• He gave her a flirty smile, and just like all the thousands of preps at school, she, the freak, fell head over heals. He took her by the hand and said, "Come on, I want to show you a special spot. You can see the full moon perfectly from there. I have never shown this place to anyone."
    They headed down the hall to the gym and went out the double doors at the back and into the bright moonlight. They passed the football field, the soccer field and the baseball diamond and kept going. It all felt so mysterious. He was taking her to a special spot that no one else had seen. She had butterflies in her stomach at the thought of her very first kiss. They passed some trees and came to a clearing, fully lit by the sparkling moonbeams. The clearing was on a hill, overlooking the creek and the small town. The creek looked like a glistening snake winding through the town below. Lights shown through the windows of houses like stars.
    "W-wow," She said, awestruck. " It's so beautiful."
    "Just like you," he said, taking her chin in his hand. She stared into his green eyes, and was lost in them. He leaned over and kissed her. 'So this is a kiss', She thought, 'this is what the cheerleaders wait for'. It was well worth waiting for. He put his arms around her and they kissed and kissed. She wished that the moment would never end. But sadly, the kiss ended as quickly as it began. He held her out in front of him.
    "How do you feel?" he asked, looking into her eyes. She thought it was a strange question, but answered, "I feel great...but I..feel very sleepy...."
    She looked up at him, and saw he had a sad smile.
    "I'm sorry," he said. " I really do like you."
    "What are you talking about? What do you mean?" She asked.
    Something was wrong. She tried to move away, but she couldn't move her arms or legs. He raised up a hand and waved at something in the distance. A dark figure jumped from the trees. He landed a few feet away, crouching. He stood up eyes glinting bright red in the darkness. She gasped, as she recognized the figure.
    "Well hello there, dear Sakura." Said the figure, with a menacing grin.
    "You're....you're," She stammered, unbelieving.
    "Yes dear Sakura, I am Absentis," He responded. He seemed quite amused at her fear.
    "I did what you said, my lord, she can't move," Rick said, eyes downcast. He took her by the shoulders, and kissed her on the cheek. "I'm sorry, Sakura."
    "My dearest Sakura, you certainly dress darker than I would have guessed. But let's not sit around chatting, we really must be going. Rick, if you will." He said, holding out a hand. She looked at Rick for help, but he wouldn't meet her eyes. He held her out to Absentis, looking at the ground. She strained with every muscle she could, trying to escape, but she couldn't move. Absentis grabbed her by the arm and picked her up.
    "NO! PUT ME DOWN! PUT ME DOWN!" She cried out frantically, hoping they weren't too far away for someone to hear.
    "Now, now. Don't be a nuisance. Hush." Absentis hissed. He passed a hand over her mouth and muttered something under his breath. "Silens Os !"
    She moved her lips, and all she could force out was a small squeak. She strained as hard as she could, and finally she could move. She twisted out of Absentis's grasp, and fell to the ground. Amanda sprinted as fast as she could across the field. 'I guess I shouldn't have skipped all those gym classes,' She thought. She turned to see Absentis holding out his hand.
    "Atra Umbra Incurso!" he shouted. He shot a ball of dark shadows at her. It hit her square in the back and she fell to the ground, twitching. She felt like her whole body had been hit with a hammer. She looked up to see Absentis stride over to her. "You certainly are quite a fighter, but we'll soon put an end to that." He held a hand over her head, and she blacked out.

    "Oh, my head." She mumbled, waking up. "What a wierd dream. Oh man I'm probably late for school." But something was wrong. Her arms and legs were tied together, and she had a..collar? "W-what the hell? Where am I? What's going on?" She sat up as best she could, struggling until she was able to sit up straight. She was in a cage, the bars were glowing a bright pink, as if by magic. She was in a large room of stone, with large marble pillars at the front of the room. There was only one door in the room, and no windows. There were three other cages in the room with her, but they were empty. The bottom of the cage was reflective and she looked at her reflection. She looked pretty beat up from falling the night before. She noticed something different though. She was wearing a red kimono, with black lining. She blushed as she thought about how she got into it. Instead of her short dark brown hair, it was long and silver. Her eyes were no longer brown, but a shade of light yellow. And her ears were gone. But no, they weren't gone, they were on her head. She now had silver dog ears. She had turned into her character! "HEY! Somebody! Anybody! Help me!" She shouted, hoping someone could hear. Someone did hear, and the door opened. Absentis stepped in the door and closed it, a triumphant smile on his face.
