
“Uh-nothings—um-I—uh—I was just wondering if you could give me a ride home?” She asked uncertainly.
“Sure, where are you?” Cate could hear the worry in his voice but he didn’t question her when she said she was t the mall and that her parents were out of town. “I’ll be there.” Ed said just before he hung up.
Cate sighed as she leaned against the wall that framed the garden just outside the East exit of the mall where she planned to meet Ed. With her back pressed against the wall she slid slowly to the ground where she curled up in a ball. She couldn’t believe it that her friends would treat her like any other girl they gossiped about as long as the gossip was good. Cate knew the signs and knew that even if they didn’t figure out that Ed was this mystery boy, come Monday a whole new tale telling a false list of events that had been her weekend would have flown throughout the school.
Who knows how long Cate sat there curled up in a ball but when she woke up she felt safe and even if she was being jostled a bit. As she took a deep breath she smelled a masculine smell that had a hint of something she could not recognize. Cate slowly smiled knowing that that unusual smell came from another world and that it belonged to Ed. Feeling completely safe, Cate sighed and felt her heavy eyelids shut themselves without her asking them to.

Cate bolted awake, unsure of what had happened. She quickly fell back onto the pillow, her head dizzy from having risen too quickly. She slowly reopened her eyelids and looked around by moving her eyes and carefully turning her head as she slowly moved into consciousness. I know this room…its Ed’s room. Why am I in Ed’s room? What happened? Now Cate slowly rose from the bed being careful to be quiet. She looked around Ed’s room and found his clock. “1:42 am?” Cate whispered shocked.
What had happened to the day?! It was barely dinner time when I had called Ed. I don’t even remember seeing Ed. Cate carefully opened Ed’s door and walked silently down the stairs. She noticed for the first time that she was no longer wearing shoes…or her jacket and scarf. Where is Ed? She thought as she continued down the wooden stairs to the middle floor where the entrance was.
Suddenly a large shadow moved in her direction. Cate managed not to scream but then she was too busy sliding down the stairs due to the fact that she had never walked down wooden stairs wearing only socks. A long arm wrapped itself tightly around her waist and a large hand placed itself protectively on the back of her head protecting it from the blow it would have received against one of the steps.
“God! Are you alright?” Ed whispered in her ear. Cate couldn’t talk; the buzzing had begun again. Even though they were already so close it felt as though the electricity was trying to pull them even closer together. She both heard and felt Ed gasp as he felt the strong pull of the current. He quickly pulled Cate to her feet and let go of her backing away quickly as though afraid of touching her.
“Are you alright?” She asked over the buzzing in her head. Cate was sure that Ed could feel it but it worried her too that Ed had practically been laying on top of her and yet he hadn’t felt nearly close enough.
“I’m fine—I was—just going upstairs to make sure you were alright before I went to bed.” His voice was strained to the point in which Cate could practically feel the tightness. She could feel that he was exerting a lot of self control just as she was struggling to do so herself. Why do I feel like attacking him? Why do I want him to grab me like he had earlier?
Her heart was racing at just the thought of Ed…she had to get away from him and she knew he wanted to get away from her before anything happened…”I—I’m fine-I was just worried about what had happened to—you-. I-I’ll just go to bed.” She stuttered looking at the stairs.
“-kay” He gasped in reply.
She then shot up the stairs and to Ed’s room without looking back, afraid of what might happen if she did.

