3. "It’d be too close to how he lost… No."

                Axel’s new school was quite the ghetto. He’d lived in a bad neighborhood before, so this was nothing new to him. His mother was always anxious and worried about him, but his father always would point out that he’d grown into muscle and had fighting lessons for a few years.

                He’d made friends, and a few of them seemed promising. Once, he’d been at someone’s house for a meet and greet. He was doing just fine, fitting into society. However, he did keep it out of the topics that he had a blind person whom he considered his best friend. Ever since the night they met and had that deep talk,  he would always go over to Felix’s whether to help his family with chores, or read and talk to him. Within several weeks, the whole of the Carreen family had accepted him almost as family. But he himself didn’t feel like a brother to Felix.

                One day, he was driving to the university he attended when he noticed a familiar pair of mother and son, both of whom had blonde hair. The boy was swinging lazily on a swing and the mother seemed to be talking to a friend. He could collect his papers the next day.

                Parking aside, he approached Mrs. Carreen with a smile. When she finally noticed him, a grin appeared on her own face.

                “Hello, Mrs. C. How are you?” he greeted, carefully making sure to nod politely at the other unfamiliar woman.               

                “Hello, Axel. This lovely person right here is Ms. Janice. She lives closer to you by two houses.”

                He nodded, saying, “Pleased to meet you, Ms. Janice.” He held out his hand and she shook it.

                “Axel?” a male’s voice spoke from behind him. This time, the grin on the black-haired boy’s lips was sincere. The blonde woman in front of him waved him off. He turned around, walked up to Felix and promptly scooped him up into a bear hug. So many smiles. This time, one appeared on Felix’s face.

                “Hi Fel. What brings you to the outside world?”

                “Nothing, really. Mainly my mom.” The taller boy set him down and sat in the swing right by the blind boy. “Were you driving to the university?” That took Axel slightly by surprise.

                “Yea, how did you know?”

                “This is Underbridge Road. If you’d made a right turn, you’d have reached Overrein Street, and a couple blocks straight would be Ethersin University. Or that’s just me assuming you’re smart, since Ethersin is pretty prominent.” Felix seemed quite proud of himself, having remembered so much in such a long time. And Axel actually clapped, amazed, and slightly flattered that the younger boy looked up to him like that. And as always, talking to this boy always led him to thinking about how difficult being blind is. A permanent blindfold that requires thousands of dollars to take off.

                “So what brings you here?” Felix’s voice brought him back to reality.

                “Huh?”
                “You were driving to the university, right? What made you stop at this park?”

                “Oh. Just thought I’d drop by and say hi. You want me to go to your house today, again, or do you want to consider this our daily meetup?” He thought for a moment.

                “This would be a very lame meetup, since we were supposed to finish ‘The Hunger Games’ today.” He glanced in the general direction of the older boy’s voice. Axel tousled his hair lightly. He got up from the swing, brushing himself off.

                “Alright then. I still have to collect some papers from the university. It’ll take roughly an hour or half to get some other errands done, too, so make sure you’re home by then. Or else you’ll never know who wins Katniss’ heart!” He gave him another brief hug, waved Mrs. Carreen and Ms. Janice good-bye and left for university.

                He had finally finished getting the papers and running them by all the professors. Axel was just getting out of his car at home, all ready to visit the Carreen household when the blonde mother hurried up to him, in obvious distress. She had been sobbing badly, barely able to get the words out.

                “Calm down, Mrs. C, slow down. Tell me, what is wrong?” He tried to sound as calm as he was telling her to be, but he couldn’t keep the alarm out of his voice.

                “Felix! Drunkard… car… hit him…” she managed to sputter out.

                “He was hit by a drunkard?” She nodded confirmation.

                “His father… with him…”

                “Okay, get into my car; I’ll drive both of us to whatever hospital he’s in. Just calm down and point the way.

                After several long minutes of speeding and breaking several traffic laws, they finally arrived at the hospital. Axel rushed in first, slightly crazed. He sure as hell didn’t want to lose someone like Felix. He was the only person he could share his pain with. They’d known eachother for only a few weeks, but they knew all the darkest things about eachother. It’d be too close to how he lost… No, he shoved the thought out of his mind, focusing on Felix. He waited for what seemed like forever before the receptionist get to him and told him the room number for Felix once he was out of emergency care. He asked for the location of that room and immediately ran towards it, almost leaving the distressed mother behind. Mr. Carreen stood up when he spotted the two running towards him.

                “Nice to see you again, Axel, if this weren’t such a grim day. It’ll be okay, Terene.” She was still unable to speak, completely overwhelmed by the possibility Felix’s life could fade at any moment.

                What is wrong with you? Kylar scolded.

                I work for the devil, what did you expect? Rainbows and kittens? Fortuna sounded pleased by her work, Now get to mending these difficulties. Axel is not allowed to break.