    "Oh, awake now are you? I do hope you are comfortable. You will be here quite a while. At least until your little friends get here." He grinned, strolling over to her cage.
    "Let me out of this cage! What do you want with me? What did you do to me?!?" She shouted, his smug grin enraging her.
    "What did I do? I did nothing. I simply removed the illusion around you. You have always looked that way, just not to be seen by mortal eyes."
    A look of confusion crossed her face, and Absentis simply laughed.
    "But, this can't be right! I only made that character up! I saw a T.V. show and made her up! How can I turn into someone that doesn't exist?" She shouted.
    Her mind was buzzing with thoughts, and Absentis was taking his time answering.
    He began, "Where do you think you got the character, Sakura? You were born a half-demon, just like your brother. You're mother, wishing to protect you from stronger demons, had a spell put on you by a local priestess. She then took you to what was known as the Bone Eaters Well. You came through, to the present time, only an infant. A pair of mortal humans took you in, believing you to be one of their own. You knew of your demon side then, and you went back through the well to see your true home. But then, you happened to meet some friends. Then you got into a little trouble, with me. Tired of all the danger and fighting, you took your own memory and returned to the present. You have lived in ignorant bliss of the dangers about you for a very long time. The internet was a simple way for me to find you again."
    "But, I know the person who plays you in the forum. He's my friend, and you aren't him! How can you be Absentis?" She asked, more and more questions flying into her head.
    He approached the cage, and stared in at her through the bars. "Do you realize how simple it is to control the human mind? To take control of the thoughts of such a simple creature? I'm sorry, but I can not let you go. You see, I need you to lure those friends of yours here. But I don't think you need those miniscule bondages. It isn't as though you can get out of that cage." He said. He snapped his fingers, and the ropes that bound her arms and legs seemed to dissapear. The cage wasn't tall enough for her to stand, so she sat on her legs. She crawled over to the bars and grabbed hold of them. Pain shot through her hands and she pulled them away. Her palms were smoking slightly and looked burnt.
    "Who do you mean by 'little friends'?" She asked.
    "Why, dear Sakura, don't tell me you've forgotten so quickly?" He said, not answering my question.
    "I don't know- " Then it struck her. "You mean Damon, Jason and Edward?" She could tell by Absentis's amused smile that that was it. " What are you going to do to us when they get here?" She asked. His smile only grew wider, and his eyes sparkled evilly.
    "You and your friends each have special powers that make you unique. Your friend Jason has elemental power. His brother, Damon, has his vampiric power. That mortal boy, Edward, has alchemic power. And you, my dear, have your demonic power." She looked down at her chewed fingernails, which were no longer down to the skin. They were actually pretty long now, and very sharp. Oh boy, she thought, this is major. "I intend to take those powers from you. But sadly, the process will kill you. Pity, but everything comes with a price."
    "Then why don't you just kill me now? I don't want to be bait to lure my friends to death," She said, not wanting to be bait or to die.
    "Oh, I wanted to wait until all your little friends were here so they can watch. It is quite the slow and painful death, so it is rather fun to watch," He laughed cruelly, eyes glittering with evil.
    "No! You b*****d! Let me go! You can't do this!" She cried, grabbing hold of the bars. She ignored the searing pain in her hands and glared at Absentis. He reached through the bars and grabbed her by the chin. He returned her glare, making shivers go up and down her spine.
    "I can't do this? Do you realize who you are talking to, little pup? I am Absentis Animus, the most powerful shadow mage in the world. Be careful who you speak to; I can make your brief stay here very painful for you." She pulled her chin away from his hand and scowled.
    Just then the door opened, and a ghastly looking creature walked in. It's face was distorted into a mask of permanent anguish. It's skin hung about it's arms and legs, as if it was melting. It bowed akwardly to Absentis and whispered something in his ear. Absentis frowned for a moment, then grinned with delight. "Well, bring him in. I'm sure Miss Sakura would like to see him." He turned toward her, then indicated the door.
