I almost didn't forget. Almost. Yeah, who am I kidding?
“Can someone please explain the toast?” You ask your two friends, referring, as usual, to the weird stuff you find on DeviantArt.
“I CAN’T!” (1st friend) yells, drawing everyone’s attention. You’re all crowded around a table in the school cafeteria, so ‘everyone’ is actually a fairly large number of people.
Your (only) other friend grins slyly. “You can’t.”
You splutter something incomprehensible, trying not to choke on your coffee.
“I told you not to do that!” You finally manage to cough out a sentence. “And stop judging.”
They both laugh. “Too late. You’re obsessed with fanfiction; I think it’s okay to pass judgement now.” One responds.
“Aaaaaaaanyway,” You say, trying to divert the conversation away from the contents of your browser history. “Have you guys seen anything? Any theories? Sightings? Anything?” Now that you know the truth, the wild theorizing doesn’t hold quite the same thrill anymore.
“Well, I did find several ceiling tiles missing on the second floor.” (2nd friend) declares.
You pretend this is interesting news. “Right... so they must still be rewiring all this stuff so they can power up the dimension-jumping thingy. That just leaves the question: how much power do they need?” It’s pathetic, really, having to keep up this stupid fantasy for the benefit of your friends. You wish you could tell them about Vincent, but that would require a whole lot of explaining. Still, it was horrible lying to them.
And then you make up your mind. It’s just a case of whether Vincent would agree. You type out a question, hoping he’s not in the middle of something stupid. A response shows after a few seconds, despite the crappy signal: I suppose. I’ll have to ask the others, though.
The bell rings just as you press send. It’s gonna be a long lesson.
As soon as you’re dismissed, you check the notifications on your phone. Vincent has his answer: Yup. They’re agreed. If you can get your friends to wait outside the science labs, we’ll meet you there. It’s going to be... interesting.
That sounds fairly ominous. Still, it’ll be good to finally tell your friends.
“Guys, can you come with me? I’ve gotta hand in some science homework.” You tell the other two as they leave the classroom.
“Fine. But then I need food.”
“C’mon.” You lead the way to the science department, aided in your direction by the stench of burning and chemicals. There’s a completely deserted corridor with several empty classrooms and store cupboards. They mostly contain supplies for practical experiments and other boring, non-explosive shit. [Author’s Note: Dammit! That would’ve been fun.]
“We never had any science homework.” (1st friend) points out, looking sceptical. You begin to see your plan failing.
“No. But I swear I saw someone running along here.” You invent wildly. “And they kinda looked like Jeremy.”
This instantly gets their interest. “Where did they go?”
“Uh...” You’re improvising now, hoping Vincent actually has a plan. “That sort of direction.” You point to a chemistry classroom down the hall. (2nd friend) runs over to investigate.
“Well, actually,” A voice from behind you fills you with determination [Author’s Note: Sorry, wrong fandom!] relief. “I think he’s right here.” All three of you whirl round in surprise, at least one of you faking. Jeremy, nervous and trying not to make eye contact; Mike, annoyed at having Jeremy hide behind him; and Fritz, looking bored and uninterested. Beside you, your friends are completely stunned.
“W-what?! Did-did you know about this?” (1st friend) asks accusingly.
“Uh... sorta. Yeah. It’s a long story. These guys can probably explain.” You gesture in the direction of the new arrivals.
“You’re really that desperate to find Vincent? Personally, I think there’s no point; he’ll just end up doing something stupid and killing himself within five minutes.” Fritz can barely keep from laughing. You’re tempted to smash his stupid ginger head against the wall.
In fact, you’re about to leap at him when someone screams. It’s (1st friend), being casually strangled by Vincent. “Vincent. What did I tell you about trying to murder my friends?” You sigh, walking over and dragging him away.
He shrugs you off, muttering mutinously. “I wasn’t going to kill them... just gouge their eyes out with an ice-cream scoop. Would you prefer it if I attacked you instead?”
Fritz steps in. “Look. I don’t know what’s going on, but you’ve been a total dick lately. Get your act together, man!”
This doesn’t exactly help the situation. “Do you happen to know why people don’t speak their mind in my presence?” Vincent whispers, advancing on Fritz with a blade in his hand. “It’s because they all die.” He grins madly, grabbing Fritz’s shirt and throwing him against the wall. You run forward, trying to prise the knife out of his hand. Vincent drags his arm out of your grip and drives the hilt of the knife into the side of your head. You reel back, stunned.
Black spots swim in front of your vision, but you feel no sense of dizziness, or pain. It’s as though you’re completely separate from the events that are unfolding. That’s probably a bad sign. You shake your head violently, hoping to clear away the splotches. When they finally fade, you realize what Vincent’s done to your friends. They’re all slaughtered, stabbed multiple times and left to bleed. Everyone. The friends from your world and the new ones you’d met in a universe you never thought existed. All lifeless; staining the floor red.
Vincent laughs; a harsh, guttural sound completely unlike his normal voice. You stare in horror, unable to process what’s happening. “W-what... why...why do t-this?” You manage to stutter, but it takes an enormous effort, as though someone is controlling you.
“I thought you wanted this.” Again, he sounds different, far less soft and musical. It almost sounds like a growl. “To be free of everything tying you to this earth; to sail away from here upon a river of blood. Just the two of us and a universe to destroy. I’ve given you it all.”
You stare at the bodies of your comrades, sickened by the conversation. You can’t speak, it’s as though someone’s compressing your throat and obstructing your speech.
A growl causes you to spin round. Vincent is grinning inhumanely, looking less and less like his old self by the second. He’s covered in scars, most still bleeding an inky black substance. His eyes meet yours and the world falls away. They’re red and bloodshot, the whites of his eyes almost entirely gone. The eyes of a monster.