It was nearing 7AM on a Saturday morning. Rex had been laying awake in bed for a few hours just staring at the ceiling where his thoughts gathered above him. Amoung them, the events of the previous week replayed on a seemingly endless loop, like video clips without sound; getting a ‘D-‘ on a Physics test, a subject he detested with every fiber of his being and serving three straight days of detention for showing up late to said class. It hadn’t even been two months yet into the new school year and already his teacher Mr. Dalian was on his case like a tick on a dog and he couldn’t figure out why. Even now he wondered how he mustered the restraint to not strangle the wretched man as they sat alone in the library after school Wednesday through to Friday.
‘Man, why does high school have to be such a freaking iron maiden’ he thought to himself. The saving grace was, at least his grandmother was away on business for for a month and wasn’t due back until the following weekend so he basically had the house to himself. He had been living with her from the time he was very small, as far as he knew, his parents died in a terrible accident when he was barely a year old. His thoughts then shifted as his mind ran on a mathematics assignment that was due the following Monday. He groaned, deciding to put it off yet again. Just like Physics, he held a severe disdain for mathematics. Who doesn’t anyway?
He let out a long sigh before pushing back the sheets and hopping out of bed. Stretching his arms above his head, his eyes roved around the room. It was rather bland looking with a faded red paint that covered the poster-less walls. The only thing that stood out wad a nicely varnished queen sized, mahogany four poster bed that sat against the western wall. He made his way over to the windows, pulling aside the thick, brown, ornate patterned curtains and looked out at the suburbs of Blue Moon Fall. Whilst scanning the mostly boring and quiet neighborhood, as the early morning sun bathed his lean, athletic, dark chocolate complexioned physique, a loud ringing sound suddenly filled his ears. He turned around with a slight scowl on his face as he sailed drearily over to his bedside table where his blackberry was ringing incessantly.
“What the hell could she want so early in the morning?” he muttered to himself, convinced it was his grandmother, only to see it was Fares. Fares and him had been best friends ever since his freshman year and was the primary reason he hadn’t completely lot his mind so to speak.
“yo, what’s up?” he answered with a slight drawl in his tone.
“Good morning to you too early bird,” Fares responded brightly “did I wake you?”
“uh, no actually, I’ve been up since 5” Rex said, his voice still somewhat tired
“oh, how come?” Fares asked “you’re usually snoring away until midday on a weekend.”
“well how come you’re calling so early” Rex shot back jokingly,
“Well I wanted to see how you were. I mean after I didn’t see you yesterday after your detention, I wanted to make sure you were ok.” Fares responded, sounding a bit concerned.
“also I wanted to know if you had any plans this weekend”
“No, not really.” Rex responded “why?”
“I was thinking maybe we could go on a little field trip”
Rex furrowed his brow. “What sort of field trip?”
“Well, there is this really cool party happening out of town later on.” Fares answered him in a rather mischievous tone
“Look, if its one of those lame, wild jock parties the football team—–” Rex attempted to brush him off
“Nah it’s not like that at all, this one’s even cooler, you see it’s hosted by this really exclusive fraternity from Steelix University” Fares interrupted him
“A college fraternity?” Rex’s response came out more like a sarcastic statement than a question. He chuckled loudly. “Look man not to rain on your parade but I think you got duped”
“Why do you say that?” Fares said lightly
“We are High School Juniors ok?! College kids aren’t even aware that kids like us even exist, much less a fraternity” Rex’s response sounded nothing short of a stern chastisement of a child by an adult, even though his voice retained an undertone of laughter.
“Yeah that’s you Rexy boy, always the skeptic. But I’m telling you these guys are legit, no joke.” Fares said
“OK OK, so exactly how did you get us invited, everything I just said considered?” Rex continued to press him ” And what is this Fraternity’s name? Is it some cheesy Greek name like Kappa Tau Gama or Omega Psi Chi? What?”
“I think you’ve been watching way too much Greek” Fares chortled
“I hardly watch TV remember”
“Anyway no Greek, the fraternity’s name is the Brotherhood of the Queen’s Faithful. They’re coed, which means both male and female members. As to how I got invited, well let’s just say I have connections. They said I could bring a few friends along and you being my best friend, of course you’re my first option”
“How thoughtful of you” Rex said dryly
“And of course we’ll be having a guest tag along with us” Fares continued is tone going dark, like in a very scandalous way.
