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The two raptors returned through the portal and made their way through the camp back to Sctellou. Sctellou turned Herreas’s old tent into his personal area. He sat next to the egg bath, swirling dead carcass meat with his finger. A second egg began to crack. He smiled.
“We have good news, sir,” the raptor said.
“Good, I need some. Was my theory correct?”
“Yes, we can use humans to help build and create portals.”
“Good, that means it’ll be more room for my brothers to take charge once we cross over.”
“Do you have your plan?”
“I do.” Sctellou rose and walked to his table where the mirror sat. On the table was a piece of leather writing. “I was able to contact our source on the other side through this thing. He said that the school is having a final game. Lots of people will be attending. It is a perfect mark.”
“How many men will you take?”
Sctellou shook his head. “No one else will be coming. I only need me. I will prove my leadership by doing this alone. I also feel like the barrier will not be able to support more than one of me and men.”
“We could send more of us over to strengthen the barrier.”
“Look how many of you returned from a simple mission. No, I want you to give me information on this hero you have been facing. I do not want any surprises when I take the game they are playing. From there I can make a new portal with the humans and begin the first steps of the invasion. This is a very simple operation. I just need you and your men ready to go once I form the portal.”
The following week Desmond got the hero treatment before the game. The news story Jerry released said that Desmond saw the break-in at the furniture store and tried to stop the criminals, but they injured him and got away. His blue cast turned black from the collage of sharpie signatures. He got high-five, callouts, and fist bumps from everyone who walked near him. Kyane and Jamie began counting the number of people who came up to him for a bit to see who would win at the end of the school day.
Jamie examined the overlapping signatures on the bleachers the night before the game with Kyane and Desmond. “Will you actually, like, be able to go to this thing or not?” Desmond asked over Jamie’s head.
“No, I can’t go actually. Turns out an evil scientist is now genetically engineering raptor monsters now. So, I gotta stop that, sorry!”
“She’s joking, Desmond. Why do some many of these mention Kyane helping bathe you?”
“They don’t say,” Desmond lifted the cast and looked over it, “that… We’ll whatever so you can come then.”
“Yes. My grandfather and parents and all of them will be taking my duty of watching for any signatures that come up, and since I didn’t save those guys…” her voice faded. Desmond and Jamie could only watch her fall. “What?” She looked; it was obvious they didn’t say anything. “Ahh they think a few more small groups will come through again, but with no commander right now it’ll be slow.”
“Good, you can actually watch a game,” Desmond said.
“That won’t happen,” Jamie said.
“Why? Do you think we will be making out the whole time or something?” Kyane said.
“No, you’ll fall asleep probably. Your body has been going at like 110% for a while, even after your hospitalization. You’ll need some sleep, and nothing is more boring than baseball.”
“Not cool, dude,” Desmond said. “I watched you play one of your game matches online. That was even worse than anything in baseball.”
“No, see you just didn’t get it, the healer was trying to go fight instead of buff my stats up! We would have won if it wasn’t for that!”
“I’m not- you know what okay. You got us; your games are so much better.”
“Well this was fun.” Kyane grabbed her bag. “But I need to get home and get ready for the game. Look, like halfway nice or something.”
“You look fully nice every day,” Jamie said.
Kyane winked. “Watch out, Desmond, I might just have to go for Jamie instead.”
“I’d like to see that,” Desmond rolled his eyes.
“I’m not interested,” Jamie said.
Kyane faked an offended gasped. “Desmond, defend my honor!”
“Defend your own honor, you’re the one with the super-suit and two working arms!”
“Whatever, bye guys see you at the game.” Kyane stepped down the bleachers. Each step left a rhythmic tang that helped her hide he muffled crying.
Desmond watched Kyane skip down the bleachers. Her steps let out a metallic ring. His gaze stopped when he saw Harry sitting with Mark on the bottom steps. Kyane walked by unaware. Harry looked up for only a minute. Harry shifted his gaze up to Desmond. Desmond turned to look at Jamie before going back to spying on Harry.
Mark read through the most recent script he had been given by his drama teacher Mr. Scilian. He looked up for the only second Harry looked at Desmond. “This is really weird.”
“Yeah, why is your play about a crucible if there isn’t any fire until the end.” Mark rolled his eyes. “You know what The Crucible is. I mean you and Desmond feuding like this. You two have been friends forever.”
“Fourth grade,” Harry said.
“Yeah, basically ever at our age.” Mark continued to flip through his script. “What happened that can’t be made up with some bro-hugs and a punch on the arm?”
Harry shifted around in his seat. “It’s just private stuff, man. I can’t really talk about it.”
“Or you’ll have to kill me. So, you’ve said.”
“Someone would kill you,” Harry mumbled.
“I get it, I get it.” He closed the script and rolled it up. “But, can’t you give me an edited version. Like what was your theme, your thesis of this argument you guys had?”
Harry took a deep breath and thought back to the body numbing the experience of standing in that hospital. The second he left he had more he wanted to say but knew it wouldn’t help. He thought back to those words he said. He didn’t want to. It took a minute for him to get it together.
“He’s doing something I don’t want to do, and I don’t like it I guess.”
“Is it cause he’s hanging out with new people and dating that girl Kyane?” Harry’s only response was to scratch an itch on his face. “Is it that you had a crush on Desmond and know he would hate it if you said that to him.”
“I don’t have a crush on him.” He stuck his hands into his pockets. “It’s just he is doing something dangerous and already caused him pain. I don’t want to stand by and watch, but don’t know what to do.”
Mark nodded. “I see.” He looked at Desmond. He was sprawled out on the bleachers talking to Jamie. Or talking at him would be a better descriptor Mark thought. “You can’t force anyone to do anything. Just I guess support him, be there, and when he needs you, he’ll tell you.”
Harry smiled. “Thanks,” he said. He placed his arm on Mark’s shoulder. He waited to move it to his muscle, but settled for slapping him and saying, “Get your script out, you need practice.”