His wide and frightened eyes observed everyone on the old school bus. His face had mostly been hidden by his long tangled dirty blond hair but I could almost feel his cold presence as I searched for an empty seat. He watched me with an unreadable expression. When I glanced back, he looked away quickly, his hair moving, letting me see his every expression. The only seat left was next to the startled-looking boy.
As I sat down next to him he pulled his legs to his chest and breathed in deeply.
"I've seen it, I know you. I know all of you," said a quiet raspy voice, he sounded like he just woke up or as if he had a rather bad cold but either way it sent violent shivers up my spine.
"What do you mean?" I asked. The shaken boy buried his face in his knees and said nothing.
That next morning I made my way to the bus stop, when I got on the bus there were plenty of spare seats as I was early, yet I was drawn to the small cowering figure at the back of the bus. I took the seat next to the fragile boy and he eyed me curiously.
"My name is Lucas," I said to the boy, hoping he would reply by telling me his own name, but as I expected he remained awkwardly silent.
"What's your name?" I asked hoping he would get the message this time.
"Tate," he answered shortly.
It went on like this for several weeks, I would ask Tate questions and get short simple replies but with time the length of Tate's sentences grew. It was a few weeks later I found out what was troubling the younger boy but it was not what I expected.
"There's this person, well thing. It's well, it's not exactly human. He controls time and existence." Tate paused and took a sharp breath before starting to talk again. "If it doesn't like something you do it can make you disappear into complete and utter oblivion. When he removes someone from the world he removes every trace of their existence, leaving the person completely forgotten, removed from the memory of all who have met him or her. It's running out of bad people to eliminate from this world so its standards of how people should be are getting higher. It's watching and waiting for someone to slip up." He shivered as he finished his last sentence.
I tried to take in everything that Tate had just told me, I knew it couldn't be true, it's just too far fetched.
"Tate are you okay to go home by yourself? Do you want to come to mine?" I asked, the concern for the boy evident in my voice.
Tate got up from his seat and slowly made his way off the now empty school bus.
I was shocked beyond words, was I supposed to believe that crap? Maybe Tate's more crazy than I originally thought. I had to check up on him. I already knew where he lived so doing so should be pretty easy.
Later that night I made my way to Tate's house, it wasn't a very long way to walk so I didn't bother getting a bus or taxi. I felt rather weirdly nervous about checking in on Tate, I had this weird urge to protect him, maybe it's because he is a few years younger than me or because he's smaller and seems more fragile and naive.
Eventually his house came into view, it was a small cottage-like house, much like my own. I knocked on the door only to find it open, hesitantly I walked in but I was not met by a hallway, in fact I was in a large room. The atmosphere in the room wasn't frightening, it was more cold and still, I'm not really sure how to word this but the whole house felt rather dead, like nobody had lived in it in years, never mind a teenage boy. Everything was immaculate, I got the feeling he lived alone.
I heard a muffled noise behind me but I quickly dismissed it as me breathing. I heard the noise again but it was louder this time.. It almost sounded like laughter? I turned around expecting to see him looking at me but he was staring into an old mirror, his laughter growing louder. It wasn't until he reached out to touch the reflective object I realised his hands were smeared with blood.
"Don't worry it's mine, it's my blood," he said trying to assure me when he finally noticed I was behind him. Without thinking I grabbed his hand that was nearest to me, he hissed in protest. What I saw horrified me. He had no nails on the ends of his fingers, they were littered with teeth marks as if he had been biting them.
"Stop!" I yelled as he brought his other bloody hand to his mouth. "Get out! Don't give it a reason to get you," he said staring at me, his eyes glazed with insanity.
I tried to control my insane friend as he struggled fiercely in my tightening grip, suddenly he froze. Leaving the room deadly silent. Except from the slow scraping of footsteps across the wooden floor.
"Looks like I'll have to rewind," whispered a cold chilling voice. It was deeper than Tate's voice. Much deeper.
"What did I tell you? I told you not to tell anyone, you were a bad boy, Tate," said the voice that was now growing aggressive. I tightened my hold on him as he shook in fear.
I tried to gather the courage to turn around, it didn't help that I could hear Tate crying like a baby into my shoulder as he shook uncontrollably.
When I turned around my eyes met the most misshapen, monstrous and repulsive creature I had ever lay my eyes upon. Its skin was grey and peeling, its throat long and its eyes, oh its eyes. They were pure white, no pupil or iris whatsoever. The creature's whole face was sunken and wrinkled. It moved with sharp jagged motions. Before I even noticed what was happening Tate was ripped from my grasp, his tortured screams filled the air.
Tate kept screaming violently, it took me a few seconds to realise it wasn't Tate screaming, it was in fact me, I looked around cautiously. I was in my own bedroom, in my own house...
The next day Tate wasn't on the bus, I asked a few students, even teachers if they had seen him but none of them knew who Tate was.