Chapter 24

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It was another meeting with my “friends,” and I still didn’t realize — or… didn’t want to admit — the truth.

I didn’t really want to go. It seemed like nothing but fighting happened there. And, as entertaining as it was to watch them throw insults at each other — and then proceed to get all worked up when they were insulted back (Really, what were they expecting to happen? Haha!) — it ALSO gave me that world’s equivalent of a headache after only a few minutes.

But they said this one was important. And this was the first they’d held in a very long time.
… And I missed them.

When I got there, I wasn’t sure where to put myself. The room had been divided in two — As on one side and Bs on the other. I awkwardly settled into a corner between the two. The rest of the group filed in. I waited for the arguing to begin…
But it never came.

Evidently I’d missed something, because everyone else seemed to be on the same page already. They were just there to hash out details and make it all official.
They had decided to move all the Hybrids into one building. It seemed like it would be cramped to me, but the small size was, apparently, exactly what they were going for — although it would take multiple “events.” There was discussion of whether it would be small enough and if they’d have enough of a specific material.

It took me… too long… to understand what they meant.
But even once I did.
It… It actually sounded like a good idea at the time.

I mean, it would work, right?
And I wanted that peace back just as much as they did, right?!
And besides… At least, back then, it actually sounded…

Entertaining.

So much so, in fact, that I agreed to help oversee the construction of the building.

It seemed like it was built in no time.
And was filled in even less time than that.

I-t-…
I-it…

(C’mon… I can do this… I CAN do this…!)


… It wasn’t until after… after one group had already burned…!

 

The thing… about the Flames. They… The hunger doesn’t stop until it’s sated. Completely sated.
And by then… BY THEN THEY HAD-!

 

I was… I was up high, on top of a platform.
Both sides, As and Bs, were watching the fire rage inside the building. Screams were coming from inside, and the smell… it was terrible.
But. It “made my mouth water,” even as everyone else protected themselves from it, trying not to “gag.”

And below.
They were struggling to contain the next group. That group was struggling, fighting so hard to escape. But even more than that-
-they were pleading. Begging their friends — their families — to “wake up.”

Then.

One of them tried to kill me.

I looked down at them, only to see them killed on the spot.

That’s when I woke up.
And realized… I was smiling.

 

I just froze.

I couldn’t process it.

What had happened? — I knew what happened.
What was going on? — I’d set a Flame.
How…?

 

< HOW DO I STOP IT?! >

 

I was already “full!” I couldn’t absorb any more demonic energy!

And I didn’t have any authority. I couldn’t just order them to stop!

But.
I did have some say.

 

I could leave.

I needed to LEAVE!

 

But… How could I?
I couldn’t just leave them like this!

I had to do something. I HAD to do SOMETHING!!!

… And there was only one thing I could think of — before they started to lead the next group in.

 

I shouted — I waved — I did anything so they’d hear me.
I said I wanted to make an announcement.

… And I managed to get their attention. Everyone’s attention.

In the pause before I did anything, I could hear some of the Hybrids below cursing me.
< Good, > I thought. < Blame me. Just not each other. Not anymore! >

I wasn’t exactly eloquent. But with my plan, I didn’t need to be. I hoped.

I apologized. It was the only thing I could do!
… The only thing I had left.

And I confessed. That I’d been running from my own problems. And dragged them into it.
Confessed I wasn’t some “wise traveller.”

I told them to stop. All of it. To go back to how they were before I’d arrived.

And then… I jumped.
I fell.

 

I “left.”


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