Chapter I

Afni stared up at the sky, and sighed, sadly.

"God…I miss you, so much, Christopher. I wish I was over there, in our world, with you, now…" She lowered her eyes, and looked at the Gateway they'd gone thru. Cars zoomed by, but one pulled off the road, and the driver climbed out, walking around, and sitting down, looking over at her. Though he could not see her, he smiled in her direction, and she smiled back. After standing for a moment, he moved up right near the Gateway. He placed his hand up, not caring if people thought he was crazy, and took a breath. She jumped up, and ran over, touching the Gateway.

"Afni? I don't know if your there, I don't know if you're even alive anymore…But I miss you a lot. I really wish you hadn't given up your one chance, though I understand why you did…Your brother is very happy to know your alright, even if I can't tell him where you are…I love you…" Christopher said, partially softly.

"I love you too…" Her voice was strong, and it surprised her, because she had begun to cry. They stood there, staring into the Gateway, for a few minutes, before he stepped away.

"I love you…" he repeated, and turned, shaking his head, and took off.

Christopher sat on his couch, staring at the television, and, finding nothing good, he threw the remote onto the chair across the room, and stood up.

"Christopher!"

"What, mom?" he called, turning his head.

"Would you take out the garbage?" she called. Groaning, he nodded, and moved into the kitchen, grabbing the tied of bag on the floor by the door.

"Sure…" Turning, he walked down the hall, and tossed open the front door, walking out. He headed to the garbage can, and dropped it in, closing the lid. Lifting his eyes, he saw a girl walking down the sidewalk, wearing a short, short black skirt, and a tight red shirt that stopped beneath her breasts, leaving little to nothing to the imagination. She crossed the street, and placed her hands on his.

"Can you help me?" she asked, flipping her long, blonde hair over her shoulder. He shrugged.

"Maybe…what is it?"

"I'm looking for a guy named Christopher Hitchcock…He's probably about your age…"

"Yeah, I'm Christopher…" She smiled. "What do you need?"

"I'm Candy… a couple of your friends asked me to come by, see if I could cheer you up…" She swung her hips around, moving the skirt up further, but he didn't look. He just shook his head.

"Nah…I'm fine."

"Christopher, I'm going to work now! I'll see you later, honey!" He waved, and his mother climbed in the car, taking off. As soon as she'd turned the corner, Candy moved her hands over Christopher's hips, pulling him close to her, taking his hands and placing them on her stomach, sliding them up.

"I can see your not fine, Christopher…" He pushed her away, and turned.

"I'm fine. Go back to them, tell them I don't need cheering up right now…Besides, no bimbo they send over will help."

"Hey!" He slammed the front door, locking it, and headed up the steps, shaking his head.

Afni stood, shaking her head, and walked away from the Gateway, changing from the blue jeans and white shirt she wore into an ankle-length skirt and long sleeved, somewhat small shirt. Sighing, she rubbed her eyes, and walked down the path into the forest, and out into the open. The sun began to set, and she just stood, taking in the beautiful image that she once held very dear.

Now more than anything, she missed her sister. She missed David. She missed everyone, even April. She felt tears in her eyes, and then felt them slide down her cheeks, landing on her shirt. She took a deep breath, closing her eyes, and dropped to her knees, holding her head, crying.

She cried for a few minutes, before sniffling, and regaining herself. She stood, shaking away her sadness, but began to murmur the words to a song she wasn't sure she remembered.

"And you bring me to my knees again. All the times when I could beg you, please me. All the times when I felt insecure for you…And I leave all burdens at the door. And I'm on the outside, I'm looking in. I can see thru you, see your true colors. Cause inside your ugly. Your ugly like me. I can see thru you, see to the real you…" She stopped, because the pain she was feeling inside was now too much. She just stood, her hands against her stomach, and looked up. It was raining now. She faintly smiled, closing her eyes, letting it fall down, soak into her hair, her skin, her clothes.

Christopher pulled open the front door, to run out and grab the mail, and saw the sky turning gray quickly, and as he was jogging back up to the front door, it began to rain. He sighed, shaking his head, splashing the water onto the walls, and dropped the mail onto the table, closing the door. Someone knocked, and he turned, pulling it open again. A boy stood there, with barely there black hair.

"Yo, Christopher. You feelin' okay?"

"Uh, yeah, Jack…why?"

"You turned Candy down," he said, jerking his thumb behind him. Christopher saw her standing on the porch, arms crossed over her chest.

"Yeah. Because I don't want her…"

"So? That don't mean you gotta call her a bimbo, ya Jackass…" Christopher sighed.

"I don't wanna fight, man. I just wanna go in and lay down. I'm tired…" Jack reached in, grabbing Christopher by the collar of his shirt, and threw him off the porch. "Shit!" he exclaimed, hitting the ground.

"I don't care if yer tired, Christopher. You started the fight by calling my sister a name…" Christopher stood up, but Jack slammed his fist into his cheek, knocking him back down. Jack hit him, many times, in the face, but finally pulled away, and spit on him. "Maybe now you'll learn…c'mon, Candy…" Candy jogged down after him, and Jack put an arm around her, walking away. Christopher laid there for a few minutes, letting the rain wash the blood and spit away, and then stood, walking inside, holding a hand to his eye.

"Damnit…" he grumbled, and rummaged thru the freezer. His little brother ran in, and pointed.

"You got your ass kicked, you got your ass kicked." Christopher turned, and glared at his brother. "Hahahahahaha!" he cried, laughing. Christopher growled, and, leaving the freezer door open, ran after his brother.

"Get the hell outta here, you little brat!" he called. His brother ran up the steps, laughing, and slammed his door closed. Rolling his eyes, Christopher went back into the kitchen, and reached into the freezer, snatching up a steak, and, slamming that door, walked to his room, locking the door. He laid back on his bed, resting the steak on his eye.

Afni looked around, slightly confused. The sun was still shining, though she thought it had set. The rain poured down on her shoulders, but she didn't wanna get an umbrella. She liked it. But…now it worried her. The rain was falling, the sun was shining, and the moon was out. She didn't understand.

She cried out, and looked around. The ground was shaking, the trees whipping about in the wind. Afni spun around, looking for something that might explain it, but came up with nothing. She began to get extremely nervous, and started to run, but a rock, that was lodged in one of the trees, came loose, and slammed into the back of her head. She stumbled, and fell into the Gateway she'd thought she'd walked away from. Groaning, she rolled onto her side, pushing her hand into the Gateway. Another rock hit her, and her eyes rolled up into her head, and she completely hit the ground, unconscious.