“Who?” Rex asked
“This girl that just moved in next door to me a few days ago, she’s gorgeous” Fares said airily. “Her name’s Esme by the way and she’s starting school with us on Monday.”
“Her parents must be really laissez-faire to let her go to a college party with a guy she barely knows.” Rex teased him
“Haha, I guess you could say that, and don’t forget my wicked charm” Fares sounded almost like he was gloating.
“Hey don’t hate me cause I’m fly”
“I wonder who told you you were” Rex laughed
“Oh so you got jokes now eh” Fares fought back
Rex snickered. “Here’s an idea, how about you and your lady friend go instead, I’ll probably be a third wheel anyway. I’m not really in a party spirit”
“Nonsense” Fares protested “come on mate join us. You deserve to have some fun, besides what are you gonna do lay around all day doing nothing? I mean after all the hell Dalian’s put you through this week, it won’t hurt to take a load off. Come on whadda ya say”
Fares did have a point. Rex reluctantly agreed. “Sure, why not”
“Cool” Fares said in a satisfied way.
“Oh shit” Rex cursed, smacking his palm against his forehead
“What’s the matter”
“Mrs. Whalzingham’s Math homework” Rex grumbled
“Oh no sweat mate, I finished ages ago, you can copy off mine when we get back.
“Fares, what would I do without you”
“Waste away in boredom and misery. So you’re back in?”
“Cool, meet us by Kai’s Arcade in one hour and hurry, cause its a long drive outta town”
“Sure, see you there”
Rex wasted no time in preparing himself. After about 20 minutes he found himself infront of the mirror fully dressed in a grey v-necked top and black jeans. After running the comb through his thick woolly hair a few times, he grabbed his cell phone, slipped his black converse shoes and was out the door.
The neighborhood was coming alive as Rex made his way down the sidewalk on his skateboard, which was the total opposite of what it was during the week. Different models of jeeps and cars lined the driveways and residents started taking to the outdoors, either in their pajamas or jogging outfits. Rex swerved to the right as he passed a young couple on their morning run before making a right turn down another street.
Before long he had left the suburbs and was now at the centre of the bustling metropolis that was Steelix City. His eyes narrowed and jolted in every direction as he came to a sudden halt. An uneasy feeling had hung over him. Something just didn’t seem right though he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. All he knew was that he didn’t want to be here. For the moment he simply drew a deep breath and closed his eyes only to reopen them a few moments later when he heard a familiar voice calling out his name.
He looked around quickly spotting a tall, dark olive complexioned boy with short curly locks, standing in front of a building that resembled a Rubik cube. He was clad in a yellow and black sweat shirt and black jeans. It was Fares, and he was in the company of a short, brown complexioned beauty with long silky dark hair. She was a few shades lighter than Rex but definitely darker than Fares. She had to be none other than Esme. She wore a pink, diamond patterned tunic top with black leggings and black, knee-length, high heeled leather boots. A mixed look of relief and apprehension plastered across his face as he sailed over to them.
“Hey man you made it” Fares greeted him warmly as the two shared a hug and a fist bump.
“By the way, this is Esme” Fares continued, pointing at the strange girl.
Rex looked her over for a few short seconds, finally recognizing her mixed East Indian and black ancestry now that he stood face to face with her.
“Hello,” She said rather nonchalant,
“Nice to meet you” Rex said awkwardly, shaking her hands. Fares wasn’t joking, she was quite the looker. Full lips and piercing light brown eyes, she was quite the catch. Rex couldn’t help but feel a little jealous.
“Yeah, Fares brought me along to familiarize myself with the place and get to know a few people” she said with a sudden surge of confidence, “Fares and I are already acquainted and now I’m meeting you. At least I know I won’t be a total stranger when I start school next week.”
“Ok, cool” Rex said “well it’s great we’ll be seeing more of each other from now on then”
“So now that everyone is here, let’s get a move on, shall we, times a wasting” Fares chimed in sounding almost like a pirate ship captain.
