Chapter 1

The thing Iíve learned about people is that they take life seriously. Every setback is a prayer unanswered, and every gray hair is the end of the world. But, hey, it isnít the end of the world every time you look in the mirror and see bags under your eyes. It isnít going to hail fire and brimstone just because you have a giant zit right there in the middle of your forehead. The world needs somebody who isnít going to take it seriously. And thatís where they come in.

Iím not sure where, exactly, they came from, but I found the first one when I was eight. Iíve added several more over the years, and I can hardly imagine life without them anymore. Witty and cleverówhen they choose to beótheyíve become my best friends. They donít take life seriously, although if we run out of chocolate, it may be a prophetic sign of some importance. But Iím getting ahead of myself, you still donít even know who I am. So letís go back to my last day of third grade.

My name was Victor Trumpóyes, I meant to say Ďwasí, now stop interrupting.

The teacher dismissed us from the last class of the day so, naturally, we all ran out of there as quickly as possible, pushing and shoving to be the first one out the door. Because while we take life seriously, we also took our play very seriously. We had been in school for seven hours a day for the last nine months, so we had some serious playing to make up in the next three months.

It was a small town, and there were only fourteen children in my class. None of us cared enough to bring our things home, knowing our parents would pick them up on Sunday when they came into town for church. We just ran for the door, and burst outside along with all the other classes in town. This story isnít about the other classes, though, or even the other students in my class. So, back to me.

I was disgustingly short for my age, and exceedingly normal looking. I had brown hair that my mother cut once every three months, when it started to hang in my eyes. I wore glasses made of thin wires and everyone called me a geek for it even though Iíd never seen an ĎAí in my life. My eyes were green, and my skin was lightly tanned, and I wore my brotherís hand-me-downs from five years ago. My mom called me lucky, but I didnít feel like it.

Of course, even the most normal kid has friends, otherwise he wouldnít exactly be normal. I had three. There was Marie Johnson, a girl who lived only a mile away from my house, and who I was friends with through our mothersí mutual friendship. We would ride bikes to each otherís houses during the summer when we couldnít find anything better to do. Okay, so me and Marie werenít best friends, but we shared some interests and got along well enough.

David Little was another one of my friends. You know that friend who always borrows your things without asking and then never returns them? He was that friend. Dave was blonde, popular, and a rebel without a cause. His father was the mayor of our small town, and it seemed to everyone that he had it all. But, his dad was always busy, and his mother died when he was three, and he had some serious self-esteem issues. But this isnít Davidís story.

You always save the best for last, and my best friend was Kevin Coffner. Kevinís a tall, skinny guy with black hair that his mother shaves off once a yearóin fact, his haircut had been less than a month ago so all he had now was a bit of black fuzz on top of his head. He was a very talented eight year old: he could squirt milk out of his nose, fart the national anthem, he even had one of those nose flutes and played "Yankee Doodle" in the talent show that year. He had this ferocious bulldog named Bowseróa large, ugly, spotted thing that produced about five gallons of drool a day. Bowser hated almost everyone not in their family, but had taken a liking to me and hardly ever growled when I came over anymore.

Kevin and I were practically brothers, though. His family was like my second family, and mine was like his. I usually went home with him after school, since my parents didnít get home for another two hours. Today was no exception.

It took Kevin eighteen minutes to walk into schoolóhe lived real nearby. It took me and Kevin forty-six minutes on average to walk to his house from school. His mother called it dawdling, we called it adventuring. One of our favorite routes was through Old Benís radish fieldsóweíd sometimes pick up radishes and have contests to see how many other kids we could trick into eating them. We didnít go through the radish fields today, though, Ben had caught us in there a couple of times recently and we decided to find different routes for a while.

Today we followed the crick running on the opposite side of his field. It was one of our favorite places to go during the summer, a great place to catch crawdads and minnows. Sometimes weíd try to eat them, minnows especially (crawdads really had to be boiled first and that wasnít much fun), have challenges to see who could eat more, but most of the time weíd let them go, or dump them off the roof of the corner convenient store on top of some unlucky lady (Usually Mrs. Bendt, the English teacher) and watch her dance around in terror.

Farther up the crick, past Kevinís house, was a small pool of water that we sometimes went swimming in. Wasnít any good for diving since it was only about four or five feet deep, but it was good enough to keep us cool during the summer. And if you wanted to get leaches all over your legs, it was a good place for that, too. Sometimes we would wear our mothersí pantyhose, that way when we were done swimming we could just peel them off and the leeches went with it. If our moms found out, though, weíd get quite an earache.

