Chapter 1—Strange Friend

These other kids have shirts like uniforms.

They are beating an old man!

Jack and Damien jump into the dust, two swirls, like Squeak and I don’t exist for awhile. They fight against the bad boys, their sweat glistening and their wild hair beating back and forth.

The old man is grubby like us, I bet he smells. Dark blood oozes from his nose and a split lip. He looks at the ground almost playing with the gravel and dust.

“Fact away from him!” screams Damien.

Jack is quiet and his face is still like always. He is reaching into his right pocket.

A blonde boy from the bad gang moves toward Squeak and I, so Jack pounces, striking once, twice, with whatever he pulled out of his pocket. Dark red is weaving the boy’s blonde hair, pressing it into his skull.

The boy collapses.

The other bad boys run away. Damien’s eyes are red now. He is glowing. He is panting and walking back to me.

“Never come back to Tent City!”

His arm around me, I realize that during the fight his passion had shifted from hating injustice to protecting me. I cannot love anyone as I love Damien, because he loves me.

I love his smell, and I like to feel his sweat fall onto me. It is magic from him. He gets my magic, and I get his.

The old man grunts, but the blonde boy does not move.

“Thank you, boys!” says the old hobo.

Squeak is crying into Jack’s heart.

“Who are those kids?” asks Damien.

The old man sighs, “The… 9—5 kids. They’re a gang from the city. Not sure what they want around here.”

“What is your name?”

“… You may call me ‘Friend’.”