“Hey, Cate! What happened yesterday? You suddenly disappeared and none of us knew where you had gone. We where worried that something bad had happened to you.” Kass said in English class as they worked on finding the definitions of the words on their endless list.
“I wasn’t feeling well so I went home. I didn’t want to bother you guys and ruin your day.” Cate didn’t look at Kass, she knew that Kass was acting like her friend as always but that’s all it felt like…acting. The beginnings of a rumor about Cate dating a mysterious tall, black haired guy had already spread throughout her entire English class and by the end of the day there’ll be some far-fetched story about them. I hope no one figures out Ed is this mysterious dark haired guy I’m supposedly dating. I don’t want him to be troubled just because I was careless and let my friends figure out that I’m hanging out with him.
“Well…do you want to go with us to the mall again today? You could also bring your boyfriend…he wouldn’t be out of place because Matt and Riley are coming and I think Sarah and Jen are bringing Jake and Alex too.” Kass pleaded.
Cate knew the whole point of them getting together at the mall with male and female friends alike was to force her into bringing Ed so that they could inspect him and maybe add of few more details to their rumor that was spreading about the school. “Oh, thanks that sounds fun but I’m not sure if I can go. I’ll think about it.” Cate added quickly so she could avoid listening to Kass as she tried to talk Cate into joining them.
Much to her relief the bell rang before Kass could find something else to talk about. Cate fled from the room making sure that neither Kass nor Riley would catch her. Here comes the danger zone…Spanish. Why does Riley have to share a class with Ed and I? Worst thing about it is that he’ll recognize Ed and then when the three of us are in gym he’ll tell Jen that Ed was the guy that was introduced as my boyfriend then what’ll happen? This is bad. Cate held her breath as she entered the classroom. Ed was sitting there quietly at his desk like he always did, not recognizing the existence of the people around him.
She quickly walked over to her desk in front of Ed’s and sat down. Cate fidgeted nervously trying not to imagine what would happen if and when Riley recognizes Ed. “Are you alright, Cate?” Ed whispered in her ear.
She blushed as she remembered what had happened last night. Ed had said the exact same thing to her then. “I-I’m fine.” She whispered back unsure if Ed would be able to hear her.
“Are you sure? I’m lucky that no one seems to have figured out that I’m the ‘mysterious guy’ in the rumor but no one’s sparing you any pain.” He whispered back.
Cate glanced over her shoulder and saw that Ed was casually looking at the door as though he was bored with life, which really did fit the character he played at school. “That wouldn’t be true for long because Riley is in this class and-“
“He sat at this desk while I was injured. I know. I remember you telling me that Saturday after my first encounter with him.” He whispered. Anyone who passed by wouldn’t think Ed was even talking because he talked so quiet and moved his lips so little that is was hard for Cate to believe that he was talking.
“What are we gonna do?!” Cate whispered frantic. Riley would enter the room any second and when he looked at the seat he sat at last class he’ll realize that the boy he had seen with Cate at the mall Saturday is sitting there.
Before she knew it the bell rang and Senora Cruz started to talk about the imperfect tense. Something Cate cared little about, she was still trying to figure out where Riley was. A few minutes of searching brought Cate’s eyes to a skinny blond figure; Riley was sitting in the first row right in front of the blackboard. Cate breathed a sigh of relief and hoped Riley’s new position at the front of the room would make him eager to be one of the first to leave the class. That way he wouldn’t be able to see her and Ed.
Ten minutes left in the period and Cate felt safe. Riley hadn’t looked back once in the past half hour, so why would he ever?
“All right class, find something in the room. I want you to describe it using the imperfect tense, what we just learned today.” The teacher’s shrill voice cut through Cate’s good mood. She fixed her eyes on the poster of Buenos Aires set next to the door and then back on her paper where she diligently described it. Looking up to find more details about her chosen topic Cate’s eyes were met by a pair of brown ones. Uh-oh. It was Riley, he had been staring at her ever since they had received their assignment. Shit. What is wrong with this guy? Cate wondered. Why can’t he find an ordinary topic in this cluttered room that isn’t me? Now that he’s looking he has to recognize Ed. Damnit!
Riley grinned; he knew who Cate’s mysterious new boyfriend was. Now even if he didn’t tell any of Cate’s “friends” he could still ad fuel to the wild rumors. ‘Get out of here as quick as you can after the bell.’ Cate wrote on the bottom of her paper and slid it to the edge of her desk, hoping Ed could read her warning. Behind her Ed coughed a sign to tell her he understood.
Maybe they were safe. For today.
Or not, once the class was dismissed Riley got up and started moving to the back of the room, cutting Ed and Cate off from their escape. “So, I found out Cate’s mysterious boyfriend.” He said, drawing out each word as he said it. “Good joke, isn’t it? Cate Rendell is going out with the quiet guy. I don’t eve know your name.” He turned to Ed and asked, “what is your name?”
“Edmund,” Ed replied in his barely audible voice.
“Sorry, could you say that again? I missed it. Can’t give the world the wrong information now can we?”
“Edmund.” Ed said again in a louder voice than before.
“Much better.” Riley smirked, stepping back from Edmund and Cate. He made to run out of the classroom but was stopped as he ran into the teacher’s desk. “Ouch!” Riley screamed as his hands clutched his bruised stomach. Out came his breakfast; it landed right next to the trash can.
“Riley, are you ok?” Senora Cruz asked, looking up from where she sat behind her desk. “I’ll write you a pass to go to the nurse. You might want to stay there for a while, maybe even go home. You look really pale.” The boy just nodded. He pressed his lips together, just incase there was anything more for him to throw up.