With that, the trio made their way up the street toward Fares’ black hummer. After they all strapped themselves in, the engines were revved and it was off down the road.
After nearly half a day of navigating through a sea of highway traffic, the gang finally arrived at a secluded and vastly forested location far beyond the outskirts of the city. A single narrow road led in and out. It was late afternoon, almost evening with only a few more minutes of daylight remaining.
“Fares, where are we” Esme asked just awaking from a long doze.
“Oh nice of you to rejoin the land of the living” Fares chuckled, “We are a long way from home.”
Esme growled, playfully punching his arm.
Loud music was blasting somewhere nearby which later turned out to be Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love” the further along the road the vehicle drove.
“Yo Rex, we’re here ” Fares called to the back seat where is friend jolted awake.
“Uhn” Rex groaned, he didn’t realize he too had dozed off. Long drives would do that to a person.
“Damn what time is it? And where are we?” he asked when he finally caught himself.
“We’re almost at the party” Fares said as the vehicle gradually decelerated.
They came to a halt at a spot populated by every model of vehicle, from sports cars to range rovers and pick-up trucks.
“Well, this is it guys, time to get our groove on” Fares remarked jovially as they all disembarked the vehicle.
“that music is awfully loud” Esme groaned. She and Rex were still somewhat groggy from their long nap.
“Well duh, we’re at a party, now come on let’s get a move on.” Fares teased in a pep-talkish fashion.
Rex let out a yawn and stretched, finally breaking the drowsy spell. Now that they were all alert, the trio sauntered off into the woods, with Fares leading Esme by hand.
Their trek was a relatively short one, ten minutes to be exact. By which time they arrived at a the edge of a small slope which cascaded into a huge clearing down below which was further bordered by a great lake further down. The turn out was quite impressive: older adolescents and young adults jumped and gyrated to the now playing “Party Rock Anthem”. Another interesting sight was five large bon fires evenly spaced atleast 10 feet apart in a pentagonal formation right at the centre of the clearing.
“Rex, Esme, Welcome to the party of the Century!” Fares exclaimed in a tone of pure ecstasy.
Rex looked at his friend’s face. Fares’ eyes looked blank but still somewhat engaged, it was as though he was suddenly under a spell. Rex was soon overtaken by an uneasy sensation. Whether it was anxiety or a bad sense of foreboding, he didn’t like the direction this night was heading, and he certainly didn’t appreciate the one Fares or Esme were headed in either, who both for the matter ambled down the slope and into the crowd.
“Hey wait for me” He called as he hubbled after them. Navigating through a crowd of intoxicated, dancing college students was no easy feat. Aside from the high, musky stench of alcohol which emanated from them, not surprising as none of them were without a can or plastic cup of beer and God knows what other alcoholic beverage. About 7 times the most he narrowly avoided getting smacked in the face by wildly flailing arms and burned by one of the bonfires.
Before long he caught up with Esme and Fares on the opposite side of the clearing, right beside the lake. Both were in conversation with a tall brown haired, bespectacled young man. He looked around 25.
“Oh there you are Rex” Fares said sheepishly, finally acknowledging his friend’s presence. “Rex I’d like you to meet Joshua Baronstein. He’s a good buddy of mine and one of the big brothers in this Fraternity.”
“It’s nice to meet you Rex,” Joshua said rather cordially, with a somewhat nerdy accent, extending his right hand. Rex could sense something was off about him and it wasn’t the fact that he had been drinking, as evidenced by the bud light can held in his left hand. No it was just his whole aura, it was dark and twisted. Rex couldn’t begin to explain it but he knew Joshua was not someone to be trusted. Even so, he returned the young man’s gesture nervously all the while masking his apparent anxiety with a fake smile and a light nod.
“So I see you didn’t bring a date” Joshua continued,
“They are my date” Rex responded sarcastically, pointing at Fares and Esme, at which they all cackled loudly.
“Well I think we fix that, I’ll be back in a minute” Fares said before disappearing back into the crowd.
Rex looked at a clearly confused Esme and shrugged.