But we were neither swimming or fishing today. We were just walking along the crick, occasionally making a feint to push each other in, or taking the time to skip a rock a few times, or just kicking rocks into the water for the satisfying splunks. Of course, one thing led to another, I ended up accidentally hitting Kevin with some dirt as I kicked a rock, he took this as a challenge and the next thing we knew we were both covered in mud and trying to explain to Kevinís mother that it had been a matter of honor, not a mockery of her motherís words coming back to haunt her. She didnít believe us and told us to hose off.

It was as we were spraying off that I found the rock. A small green thing a little larger than an average marble, and almost as round. I didnít know where Iíd got it from, but Kevin reckoned he must have accidentally thrown it at me along with some mud. We didnít care, it looked neat so I pocketed it. Neither of us really questioned where it came from, it was only a rock, after all. A small, harmless rock, right?

That night I had the strangest dream. Wars waging across some amazon land. Fires catching on huts and spreading to the overhanging branches of water-starved trees and bushes. People screaming, and blood spraying everywhere. I woke up with a start sometime around three in the morning, sweating up a river and shaking like crazy. I didnít understand any of it. Like I said, it was a small town I grew up in, you didnít hear a lot about death, certainly not at eight years old. Across town there had been a rabid dog a couple of months back, the whole school was talking cause the dog had to be shot. That was the most Iíd heard about death. Wars and violent crimes just didnít happen in small towns like ours.

There wasnít any way I was getting back to sleep after that, so I pulled on some pants and crawled out my window, relaxing on the front lawn and looking up at the stars. Like I said, it was the beginning of summer vacation, so it was warm even in the middle of the night. It was actually there that it first happened.

I was just looking up at the starry sky, picking out the constellations my father had shown me, and thinking about the dream when it happened.

"It was a bad dream."

I bolted up so fast it would have put a rabbit to shame, looking all around into the suddenly too dark night for who had spoke. I didnít see anyone, of course.

"Whoís there?"

An airy sort of laughter followed my question.

"What, not who, dear boy."

I really didnít know what to think. There wasnít a day of my life that hadnít been average, like you now have some idea of. Nothing unusual ever happened to me. Every year I entered the raffleóone ticket for one dollarónothing. Iíd tried out for baseball at my school, but I was nothing extraordinary, tons of guys were better than me. Even my comic book collection was no better than any other eight year old boyís. And now this.

"W-what, then?"

"Oh, I donít know. We have many names. Faeries, sprites, phantoms, spiritsÖ take your choice, precious."

I looked around more fervently than ever. After all, the voice had to be coming from somewhere! Even at eight I realized the limitations of reality enough to know that. Ghosts are all good and fun in stories, but in real life nothing like that exists.

"What is your name?"

"FunnyÖ I seem to have forgotten."

This was just too ridiculous. How could anyone just forget their name? Someone had to be playing a joke on me. But at three in the morning? I decided to go along with the gag a bit longer, in the hopes that I would find whoever it was.

"How can you have forgotten your name?"

"Well, itís been so long since anyoneís used it."

"YouÖ havenít talked with anyone in a while, then?"

"No, precious. You see, you are the first person to speak with me in at least a hundred years."

"Great. Then maybe you can help me with my history class."

I was being sarcastic. The voice must have known this. Nonetheless, it agreed, promising it would do itís best to help me. Thatís when I decided I was going crazy. There wasnít anyone playing a joke on me, I was just crazy. The idea was cemented in my mind when the voice didnít go away.

Maybe I should describe the voice in a little more detail. This story is about me, like Iíve reminded you several times, but it is also about the voices. It was a feminine voice, it sounded a lot like some of the young ladies who sang solos in our church choir. Nice young gals from eighteen to twenty years of age, always dressed up in pretty dressesóand on the weekdays, they attended college! If you can imagine that, itís pretty much what this voice sounded like. It wasnít loud, but it spoke in such a way that demanded attention. When it spoke, I couldnít help but listen.

It didnít take long for me to realize that it wasnít necessary for me to speak out loud to have a conversation with this voice, and when I did it only made people stare. So I got into the habit of speaking in my mindóthinking to it, if you willówhenever I couldnít find anything better to do.

About two weeks later I decided to bring up a very serious subject. Something had to change. This just wasnít working out.

"How about Marlin. I always liked the name Marlin, I think."