Chapter 14

“Cate, honey, there’s something we need to tell you.” Cate’s parents sat next to each other, across the kitchen table from Cate. Her dad wore his “serious face” the one he wore every time needed to have a talk with his daughter. Her mom’s thin lips were pressed together in a tense line across her face as she gazed at Cate.
“Your father and I have been meaning to tell you this for a while, but the time never seemed right. We haven’t had a chance to talk to you until now.”
“Staring at the space in between her parents Cate wasn’t sure of what to say. She had no clue what her parents were so anxious to tell her.
“You’re adopted.”
A long, awkward silence followed Mrs. Rendell’s proclamation.
“What did you say?” Cate asked; quietly breaking the silence, hoping her parents would break out laughing and tell her it was all a joke. They didn’t.
“You’re joking.” Cate said, stilly trying to absorb the fact that the life she knew was a lie.
“I’m sorry sweetie, but you’re mother is telling the truth.” Cate didn’t care. Tears streaming down her face Cate leapt from the table and ran out of the room. She slammed the door behind her as she left the house.
It was dark outside and few streetlights actually worked in Cate’s neighborhood. Lucky for her she knew where she was going because her vision was so blurred with tears she could not see two feet in front of her. Cate didn’t mind. All she wanted to do was run. Run away from the place where she had lived the past seventeen years of her life. Her home. Her family. Or so she thought. How could they do that to me? How could they just tell me that everything I had ever known, ever believed in my whole life was a lie? Thoughts like that raced through Cate’s head faster than her feet could move. They couldn’t catch up. Feet, head, feet, head, both were pounding, making it hard for Cate to keep track of where she was going. All she knew was that it was dark, she hurt, the people she trusted didn’t care about her. Her friends just wanted to talk about her behind her back. And her parenst. Cate’s parents just wanted to make her miserable. There was only one person Cate knew she could trust. Ed. She was running to his house, hoping to find solace in his arms.
“Hey,” a shout broke through Cate’s thoughts. Her head shot up and she looked around wild-eyed for whoever had called her name. Cate’s first thought was that it was her parents coming to take her home. But she couldn’t see anyone in this darkness.
“Who are you? And what do you want?” Cate screamed back at the shadow. That’s what approached her, a shadow. It was a skinny kid, a boy based on his short hair. But what was a shadow doing here without a person? Don’t shadows need some real form to imitate or whatever?
“What, you don’t know me?” The shadow asked
“No, I don’t know any shadows.”
Cate’s remark was greeted with a bark of laughter that did not sound sane. “I’m not a shadow, although to you I could be. We spend so much time together and you don’t even recognize me.” None of this made sense to Cate. Her mind was still reeling, but it was clear enough for her to register the voice. That voice. It did sound familiar. Cate had heard it a few times before. But where? “Still not coming? Maybe you need your boyfriend to think for you? Where is Edward anyway?”
Ed. The shadow knew the name of Cate’s boyfriend. Only one person knew. As soon as she thought of Ed, Cate felt sad and lonely. She needed to get to his house. She needed to feel warm and safe wrapped up in his arms. “Riley?” She asked slowly, hoping she could be left alone.
“Yes!” Riley said, “took you long enough.” He advanced on Cate with quick, unsteady steps. “Thought you’d be able to avoid me forever did you?”
“N-n-no.” Cate answered, her head had stopped pounding but now that her feet were still adrenaline still rushed through her body, making her heart beat faster. Or maybe it was fear. Cate could smell alcohol on Riley’s breath, he was practically on top of her now. Instinctively Cate stepped backward, retreating from Riley’s drunken form. She kept walking backward, afraid to turn her focus away from the drunk coming towards her. Thud. “Shit,” she whispered under her breath. There was a wall behind her, cutting her off from behind and with Riley in front of her there was no way to escape.
Riley giggled and reached out a hand to touch Cate’s face. He moved it slowly, down her cheek and across, stroking her clammy skin. “Do you know how long I’ve waited to do that?” Cate couldn’t respond. She was too afraid.
He’s close. Could I bite his finger? I-i-is he gonna? What the hell is he doing? What is wrong?! He’s drunk. He’s drunk. Drunk people do stupid things. What is he talking about? What am I supposed to do? Frantic thoughts raced through Cate’s head with no order to them at all. She was trapped and Riley’s hands were still moving. One was stuck by her face and the other seemed to be wrapped around something long, a gun? A knife? A beer bottle? Was it rising? Yes.
Riley took a long swing from the bottle, closing the gap
between himself and Cate. “Here,” he slurred, shoving the almost empty bottle into Cate’s face. “Have some, jus’ a li’l nah. Saveee some fehr meeeh.” Riley’s breath was so bad Cate had to close her eyes, shutting herself into an even greater darkness. But she didn’t care, maybe if she waited a few minutes before opeing her eyes she would be lying safely in her bed, without any drunks. Aaah, that awful smell is getting worse. I don’t think it’s just beer this kid’s drinking.
Beeeeeeeeeep! Beeeeep! Two sharp horn blasts broke through the silence. Cate’s brown eyes snapped open and looked past Riley’s face to see light. Car headlights were shining into her eyes, blinding her so she was unable to see anything more.
“Hey you!” A voice shouted from somewhere behind the light. “Leave her alone!”
Riley turned around to punch whoever was intruding on his fun but ended up hit in the face instead. “That’s right.” The other voice said. Riley’s next punch went so wide he ended up hitting the wall next to the guy.
“Damn!” He kept throwing wild punches while the other guy just stood there, waiting.
Deciding it was better to flee now that Riley was occupied. She had no doubt the car-man would win, but she didn’t want to stay around to see what would happen. Cate fled adrenaline and fear pushing harder than she ever had before.