                Already working on that.

                Axel felt numb. The unwant in him was the only thing that blazed. He wasn’t a believer when it came to religion, but he prayed endlessly, uttering nonsense he’d learned in school, but meant nothing to him.

                Finally, it was three hours later that a doctor came out with an announcement for them.             

                “He is fine!” he said proudly. All the tension in Axel’s body and mind released, and he was almost laughing with immense relief. Mrs. Carreen’s tears of worry and panic turned into tears of joy.

                “He’s actually awake and able to talk. Of course, still recovering from the hit, so he’s going to be staying a week or so. Other than that, feel free to go in and talk to him.” It response, Axel pushed pass the doctor and into the room behind, his eyes watering slightly when he saw the fragile blind boy. He could understand why one would take the blame for any harm done to this boy. He looked like a lost stray, wounded and one you weren’t allowed to take home. It’d be enough to break anyone’s heart. He neared the boy in the bed cautiously, making sure not to make any noise. However, his efforts were unsuccessful.

                Felix turned in his direction. His left cheek had a large bandage on it, evidence of a bad scrape underneath.

                “Hello, whoever you are,” he said absently. Axel had to sigh in admiration.

                “How is it that your ears are so sharp?” he replied, not bothering to be quiet anymore. He had a strong urge to do something, something that was almost a strict taboo. It was difficult, but he did fight it off. He was so close.

 

                “That was quite a difficulty,” Kylar commented. She was evidently fatigued, since her sleep the previous night wasn’t exactly the best. Fortuna was studying her extremely long list of misfortunes.

                “Well, it was one of my more entertaining ones. I’ve played this several times before with other immortals, all of them usually just quit after the first two difficulties. So no one’s ever seen the third hardship,” she said, eyes not leaving her bit of parchment.

                “So is this your first hardship?”

                “Nah. Making Felix blind was. I actually planned this out a really long time ago, and I specifically wanted to play this with you. Because, you know, you’re extremely stubborn when it came to games.”

                “Whatever, let’s just go home. I don’t feel like being late to a conference tomorrow. Someone’s been sealed, and the suspect is from you guys.”

                The next day, Kylar had dressed in her white and green immortal’s gown. She loved the green, not so much the white part.

                Being an angelic immortal was difficult. From all the times Fortuna had dragged her to her meetings, devil meetings were much less frequent and serious. Never once did Kylar bother to bring Fortuna with her to meetings, for devil beings were strictly forbidden from them. She was allowed into devilmeetings as long as she didn’t screw around in them or contribute. Of course, she could risk it, but that would mean eternal death.

                Hours and hours of boring routines. Kylar had fallen asleep several times and was always awoken by an agitated God. This was her way of showing how much she didn’t care. She already knew the routines so well, she could very well recite them herself. It was such a boring thing to have to sit through.

                Finally, they got to the main matter of the sealed immortal. To unseal, God would have to sacrifice the life of a mortal, of not one of the hell beings. It pained all of them. God and Satan were enemies, but nonetheless brothers. They hated eachother to the core, but at least had the decency to avoid touching the other’s servants. Also, the culprit was one of the hellbeings.

                When they got around to this, nearly every angelbeing in the room looked at Kylar.

                Looking around, she muttered, “What?” God sighed.

                “The person we believe most likely did this happens to be your friend, Fortuna. And we need you to get an answer out of her.” Kylar held her head. They choose the angel who’s closest to the suspected culprit and pretty much make them betray the devil spawn. Well, they are terrible people, it’s just that they’re usually best friends similar to Kylar and Fortuna.

                “We all know that I’m either going to put this off a few thousand years or I’m not doing it altogether,” she tried. In this manner, she usually got her way, but not this time. This was too serious a matter to put off.

                “You have one month to do so, or else you will age fifty years,” God declared. Kylar cringed. Aging was one of the worse punishments, Time can be stopped by an immortal, but not rewinded. She’d be forever an elder, and in the immortal’s world, elders are amongst the most hated of them all. Profileless people still had friends, but elders were forever shamed. Even their families would turn their noses in scorn and leave an elder to forever be alone. Elders were beloved and most respected in the mortal’s world, but they were treated barbarically even by God. Here, they are no more than a death-deserving animal.

                “Okay. But may I make attempts to prove her innocence?” she said after several minutes. God nodded.

                “But if she is found to be guilty, both of your punishments will be double the harshness.” So she didn’t have much of a chance, in short.

                She walked home, thinking about how to prove Fortuna’s innocence. The devilgirl didn’t know she was suspected, and Kylar had to play their game along with double-siding against her.

                Fortuna was home, eating chocolates and watching a movie.

                Ky walked up to her, saying, “Hey, you wanna continue playing?” She nodded and paused her movie. Six, seven fingers.

The End

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