"You donít sound like a Marlin, thatís a boyís name. I think you need something more feminine."

"Oh, yes. Charlie?"

I rolled my eyes in annoyance. This was a serious topic! If I was going to have a voice in my head, I wanted something to call it! And the voice so obviously belonged to a woman that it was almost ridiculous that she should be in my head! No, Marlin and Charlie would not do. I would have to think of one myself.

"How about Charlene?"

"How about we call you Charlene and Iíll be Victor, hmm?"

The annoyance was practically dripping from her voice. Obviously she didnít like Charlene, then. I frowned, becoming annoyed myself.

"You canít have my name! Find your own!"

"Why donít we call you something else, precious?"

See what I mean? Witty and clever, but only when it suits them. Thatís when I got my second name, and I sighed hoping it would never stick.

"Fine. But Iím not going to call you Charlie or Victor. How about Jamie, that can be for a boy or girl."

"Agreed, precious."

And thus I became Ďpreciousí, and the voice became Jamie. Not at all feminine enough for the tone, but I was tired of arguing so I went with it. I can call her Charlene, though, if I want to annoy her. A word of advice: itís never a good idea to annoy one who perpetually dwells in your head.

Things got back to normal after that. Not average, but normalóa new kind of normal, at least. Every day slowly started to look like the last, and I slowly began to block out Jamieís sarcastic comments, which is no easy feat as every other thing that comes out of her proverbial mouth seems to be sarcastic. I also learned to ignore her total lack of respect. The condescending way she insisted on calling me Ďpreciousí. And summer vacation eventually wore off to the terrible mundanity known as school. My grades in history did go up marginally with Jamieís promised help, however there were many times in which she disagreed with my teacher or my textbook and on such occasions (after making sure her point had been made known) she would fall silent for the rest of the hour and if she had eyes I would say she was glaring daggers at the teacher, whom she constantly reminded me was a dimwit of the worst degree and lost no time in volunteering to dispose of him. Needless to say, we did not dispose of my history teacher. In fact, Iím sure heís still teaching today, putting unfortunate children to sleep with his monotone and infuriating ancient spirits who know much more than him. This story has very little to do with my history teacher.

It was about half way through fourth grade before my world was once again rocked on its axis, so to speak. Just before Christmas break (because weíre still allowed to call it Christmas break instead of winter break in a small town like this). We were outside for our ten oíclock recess, Johnny Newton was showing off his marble collection, and just about everything else that could fit in his pockets. I wasnít friends with Johnny Newton, but the guy had impressive pockets so I watched nonetheless.

Perhaps it would be useful for me to add that it never really gets cold around here. In the middle of winter you might put on a sweatshirt, but I never saw snow while I was in this town. It just didnít get that cold. Today it was only cold enough to require a sweatshirtósomewhere in the upper forties, low fifties. I only knew this because my dad listened to the news on the radio while I ate breakfast every morning.

Anyway, back to Johnny Newtonís pockets. He was currently digging out just about every marble he owned. Another boy was holding a small box turtle that had been in there for not even Johnny knows how long. He had paperclips and used gum littering the ground at his feet. David was admiring his pocket knifeóno doubt heíd ask to borrow it and never end up returning it. Which was just too bad because it looked like a real nice knife and Johnny would be sorry to lose it, but you just didnít say no to David.

"Well, would you look at thatÖ"

"What?"

"Right there, laying in that boyís hand amongst all those round stonesÖ marbles, you call them."

"What are you talking about, Jamie?"

I was looking, really. Jamie didnít often get interested in the things the other children hadóunless it was to make fun of them. The fact that she was taking interest in something laying in Johnnyís pudgy hand in turn interested me. But all I saw were marbles.

"Youíre going to have to be a little more specific, Jamie."

"The black stone, right there. Do you see it?"

I looked again. There was one black marble in his hand which, upon closer inspection, wasnít as round as a marble. I saw it, but it didnít look like anything special. I said so.

"What about it?"

"I want you to take it from him, precious."

"You want me to steal it?"

"I donít care, steal it, buy it, he wonít even remember in a week or two."

I stuck my hands in my own pockets, feeling around for anything that might be of interest to Johnny Newton. I didnít know what was so special about that black stone, and I didnít know why Jamie wanted me to get it so badly, but when Jamie told me to do something, I did itóallowing that it wasnít a sarcastic or cruel request. I wouldnít kill anyone, but barring that, if Jamie sounded serious, I was at her beck and call.