“Yo! Cate! Would you like a ride?” Jack’s voice cut through the cool air around Cate’s pounding heart. She kept running. Right now the only thing that mattered was getting to the safety of Ed’s apartment.
“Hey, that’s not very nice.” Jack called out again, easily keeping up with Cate’s running. She had been running for longer than she could remember and by now her muscles were starting to tire and there was a stitch in her side. “Don’t you think you should be nicer to the one who just saved your butt back there?”
Cate stopped dead. She was too shaken up to speak. Jack nodded. “I’m taking you home. Get in the car.” Cate shook her head; she was still in shock. Why would Jack help her like that? “What’s wrong? Get in the car. I can take you home. I won’t even tell your parents what happened to you.” They won’t care. It’s their fault I was there anyway. Cate thought to herself, but shook her head again. The only place she wanted to be was right next to Ed. She started to walk again.
“I’ll take you anywhere. Where do you want to go?”
“Ed.” Cate croaked; the stitch in her side had reached an unbearable level. She couldn’t run anymore.
Jack’s look of confusion only stayed on his face for a second before he nodded. “Fine, I’ll take you back to my place. Edmund should still be there. But you gotta get in the car before I come out there and force you.” Cate’s face paled, she couldn’t take anymore. She opened the back door on the passenger’s side, staying as far away from Jack as she could, and got in. Cate collapsed into the seat and sat rigidly. She had cried so much already. She couldn’t cry anymore. There could not be any more tears left.
Ed was outside when Jack’s car pulled into their building’s driveway. “Take her up, but be careful. She’s had a rough night.” Jack told his brother. Ed shot him a look laced with gratitude and hate. He reached inside and wrapped his arms around Cate’s body before carrying her up to his bed.
Finally safe, Cate cried.
It was impossible to tell how long Cate had cried for. But Ed had sat there silently on his bed, holding her, like a loyal dog waiting for his master’s orders he stayed by Cate’s side. When she had finished, Ed wiped the tears from her red face and smiled sadly at her. “You don’t need to tell me what happened, if all you want is to forget what happened then I will never bring up this night.”
Cate sat motionless in Ed’s arms, thinking about what Ed had said. After many long minutes she whispered, “I’m adopted”, it was so quiet that even with his sensitive ears Ed wasn’t certain of what she had said.
Ed paused before asking, “Did you just say that you where adopted?” he didn’t want to upset her more but he knew that she had said that for a reason.
She nodded, another tear slid down her cheek. Ed’s arms tightened vice-like around her waist. Why hadn’t I thought of that before? It makes sense. Cate had had no family when she had lived in my world so why would she have one now? It may be a different world but she’s still the same person so she originally must have been living the same life.
“Ed? Edmund?!” Cate was shaking him. She looked so scared.
His mind snapped back to this world, “Sorry, did I scare you?” Ed asked.
“Of course you did! You went all stiff and then all of a sudden you became really hot like you had a horrible fever.” Her green eyes where shining with worry, showing no signs of the tears they had been shedding only minutes before.
“Don’t worry about me, Cate. I seem to get that way when I think about the past.”
“The-past?” Cate could not stop gazing at Ed’s pale face in the moonlight.
“Yes, the past. The past world, our past lives for though you can’t seem to remember yours I do know some things about your life.”
Cate’s eyes grew big, “w-what do you know?” her voice trembled as she slowly asked her question.
He did not answer immediately. “I know that even back then you had no family. You where always alone and though you where a child people still hated you and treated you cruelly. No one was there, no one was ever there to protect you.” The pain in his voice told Cate that what he said was true, very and horribly true.
“Did you hate me?” She asked the silence. A shuddering sigh came from the darkness followed by the chest behind her taking a ragged breath.
“To me you where just another girl; I saw you once or twice but I never saw people abuse you. I saw your loneliness but ignored it. Though I never heard you speak I knew you where begging for help, for a way to get rid of or forget your pain and loneliness just for a little while. But just like everyone else I ignored you and people like you-“, Ed gently placed a finger on Cate’s lips to stop her protesting. “-I was a ‘good kid’, doing what I was told. I never stopped to think that the people I was sent after weren’t anything but evil-“, Ed looked away not wanting Cate to see his face.
This is what he didn’t want me to know about at the hospital. He wasn’t sure whether it was like that in this world too or if I would believe him. “W-who sent you?” Cate asked, scrambling to understand everything Ed had said.
“My leader.” Ed still had his face hidden from Cate.
“You r leader of what? What did he have you do?” She was practically yelling at him, Cate wanted to understand what Ed had been through, she wanted to know what kind of life she had taken him from.
“I was born to fight, to protect the people but really I just ended up killing those people who would cause change. I murdered people without question and yet I was no older than you…if you where born a fighter than that’s what you’ll be your entire life. I don’t know why, but for some reason children being sent to kill men wasn’t odd so long as the child was a born fighter. So that’s what I did.” Ed’s voice had broken when he said “I”.
Cate laid her head against Ed’s chest. She had come here for shelter and now thanks to her, her shelter had been damaged. “Thank you.” Cate whispered just before she fell asleep listening to Ed’s steady breathing.
Ed finally faced Cate again as she slept. He felt bad for having told her, but he knew that she had deserved to know. He carefully laid her down on his bed and slide off it himself. After all that’s happened tonight I don’t want to know what would happen if I accidently fell asleep next to her. She’d freak out. Ed smiled slightly at that thought; he unfolded the blanket at the bottom of his bed and covered Cate with it. Ed then walked back to the end of his bed and curled up into a ball on the floor. Just like last time. Ed sighed as he fell into sleep.