    Two more of the ugly creatures came in, dragging a boy behind them. The boy didn't look much older than 18, and his black hair hung over his eyes. He looked exhausted, and he was cut up and bleeding. He had a rather large gash on his forehead, which was badly bleeding. By the way they dragged him, he must have been unconcious. One of the creatures opened the cage next to Sakura's, and the other two threw him in. He landed with a thud on the floor of the cage."Miss Sakura, I'm sure you have met your friend, Jason," he said, with his wolflike grin.
    "Wh-what? That's....Jason?" She stuttered. She couldn't believe it. This truly was happening. The characters on the forum....they must really have existed. And she existed. She was no longer Amanda Kausch, the boring, gothic human. She was Sakura, and she was a half dog demon. "Jason? JASON? Can you hear me?" She called out to him.
    Jason didn't stir; he was out cold. Absentis stepped over to Jason's cage and looked at him for a moment. Sakura noticed he was looking at a coat of arms on Jason's coat. For a quick second, a look of shock came over his face. Then his face turned to pure joy. He walked quickly over to her cage. " Dear Sakura, you must tell me. What relation do you have to that boy's brother? Tell me everything you know about them! Now!" He demanded.
    Heh, she thought, this is more like it. He needs me for information now, and I'm not about to tell him. " I don't know very much about them. And even if I did, I'm not obliged to tell you," She said, smiling brazenly.
    Absentis's face filled with rage, and he reached through the bars and grabbed her by the neck. " TELL ME NOW, DAMN YOU!" he shouted, squeezing her neck.
    " I won't...tell you..." She choked.
    He dropped her and scowled. He walked quickly over to Jason's cage and pulled out a wicked looking dagger. "Fine," he said. "Maybe a little persuasion will make you talk." He brought the blade close to Jasons neck. "Tell me Sakura, or your friend here will wake up dead."
    "No, don't hurt him. I'll tell you," She said. She was glad Jason was not concious to hear her shame herself. She dropped her head and looked at the floor. "His brother's name is Damon Delacroix. He is a half vampire. He is prone to very dangerous blood lust, and I am not related to him. That is all I know." Feh, with all that had been going on, she could have been Damon's mother.
    Just then, Sakura noticed Jason begin to stir. He opened his eyes, which were a shade of pale blue. He looked around the room for a moment, then spotted her. His eyes widened, and he sat up. He looked exhausted, and layed back down in his cage.
    "Now that's a good little demon. But you are a bit too loyal to your friends. I would not have killed your little playmate," Absentis grinned. He took the dagger and slashed Jason across the face, who let out a yelp of surprise. His hand went to his face, touching the bleeding cut. "But I should mention that this particular dagger is soaked with basalisk venom. Your friend will be in great pain in a few moments." He cackled cruelly, turning and walking towards an empty chair at the front of the room.
    Jason looked over at her and winked. He pulled a small blue bottle from his pocket and drank a bit of it, then slipped it back into his pocket. "Are you alright, Miss Sakura?" He whispered, keeping his voice low so Absentis wouldn't hear. Absentis sat in the chair, playing with a blackish mist around his fingers.
    "Yes, I'm fine. But what about you? Aren't you in pain?" She replied, lowering her voice, too.
    "Oh, I'm fine. That bottle I drank from is a family remedy. Never fails." He smiled weakly and sat back in his cage. He layed down on the floor of the cage, then whispered again. "Needless to say, we need to find a way out of here. We must find brother and Mister Elric."
    "Plotting your escape, eh?" Absentis said, not looking up from the blackish mist around his fingers. "No use in trying, unless you have something to break the barrier. Like your staff, perhaps?" Sithis pulled a long, crooked looking staff from his cloak. Jason looked up and gasped.
    "You b*****d! That was mine! Give it back!" Absentis merely chuckled and set the staff on the ground.
    "Come and get it then. It's right there, just take it." Absentis sneered, enjoying Jason's anger. He reminded her of a schoolyard bully, taking the smaller kids toy.
    Come on! Think! I have to help somehow.., she thought to herself, Wait.....hold on..... If she really was Sakura...then that meant.....Slowly, as Absentis enjoyed himself, she took one of her now razor sharp nails and slid it across her wrist. She felt the warm blood begin to trickle down her hand. She dipped her fingers in the now puddling blood. She brought her dripping hand in the air and looked towards Absentis. "Hey jackass! Take this! Blades of Blood!!" She shouted, raising her arm and ripping it through the air. She felt an almost static felling move through her and out her fingertips as bright red energy shot out at the startled Absentis.