“So, Joshua” Esme said, “this fraternity is called, Brotherhood of the Queen’s Faithful, right? So exactly what queen do you all pledge your allegiance to? If you don’t mind me asking”
Joshua smirked. “You’ll find out soon enough” he said darkly. It sounded almost like a threat.
“Oh, OK?” Esme remarked with a somewhat stiff timidity.
A few moments later Fares returned leading a tall, blonde haired young woman by the hand. She looked no older than 19, fair skinned and clad in a skimpy, two-piece teal attire. In her left hand she held a can of red bull beer.
Rex’s eyes immediately widened as he looked her over, she had a rather disengaged look on her face. You didn’t need to ask whether or not she was high.
‘What, the fuck?’ was the question running through Rex’s mind
“Rex, I’d like you to meet, Selena Alvers, she’s a freshman.” Fares said “Selena, these are my good friends Rex and Esme, and tonight, you’ll be Rex’s dance partner.”
“Um, Hi,” Esme said, waving nervously
“Oh, hey, whatever” Selena replied in a dismissive manner quickly turning her attention to Rex, looking him up and down “so you’re gonna dance with me or not?” it almost sounded like a demand. Rex’s eyes widened further as he furrowed his brows. At that point, Party Rock Anthem had ended and Kelly Rowland’s Commander was now blasting all across the clearing.
“Aaah!!! I love this song” Selena screamed excitedly. Before Rex knew it, Selena grasped a handful of his shirt, and in a fleeting moment in which it seemed like this woman suddenly possessed superhuman strength, she whisked him away into the crowd. Joshua, Esme and Fares quickly followed.
Being in the centre of the madness, Rex felt his inhibitions rapidly stripping away. Feelings of ecstasy and exhilaration jolted through him like electricity through power lines as he became a puppet of the melody. Selena’s gyrations captivated and aroused him in ways he’d never experienced nor any 16 year old boy should ever experience, at least not for another 2 to 5 years, but then again even preteens have done far raunchier and naughtier things.
Immediately following a few songs after that, the duo found themselves out of the clearing and all alone in the woods, locked in a hot make out frenzy.
Halfway through he noticed Selena was becoming a little too aggressive, trying to tear his shirt off. The impressive amount of alcohol in her system as evidenced by its high stench on her breath was clearly propelling her actions.
“Wait, hang on a second” Rex said, stopping her
“What?” Selena answered him impatiently.
“I’ve never done anything like this before” Rex said uneasily,
“Well, tonight is your lucky night. Not many high school boys can say they’ve hooked up with a college girl.” Selena said, her voice ringing with a tone of savage lust. She grabbed him, throwing him to the ground in a swift move and proceeded to straddle him.
“No, Stop!!!” Rex protested, pushing her off of him and quickly scrambled to his feet.
“Selena, listen to me” he continued “you’re drunk, ok? And this is not something you want to be doing, especially not in the state that you’re in right now”
“Ew, what the hell are you? My father?” Selena sneered at him, shooting him a rather nasty look “You mean to tell me, you’re gonna pass up an opportunity of a lifetime, unbelievable!”
“Look, maybe it’s best we just go back to the party”
Selena reluctantly got to her feet and not long after, she was clutching her stomach, moaning. A few moments later she began vomiting and tumbled back to the ground.
“Selena!” he cried, rushing to her side. Propping her up against a tree, he proceeded to examine her face. Her pupils were dilated and her eyes darted wildly all over the place. She tried speaking but her words were so slurry he could hardly make out a thing she was saying.
‘Oh man, what the hell did Fares get me into?’ he cursed in his head.
He quickly but carefully laid Selena flat.
“Stay right here, I’ll go and get help.” were Rex’s final, panic laced words to her before taking off back to the clearing.
A few moments later, he once again found himself navigating through the dancing multitude hoping to find Esme, Fares or even Joshua, or better yet, any of these party animals who wasn’t completely under the influence of alcohol. Though sadly, that wasn’t the case. Aside from the fact that neither of the aforementioned trio were anywhere in sight, everywhere he turned, disoriented, disconnected and utterly wasted faces greeted him. They almost looked like zombies. He even wondered if anyone had fallen into one of the bonfires , but judging from the utter moral decay before his eyes, his best guess was that, these cretins didn’t even care if such a thing had happened. He continued his search nevertheless. When he came to a halt, the currently playing song “Don’t Stop The Music” by Rihanna had done likewise. At that moment a loud cheer went up from from the crowd.