Chapter 15

“Squeak, squeak.” Was all the girl could hear as she placidly let the swing move her forward than back. The wind billows her hair around her and blows to her the scents of delicious food. The girl giggled as her brown-red hair tickled her neck and cheeks, ignoring the pain her empty stomach gave her. She was free and so what if that meant she had less food to put in her belly; she wasn’t forced to work long hours everyday just as all the other children were.
She was free and she knew it. The only thing she regretted about her freedom was the fact she was alone. Who would share it with her?

Cate woke up still exhausted from the night before. At first she didn’t recognize Ed’s room, but as she began to remember, Cate began to relax. She sat up slowly and looked at the digital cloak on Ed’s dresser. 5:30 in the morning? Great, school doesn’t start for another two hours! Wait, where’s Ed? Cate looked around the room expecting Ed to appear out of nowhere like he always seemed to. Slowly getting out of bed so that her tired muscles wouldn’t ache too much, Cate decided to search the apartment for Ed.
I wonder if Ed sleeps. He and Jack always seem to be full of energy. Though Ed did sleep when he was hurt, so does that mean that he normally sleeps? Cate began walking towards the bedroom door when she noticed a form at the end of the bed. She smiled. “Of course Ed sleeps; why would he own a bed if he didn’t?” Cate stood there for a little while, looking at Ed’s sleeping form. His eyes slowly opened.
With a smile he said, “Do you always watch people when they’re sleeping? I don’t know about you but don’t you think that’s a bit invasive?” Ed got up swiftly and didn’t seem the slightest bit affected by the fact it was now 5:32 in the morning. “If you’re planning on going to school than we should get you home so that you can get ready.”
Cate had completely forgotten that she was still wearing the same clothes she had worn the day before to school and that all of her school stuff was at home. Thankfully she had done all of her homework before dinner so she didn’t need to worry about that. “That would be a good idea. If it’s alright with you, could you-“
“Give you a ride home.” Ed cut in with a smile.

