My quest to find the others is nearly hard to sum up in one chapter. I didn’t start it alone. I had a little help. That itself is hard to explain. But, I’ll try.

First, there are my memories. I have always had trouble with my memory. I would walk into walls that I would forget were there. I’d forget what I was talking about in the middle of a conversation. Same goes for when I leave my house to go out somewhere. I have even crashed my bike into a light pole; all because I forgot it was there. Stuff like that. Now, what was I talking? Oh yeah, help with finding the others.

The story goes like this:

Five days ago, I got a strange text message. I wasn’t familiar with the number. Spam, maybe? I had to see.

“We need to talk. I will meet you at the front gate after school,” it read. I stared at the screen. I wanted to text back, but the bell rang to start classes. I put my cell phone back into my bag. Oh well, I’ll have to see after class.

I tried not to watch the clock during class. That only makes time drag on slower. Tried to focus on something else. No matter how many notes I took that day, my mind kept wandering back to that text. Who sent it to me? What do they want to talk to me about and why?

Three o’clock finally came. I quickly walked outside without looking at anyone. (I felt them staring at me already. I’ll talk about that later.) I finally made it to the front gate. I looked around. At first, there was nobody in sight. I pulled out my phone and read the message. I looked out again. That’s when I saw him.

He was hard to miss. He looked out of place. I had to blink to see if I was dreaming or not. He only stared at me. He looked cold with no soul. His pale skin looked so cold. I wanted to run away, but something about him drew me in closer. Before I knew what happened, we were inches from each other. His dead yet lovely grey eyes made my blood run cold.

“You Phoenix Finch?” he asked.

“Y-Yes,” I said, nodding. “Why?” He kept his eyes trained on me.

“I knew your sister,” he said. My eyes widened at that statement.

“You knew Katie?” I asked. “How?”

“Not here!” he whispered. I blinked at him.

“Where?” I whispered.

“Follow me,” he said. Then, he grabbed me by the hand and dragged me out of the schoolyard. Bad feelings didn’t leave my head.

We came out to the park. He let go of my wrist. I eyed him, confused. Who was this guy?

“I go by the name of Orochi,” he said. My eyes widened at him.

“You can hear my thoughts?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said. “I was a close friend of your sister’s.” My eyes widened.

“No way!” I gasped out. Orochi nodded at me.

“Yes,” he replied. “I met Katie at a house party.” I slowly took it all into my head. I felt myself rising.

“Friend of Katie’s…” I mumbled. Something came over me. I now had a close link to my sister again. Maybe, I could get some answers about her death. I became tough.

“Tell me something, Orochi,” I said. “Do you believe Katie committed suicide?” He didn’t speak.

“Do you want the truth?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said, nodding.

“Very well,” Orochi said. “No. Katie was murdered.”

“I knew it,” I mumbled to myself. That prompted me to ask another question. I walked up to Orochi and turned my back to him. I lowered my blouse from my shoulder. I swallowed as I began to feel cold.

“What is this, exactly?” I asked. Grim silence came at first. I tightly shut my eyes as I felt the number twenty-two burned into my skin. I clenched my teeth tightly.

“When did you get this?” I heard Orochi ask.

“Three days ago,” I answered. “It always burns.”

“Alcloud,” I heard him whisper. I looked up at that word.

“Alcloud?” I asked. “Who is that?” I didn’t get an answer. Instead, I felt him grabbing me from behind. I froze up in a panic. He licked me on the ear lobe. I breathed heavily to relax. What was he doing to me? He leaned in close to my ear from behind.

“I will help you,” Orochi whispered. “Alcloud will kill you if I don’t.” I slowly shut my eyes.

“Not just me,” I said. I felt him freezing.

“Not just you?” he asked. I shook my head.

“Thirty-six others will die with me,” I added. “Next year… on the Fire Festival.” There was a moment of silence.

“And you need to find the others?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said, closing my eyes. He held me closer to him.

“Okay,” Orochi said. “I’ll help you find the others and your sister’s killer.” I opened my eyes quickly.

“You will?” I asked.

“Yes,” Orochi replied. I shut my eyes again. I finally was getting started it on Katie’s, the other victims’ and my problems. Yet, it also opened up a confusing maze for all of us. I only wanted to find the truth.

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