Rex was at a loss.
‘What in the world is going on’ he thought.
Suddenly a loud female voice echoed across the clearing
“Our beloved brethren, Hear me”
The crowd went silent.
Rex redirected his attention toward the source of the voice. Toward the far Eastern end of the clearing, upon an elevated platform, there stood a pale, dark haired young woman clad in a maroon gown. Behind her, stood at least ten individuals clad in black hooded robes. Their faces were obscured.
The young woman continued her monologue. “For generations, our queen has anxiously awaited her resurrection.
This world as we know it has reached a point of reckoning. This era of peace and tranquility will shortly end and a new era will dawn. Tremble at her coming. But first, the gates must open, the seal must be broken and the path of her arrival must be sanctified in blood and fire. This world will end tonight and the fire of Tirania will raze the earth, killing all those who dare to oppose her rule and unleashing an age of perpetual
At that point the silent crowd erupted once again with a frenzy of cheering and whooping.
Rex’s confusion intensified. ‘What sort of sick, depraved nonsense is this woman yacking about?’ he thought ‘and who the bloody hell is Tirania?’
Immediately his mind ran back to Joshua and what he said to Esme earlier.
‘Could this Tirania character be the queen this Fraternity was named for. The person they claim fidelity to? Was this Fraternity some crazy Pagan goddess worshipping cult? If so, how the hell are they allowed to exist at a university? And how the hell did Fares get caught up with these people in the first place?
He felt agitated and frightened. He felt somehow like he was going to lose it. He needed to get as far away from here as possible. He needed to find Fares and Esme and bail.
He began pushing his way through the crowd and as he did, a severe chill ran up his spine, as though all the happiness had suddenly vanished from the world. A very sinister presence had suddenly descended upon the clearing.
“There walks amoung us this night, a very special child.” The woman continued ranting “a child within whose blood flows the power that destroyed our queen and in whose blood lies the key to her revival. And with his sacrifice, Tirania will once again walk in the land of the living”
Soon that chill that overtook him was replaced by a stinging hot sensation. Like hot magma was suddenly coursing through his veins.
“What the hell is this?” he groaned under his breath as he collapsed to his knees and then flat on the ground, writhing in agony. The crowd around him began to gradually disperse and some minutes later, he found himself all alone and coincidentally at the centre of the bon fires and the strange young woman was standing over him.
Rex looked up at her. The evil that lurked behind her eyes and all over her face was unreal. He then took a quick glance around him. Her ten hooded companions had assembled themselves in a circle around them.
“Hello, Rexamilian” she said to him in a sinister, yet soft sugary voice. “With the life of this child, we praise Tirania! All Hail Tirania” she said, this time returning her attention to the crowd around her who in response yelled
Rex wanted with all his heart to believe everything that was happening was part of some cruel joke, or better yet, it was a nightmare. But neither desired scenario could explain the ever intensifying pain that continued to grip his body. It was all very real no matter how much he wished otherwise. But why, why him? Why was any of this happening? Is this what his best friend invited him here for? To be some crazy cult’s sacrificial lamb to some weird pagan deity.
Rex couldn’t help but think this would be his very last night in the land of the living.
The pale, red gowned woman was suddenly armed with a weird looking silver dagger, her attention now returned to him. Fully fixed and unflinching was her murderous gaze as she raised the dagger above her head, the crowd around her chanting in a mad frenzy egging her on to commit her evil deed.
Rex closed his eyes, preparing himself for what seemed like the inevitable. His pain intensified yet again, forcing him to open his eyes which would then behold something truly frightening. And no, it wasn’t the dagger that was bearing down upon him. No, it was the sky. It was rapidly turning a bright scarlet.
Rex’s body began to glow. He let out a loud ear piercing yell, propelled by his unabating agony. Moments later, a loud nuclear class explosion erupted, sending a gigantic mushroom pillar of smoke and fire ascending into the heavens……..
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