The drive from Ed’s apartment to Cate’s house was fairly short. First, who drives around at 5:40 in the morning? Second, because the distance between the two locations was actually quite short; it’s just that Ed’s never been to Cate’s house. Not even after their ‘date’ did Ed get to see Cate’s house because they didn’t want to experience Mrs. Rendel’s hysteria; so Ed had dropped her off at the entrance to her street.
Now, on the other hand, would be fairly safe because Mrs. Rendel never woke before 8:00 and Mr. Rendel was out of the house by 5:00.
“Nice house…you, uh, have very nice gardens.”
Cate laughed, “Ed, I’m not going to be offended if you don’t like my house. Oh, just for your information, I think the gardens are ugly and I wish my house looked different from all the other two-story, gray houses on my street.” She smiled, knowing that what she had said made Ed feel better about his not liking her house.
They got out of the car and headed up the walkway to Cate’s front door. Ed reached it before her and paused before opening the door like a gentleman in one of those old fashioned movies. Cate paused, “Wait, did my parents leave the front door unlocked in case I came back at night?”
“Um, not… exactly.” Ed said with a guilty smile.
Cate stared at him trying to figure out what that meant. “Did-you, no-can you unlock doors?”
Ed gave another guilty smile. “Well, kind of. I can unlock anything in this world, but in my world there exists some locks that I can’t.”
“That’s kind of weird. Where you taught that?” Cate asked. She entered her house and Ed closed the door behind them. Cate wasn’t sure how Ed would react to the indirect notion of his former ‘job’ of disposing evil people in his world. Killing. It was hard to believe that Ed used to kill people for a living and he had been a child the entire time he had held that occupation.
“Where’s your school stuff? I’ll get it while you change.” Ed said, showing no signs of having heard Cate’s question.
Cate sighed, “Look by the side of the desk in that room.” She said pointing to the doorway to her right. Without saying anything else, Cate walked up the stairs to her left and quietly down the hallway to her room. She quickly changed clothes and washed her face before quickly making her was back down the stairs.
Ed was standing in front of the front door with Cate’s dark blue backpack on the ground at his feet. When Cate reached ground level Ed began to speak, “My job demanded that I knew such things as breaking locks, but everyone was born with the proper ‘talents’ for the job they where meant to do. Basically I naturally knew how to break locks, but some locks we all needed training to learn how to break. I never completed my training because I had not reached adulthood before I came here. That’s why I said almost any lock in my world.” There was no expression on Ed’s face as he said this.
Cate wondered what he was thinking and feeling on the inside that she could not see. It was so hard for her to just stand there and listen to Ed that she actually walked into the kitchen to get breakfast while he talked. Who knew how Ed felt about telling his past to someone.
Ed declined Cate’s offer of giving him breakfast and sat quietly in the chair next to hers as she ate. When Cate was almost done eating, Ed finally began to talk. “Are you going to school on the bus or am I giving you a ride to school?”
She hadn’t even thought of that. Should I take the bus in case my mom called some of my friends looking for me? But I will see my friends at school; except that they’re not really my friends anymore. “Is it alright if I come to school with you?” Ed only nodded as reply. “It’s only 6:30 now, so what are we supposed to do for the next hour?” He shrugged, “Did you even change your clothes?” smiled, “Your stuff back at your house isn’t it?” then nodded. “I guess we know what we’re going to do then.”

No one had noticed that Cate had arrived with Ed to school, and no one seemed to know that Cate had run away from home for the night. Life for Cate was pretty much the same as it had been before she had met Ed. The only real difference was that none of her three ‘close friends’ talked to her and that Ed was the only person she looked forward to seeing in school.
Class wasn’t hard and no one bothered her. At the end of the day she ran into, almost literally, Ed. Her offered to give Cate a ride home which she accepted. Ed dropped her off at the top of the street, where her bus would have, so that her mom wouldn’t see Ed.
At home, no one acted like anything had happened of that Cate had run away the night before. Everything was entirely normal.
Wednesday and Thursday followed a similar pattern with a slight change in scenery as she had different classes. Cate no longer talked to her ‘friends’; Ed and the friendly people in class were the only people she gave any attention to.
Friday began much the same; Riley hadn’t bothered her or Ed in Spanish or science class and gym was as uneventful as gym can be.
Someone’s leg began to bleed after they fell on the asphalt, but that was nothing; it’s outdoor basketball. Ed was very good at basketball but it could have to do with the fact that he’s fairly tall and very quick. Cate was somewhat athletic, she made shots, ran the court, had real basketball skills even though she didn’t really know the sport.
Basic gym, nothing unusual until poor Cate took a chest pass to the head instead. Ed tried not to freak out about the fact that Cate had actually been knocked out and had landed hard on the blacktop. A few girls screamed and the gym teacher called an ambulance. The guy felt really sorry for having hurt Cate and offered to do whatever he could to help out.
Ed was still trying not to freak out when the paramedics came and out Cate on a gurney. By the time the ambulance left, the gym students had to run inside to change just in time for the final bell.
Ed drove his classmate, Michael, to the hospital. Michael obviously felt bad about having hit Cate and sending her to the hospital.

Chapter 16

“Squeak, squeak.” Was all the girl could hear as she placidly let the swing move her forward than back. The wind billows her hair around her and blows to her the scents of delicious food. The girl giggled as her brown-red hair tickled her neck and cheeks, ignoring the pain her empty stomach gave her. She was free and so what if that meant she had less food to put in her belly; she wasn’t forced to work long hours everyday just as all the other children were.
She was free and she knew it. The only thing she regretted about her freedom was the fact she was alone. Who would share it with her?
Forward, backward, forward, backward, forward-where’d he come from?--backward--he looks familiar, what’s that in his hand?--forward--“boom”, time seemed to freeze as a horrible pain came from her chest. She caught one last look at Edmund’s face before she fell backwards off the swing. Her head and midsection landed on something and her legs hit the mulch hard. Her chest and right arm was sticky with a hot fluid and her head began to feel almost like it was floating.

