"The Lurking Evil"
"We all have a Monster within; the difference is in degree, not in kind."
Death City, Nevada
Joint Lion-Kilgore Apartment
Inside Austin's small, untidy room, the small alarm clock on his nightstand began to chirp.
Austin had set his alarm clock to play the sounds of tweeting birds not because of a dislike of music, but because of a fondness for birds. Birds were small creatures, many of whom were insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but their wings gave them a certain freedom to be, to do. Birds could go anywhere, whenever they wanted, just on a whim. They simply followed the wind, spreading joy with their voices, travelling away from the blistering cold, returning to their nests to raise their young, and then traveling off again. There was something so inspiring about the small bird and its liberty.
Unfortunately, and perhaps ironically, the bird sounds emanating from the alarm clock were not an indication of freedom or anything of the sort. They were an indication that the most dreaded being of every man, woman, and child in the entire galaxy had arrived- Monday.
Indeed, it was Monday, which meant another day of classes had come about, and that the blissful, bird-like freedom the weekend had brought about had to leave for another week, and that grueling classes on the nature of Souls, complex fight techniques, and more on that nature. On top of that, the Death Festival, a slightly-more-competitive-than-friendly competition on Halloween, was coming closer, and the pressure had slid up a level because of Professor van Helsing's sudden Friday announcement that placement in the Tournament would count as a grade, with higher-rankers scoring solid As, while the scragglers would earn Ds. Never before had this been the case, and Austin couldn't read if the Professor was bluffing or not. He never could tell.
And moreover, there were still missions to complete to try and reach those 99 Kishin Eggs and 1 Witch Soul necessary to make a Death Scythe. What bliss.
These types of thoughts were usually suspended by the joy that the weekend brought about. However, the gloomy Monday had once again allowed these thoughts to re-surge, these anxieties to re-implant themselves.
Austin rubbed his eyes, trying to banish these nervous thoughts back to the hellish place they came, before slamming his arm down sideways, snappily turning the chirping alarm of his alarm clock off. After a couple breaths and a long yawn, Austin quite literally rolled out of bed, landing softly in a pile of clothes at his side. Austin's room was not exactly neat- indeed, his desks were full of cluttered papers, old notes, and more; the small, cheap, plastic chandelier hanging atop his room had several belts and spare shirts hanging from it, and his bed was perched in the middle of a mound of clothes much like a throne atop a grand hill. Austin slowly stood, giving his arms a good stretch. He was wearing a t-shirt and a pair of striped flannel pajama pants, not very formal clothes at all; he'd have to change later, but for now, he wanted to expand his time of comfort as long as possible for engaging in whatever mundane activity van Helsing had planned for the day.
He exited his train-wreck of a room and into the shared kitchen, a small but homely kitchen area that had all the necessities of food preparation and featured a nice, meeting-suitable table in the center. Too lazy (or more likely, too untalented) to cook a good breakfast, he instead grabbed a box of cereal from a shelf and poured himself a sizeable bowl of Fortunate Spells™, before then following with a healthy dollop of milk. Placing the bowl on the table and grabbing a spoon, he slowly ate the makeshift breakfast as he stared out the large window of the shared apartment. Viola wasn't there- she was either still asleep (most likely) or perhaps out on a morning adventure (not so much). Either way, she had time- Austin had set his alarm earlier than absolutely necessary to give him a little time to enjoy the morning before school stripped away his freedom once more.
He stared out the window, looking at several robins that had landed on a small tree near the apartment and were now chirping hello. He smiled at the sight, but that smile quickly became confused as a much larger bird fluttered over, landing atop the tall maple outside Austin's window. Austin stared out the window at the raven that had just landed, and the raven strangely enough seemed to stare back, giving Austin shivers down his spine. After a few moments though, the raven simply gave a loud 'caw!' and with a strong flap of its wings took off, soaring into the distance.
Austin shrugged. "Weird," he said to himself, before sighing and taking another spoonful of cereal.
It was probably nothing, after all.