The night sky came clearer to him as he finally escaped through the hole that appeared in the world around him. It felt like getting doused in cold water as he emerged from the place where he’d been sitting in front of the fireplace. Matt’s thoughts didn’t have time to linger as he bolted into the familiar setting of where he’d last felt like the world was normal. He ran, all the while knowing that soon he would come to the harsh realizations that would stop him. He was homeless now without Blair. He was going to be sought after regardless of what he told everyone. He was going to be hunted by people who insisted that he’d always been a bad boy and the few foster care workers that had always tried to have his back were getting too old to fight for him anymore. All of these were real and he knew it would take so very little time for this all to catch up to him but he couldn’t deny his instinct. He had to run. He didn’t know where. He didn’t even really care. A part of him wanted to believe that what he’d felt back in that room with the fireplace was something real. He wanted to trust that these people didn’t want to hurt him. That they wouldn’t turn on him even though he’d been one of the people who had set them up to humiliate them.
The thought of this didn’t slow him down but spurred him on. He was running faster now as he thought of what would have happened if Blair had found them and not gotten caught by the other Buck. What kind of hell he would have made of the lives of all of them. That poor girl with the cat ears would have been hit the hardest, no doubt. If they’d gotten that on camera at all, she would have already been on the internet and the asshole and the perverts would have already had a name ready for her to drag on for at least three months. They’d already started on Dolly. She was a big girl and that was enough to get their so-called fans riled up but she was also someone who had no problem telling Matt, Blair or anyone else where to go. Still the usual internet dog pile had already started and he could tell just by the way that she’d reacted when he spoke to her that it had edged into the beginnings of the avalanche that would come. This latest video would’ve been the thing to push it over the edge. Matt would have gotten a good amount of bullshit over his own social media posts for at least the next few months and he could look forward to the racist tirades and tired complaints about how he was dragging down the Kingz with his ilk. How he was getting in their way. It would have happened that way just like when they ruined that one channel of the girl who did acoustic cover tunes. And the boy who was known for sucking at being a Let’s Player but he had tried to lean into it. The tide of hate that had always followed the Kingz was something that always threatened to bury anyone they took a shine to bringing down. And this time it had been Dolly and her crew. They hated that she was fat and that didn’t seem to matter to her. How dare she make jokes at her own expense and not apologize for her size in any way. They hated that she dared to be funny. She didn’t apologize for who she was or what she looked like. They especially hated that she wasn’t stupid.
Matt slowed only when he came to an empty parking lot. He didn’t know where he was anymore and even though a part of him still wanted to continue to run, he couldn’t deny that he needed to stop now. He felt like someone else was in control of him for a few seconds as he staggered into the centre of the empty parking lot of a shuttered old building and looked up at the brilliant October sky. The moon wasn’t quite full yet but it was getting there. When he looked at it, somehow, he felt like the rest of the world was slinking away from him and all that remained was something bigger within him. The part of him that wanted to run now calmed considerably and he was struck by the sight of the celestial bodies above. He knew his eyes had changed color. He felt them change but it was oddly comforting. Like slipping into a comforting blanket that suddenly shielded him from the cold chill that carried on the night wind.
Your initiation has been both cruel and somewhat sensational, child. You must forgive the circumstances. Your Brothers are not who they will become yet and their recklessness will not be forgotten. Still, they were not incorrect in their choice.
The voice seemed to boom not around him but within. Matt was shaken but he was surprised to find that this voice was someone he desperately wanted to hear more from. He looked around and saw nothing but shadows. His heart sank when he realized that he was alone.
“Are you still there?” Matt gasped, looking around and feeling helpless now. “If you’re there, please tell me. Where are you?”
You will see the truth when your trial arrives, child. I will arrive soon and you will face your destiny on that glorious night. Seek shelter, child. This world will harm you if you allow it but there are places for you still. There are those who seek you now. Find them. I will find you when the time arrives. Your Brothers are about and their madness is spurred by the Hunter’s Moon. Take heed now and find your shelter.
As the last syllable rang through Matt’s memory, he knew that whoever made it was gone. He also knew that whoever this was talking to him, they weren’t fucking around. He felt breathless and unsure of what to do. It was like waking up from a nightmare to find out that he hadn’t been dreaming at all. That all the horrible images that didn’t make sense were real. He shook his head and tried to make this panic go away. He wasn’t even sure of where he was. Matt was so dazed, if not for the fact that he was standing in the middle of a parking lot, he might have believed he was dreaming all of this. There was a part of him that very desperately wanted to still be numb enough to believe that. The last few minutes beyond this were such a blur that he didn’t really know if they’d happened. He had vague memories of running but he hated running. He always lost his breath in such a short time that he could barely last a block before he was gasping and coughing. It was what Blair had always made fun of him for. Among other things.
Oh god, Blair was dead. He’d known this since he’d seen him laying on the ground before but for the first time, it actually meant something. Blair was gone. There was no more Blair. There was a lot to process with this and he already knew that the shock was still keeping that tide at bay for the moment but it couldn’t stop him from feeling the cold within him at the thought. His tormentor was really gone and so were all his horrible secrets.
“It was you,” a familiar voice said somewhere nearby. The tone was shaky and weaker than it was before but Matt knew that voice. He felt something like a stone in the pit of his stomach.
“Where are you?” he said, keeping his own voice low and trying to sound calm. “We need to get out of here.”
“You did it!” the voice said, accusing now.
“You know that’s bullshit, Danny,” Matt said, keeping his voice low still. He hoped he sounded more commanding than he felt like he was being.
He turned and saw a slumped figure emerge from the shadows. It was crouching as it staggered forward, unsure of its footing but letting his body move by instinct. Matt was vaguely aware that he could see quite well in the dark right now and that might have been something he could appreciate if not for what he was seeing. The bloodshot, manic eyes of a boy he knew all too well would love to take a piece out of him. He knew a long time ago that Danny didn’t want him there. He was always more than happy to go along with whatever scheme would get Matt into the most shit. His raw emotions were radiating off of him, his seething anger and hatred. And the blame. The accusations that he’d been fearing were all coming at him now and Danny was ready to act on them.