Cate slowly opened her eyes and saw that she was in a hospital room. “Cate! Thank God, you’re awake! I’m so sorry about hitting you. Are you alright?” A very eager looking Michael asked.
Her head hurt, but she was fine. In fact she didn’t want to do anything but forget her dream even though Cate was sure that it really was a memory of when she was killed. “I’m fine; you didn’t have to come, Michael. Thank you, anyway. How did you get here?” Cate asked carefully sitting up slowly so her head would hurt less.
“Oh, Ed gave me a ride. Do you want to see him?” Michael answered. He really wanted to make up for hurting Cate.
ED! “No!—no, thank you for offering.” She was struggling to keep calm. No, Ed can’t be here! That liar! Why didn’t he tell me that he had murdered me?! He had made me feel guilty about dragging him from his world when he was the reason I died! Bastard!
“Cathleen, dear, are you alright?” Mrs. Rendel practically ran to Cate. Michael had to jump out of Mrs. Rendel’s way to avoid becoming a victim to a hysterical mother.
“I’m fine.” Cate looked past her adopted mother to look at her adopted father. Then she noticed a form in the doorway behind Mr. Rendel. It was Ed. He looked worried, but glad that she seemed alright. Cate glared at him. A look of confusion spread across Ed’s face when he saw her glare. Then he and Michael left.

Chapter 17

“Squeak, squeak.” Was all the girl could hear as she placidly let the swing move her forward than back. The wind billows her hair around her and blows to her the scents of delicious food. The girl giggled as her brown-red hair tickled her neck and cheeks, ignoring the pain her empty stomach gave her. She was free and so what if that meant she had less food to put in her belly; she wasn’t forced to work long hours everyday just as all the other children were.
She was free and she knew it. The only thing she regretted about her freedom was the fact she was alone. Who would share it with her?
Forward, backward, forward, backward, forward-where’d he come from?--backward--he looks familiar, what’s that in his hand?--forward--“boom”, time seemed to freeze as a horrible pain came from her chest. She caught one last look at Edmund’s face before she fell backwards off the swing. Her head and midsection landed on something and her legs hit the mulch hard. Her chest and right arm are sticky with a hot fluid and her head began to feel almost like it was floating.

Why do I keep seeing this? I’ve already seen it before. I know what happens. I was there. It’s me I saw dying.
Maybe it’s because it hurts so much. Ed. I can’t believe he did that and then made me fall in love with him; I even felt sorry for him. What a dick.
Those thoughts were never far from Cate’s mind as the weeks passed. First one, then another, and then another. Even though it was painful Cate went back to school. At first everyone wanted to be her friend, but Cate scared them all away. She could not bear the thought of being close to anyone. Everyone she had ever been close to; her friends, her parents, even Ed, had all betrayed her. There were times when Cate couldn’t sleep at night because she spent the whole time crying. When she did sleep she dreamed of being back on the swings in that deserted park. But she knew it was not deserted. The end Cate always anticipated never came, she always woke up right after she saw Ed’s face. At school Ed was always around, lurking on the edge of Cate’s awareness. She wished he would just go away.
Moving through life in a dreamlike state had some advantages for Cate; no one ever expected her to react like she used to, with emotion. Always there, Ed was like an alarm clock ringing, trying to drag Cate out of her dream and into the harsh reality she was trying to avoid. It wasn’t easy. Everything in Cate longed to be with Ed, to at least pretend she was happy and safe again. But she could not. How could she trust the person who had killed her?
“Why don’t you go out?” Mrs. Rendel asked as she helped her daughter clean up the kitchen after dinner. “You don’t do anything anymore; what happened to your friends?”
“What friends?” Cate asked. She didn’t want to be talking to her mom at all. She just wanted to be left alone. The only person she wanted to be with was the one who had hurt her the most.
“Ok then. What about Michael? He seemed like a nice guy.”
“He’s an asshole.” Cate replied. She was trying to avoid thinking about Ed and Michael reminded her of the time when she had seen him in the hospital after her accident in gym, talking about Ed was torture.
Mrs. Rendel walked over to Cate and put her arms around the girl. “Aw, sweetie. I’m sorry.”
“No you’re not! Quit lying.” Cate snapped. “You don’t even know what’s happening. How could you?”
“If you tell me, I can help you figure it out.”
Cate hated when people pretended like they cared. They did not. She knew it, and so did they. “Just leave me alone.”
“Fine, but remember, you know you can come to me if you ever need to talk about anything.” I’m sure. Cate thought as she walked out of the house. She couldn’t take it anymore. She had to talk to Ed. Remembering what had happened the last time she tried to get to Ed’s house alone, Cate took the car.
Why am I doing this? I can’t just run to Ed every time I need to escape. He’s the one person I’m trying to avoid. But Cate refused to listen to reason. Instead she concentrated on what she would say to Ed once she tried to talk to him for the first time in a month.
Cate was so absorbed in her thoughts she did not pay attention to the road. A Ford Explorer was spinning out of control – right towards her. Cate noticed the car, but it was too late, the Explorer was right in front of her. Trying to avoid the collision, she turned her steering wheel as far as it would go to the right.
The larger car tore through the passenger side of Cate’s car, ripping it in half. With nothing to hold it up, the roof sagged down, encasing Cate in the remaining half of her car – which was spinning in circles down the highway. Cate was too shocked to even think about trying to controlling her car.
Images flashed before her eyes. She was back on the swings. Hungry. Alone. She looked up; there was Ed on the other side, with the gun. BANG!
The gun went off, but Cate’s chest was fine. It was the rest of her that hurt. Warm, sticky fluid dripped all over her body, covering it in blood. Her head throbbed. It was then that Cate realized that her head was resting on something warm and firm. There was a sweaty hand on her face. She looked up to see Ed’s concerned face. But he just shot me. He was right over th- lifting her head slightly Cate looked across the park; Ed was still standing there with the gun.
“Please Cate.” Ed’s voice whispered into her ear. “Don’t die. Don’t leave me again.” Again? That thought, and Ed’s very real voice so close woke Cate up. She opened her eyes slowly.
“Ed?” She asked in a voice that was little more than a croak. Her head was cradled in his lap while the rest of her body lay sprawled on the red concrete. Around her she heard voices. Three were paramedics near her, readying a stretcher on the back of an ambulance.
“It was a drunk driver.” Someone said behind her.” Cate’s vision cleared. Jack was walking over to her, “your brother?”
“Looks just like me.” Ed answered quietly. “People used to get us confused all the time. We had the same job and looked identical.”
“Not…Jack,” she whispered. Ed and Jack looked nothing alike; their personalities were just as similar.
“No, Tristan, the one from the old world.”
“So…you…didn’t?” She asked her voice fading.
Ed shook his head. “No, I went to warn you, but I was too late.” A tear fell onto Cate’s cheek, it was joined by another.
“I’m sorry.” Ed whispered. “I failed.”
“No,” Cate’s voice was barely audible. Ed was the only one who could hear her dying breath “I love you.”
He lifted the limp body farther into his arms squeezing Cate as hard as he could. “I know I love you too.” Ed cried. He was loosing his love, and his only chance of relieving himself of the burdens of two worlds. He had failed in fulfilling his promise to Cate’s spirit.
If he had looked closely at Cate’s face he would have seen the pale lips smile.
As the wind front of cars on the highway passed by Ed he heard Cate’s voice “I’ll wait for you in the next world…my beloved guardian. You have done a great job.” Cate’s soft laughter echoed through Ed’s mind. He joined in with his own quiet chuckle. Edmund was free from his promise for now. It felt so wrong to finally be separated from Cate.

Boots thudded quietly on the floor, this wasn’t an unusual sound. Not in Farside Academy where youths of several planets where trained to deal with space travel.
He was a new student and was slowly walking through the complex hallways looking for his class. It was uncommon for Farside Academy to receive a new student especially at his age of about seventeen human years. A rare sight indeed, but rumor says that he’s a very cunning young man whose knowledge was not far behind that of those students of his age.
The sound of his boots stopped suddenly; he had reached his destination. Silently he opened the door and entered. Everyone in the class froze; despite the fact that he was a new student at age seventeen, this young man was an unusual sight. First of all he was very pale which was weird since every human seemed to have a slight tan; second, he was tall which was also uncommon because most humans were born and raised on a planet that had a higher gravitational pull than the one Earth had once had and third, he had light blue eyes; blue was the most recessive eye color that had died out hundreds of years before with the exception of a very rare oddball.
“Ah, so you’re the new student. Do you have paper and pencils?” The new student nodded at the fairly old and frail looking male teacher. This teacher was obviously old fashioned when it came to engineering which is why he insisted upon the use of the old time geometry tools and a pencil and paper. “Good! You’re better prepared than most of these kids were when they first came here.” The old teacher gave the young man a pat on the shoulder and handed him an old textbook. “Please take the seat behind the red haired girl.”
That was an easy enough direction to follow because there was only one person out of all the thirty students that even had a single red hair. She was a pretty girl with fairly pale tanned skin and had rare green eyes. She smiled up at the young man as he passed her; she looked to only be about a head’s measure shorter than him, which means she too is tall.
The young man sat down in the vacant chair behind the girl. The old teacher continued his lecture on how to build a somewhat basic rocket engine out of the few materials he had placed upon a table in the front of the room.
“Our teacher’s name is Mr. Rockfel in case you don’t know.” The girl had turned around to talk to the young man. “I’m Cate Rendel and you are?”
“Edmund Skuld” He said almost inaudibly. The girl smiled, “You’re a quiet person aren’t you? Is that because you’re an orphan like me?” He shrugged.
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Posted 9/14/08 , edited 9/14/08
oh this stories awsome its like the theme of two lovers always finding eachother no matter what, ur really good at writting stories^^
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