"Hey, Johnny, whereíd you find that rock?" I asked, still fishing around in my own pockets, in the jeans that were still a bit too large for me and had to be held up with a length of rope.

Johnny looked at me, we werenít friends, but we were classmates. Acquaintances, you would say, I guess. "I found it last summer when my family went to Devilís Tower for vacation. Iíve got lots more, want to see them?" The hand not holding the rock dropped its marbles to fall among the paper clips and used gum, and started digging in his pocket again.

"Uh, sure," I said, not really wanting to see more rocks. I didnít have much of an interest in rocks, anyway, not unless they were good to skip. "Do you think I could look at that one, though?"

Johnny nodded and handed me the small black rock. "Iíve got more that are bigger than that," he commented, pulling out a handful from his pockets. I swear, Johnnyís pockets were like a gate to another dimension or something, thereís no way that much junk could fit in a normal pocket.

I looked the small stone over in my hands, it was slightly larger than a marble, and much heavier for some reason, though Johnny didnít appear to notice when he held it. "Could I trade you something for it?" I asked, "It would look great inÖ my rock collection." I didnít have a rock collection, I didnít think I had a single rock anywhere inside. I was wrong, of course, youíll remember the green rock I found almost eight months before, but at the time I didnít.

"Sure, what do you have?" Johnny asked. Apparently, he didnít think the rock any more remarkable than I did.

"I haveÖ a fishing hook," I pulled it out of my pocket, tangled up with a bunch of fishing string, "Um, and a stick that looks like a spaceship," it was only four inches long, but it strongly resembled one of the Apollo rockets, which is why I had kept it. So far Johnny didnít look overly impressed, "And a box of raisins." I liked raisins, and my mother bought the ones that came in those tiny boxes so I could bring them to school for snacks.

"Iíll take the raisins and you can keep the rock." Johnny said. Apparently he liked raisins, too. Grudgingly, I handed them over, and pocketed the rock.

"I hope you appreciate this."

"It needed to be done. The pathetic boy didnít know what he had."

"I donít know what I have. What is it?"

"Iím sure youíll find out soon enough."

"Couldnít you just tell me?"

"Where would the fun be in that?"

I went home that afternoon a bit bitter about my loss of raisins. I got over it quickly enough, though, when Kevin gave me some at his house, and asked about the rock. I showed it to him and he didnít see anything spectacular about it, either. Didnít even comment on its weight. That night it ended up joining my green stone somewhere in the darkest corners of my room or under the bed, but wherever it went, I had lost it for the time being.

I had had a nightmare like this before, only I didnít remember it at the time. Death and destruction. A castle was bombarded with large chunks of stone catapulted from large wooden contraptions that took at least eight men to wield. The doors splintering under the weight of a heavy tree trunk. Hot oil burning into the flesh of men, and spilling onto wailing women and children. Burning houses and blood splattering everywhere. I woke with a start, sweating and breathing heavily.

If I hadnít been so tired I might have recognized the eerie similarity of this night compared to the one eight months ago when I first heard Jamie. I was tired, though, and scared, too, so I didnít notice it. You probably realized it right away, and are wondering who I hear next. You probably also realize that the voices have some connection with the stones I found. I didnít realize any of this at the time, and instead lay in bed, curled up under my blankets and shivering despite them.

"Damn nightmares, who is God to punish me with them?"

"Youíre not the only one to have nightmares, you know."

"Ack! God, woman, you scared me!"

"My name isnít woman, itís Jamie."

"Hmph. Jamie? What kind of name is that for a woman?"

"Itís a nice name, precious gave it to me."

By now I had definitely noticed the extra voice in my head. And I was confused as well as tired and scared, though I didnít look around for who it might be this time.

"Jamie, whoíre you talking to?"

"I donít know, precious. What is your name, if you remember?"

The response was an unintelligible murmur and I had the distinct impression that it did not remember itís name.

"Great, now I have two voices in my head. Are you going to be sticking around long?"

"Iíll stick around as long as I want, shrimp!"

I sighed. Jamie was kind of nice to have around. She was soft spoken, like Iíve said before, and sarcastic to a fault. But she could amuse me, and she helped me out in history, and I never got lonely anymore. But this new voice was not like Jamie. It was quite loud, and harsh sounding. Deep, like a manís.

"I suppose Iíll have to give you a name, too."

"Iíll help. How about Jackass?"

"That isnít a very nice name, Jamie."

"Bastard?"

"Jamie! Please, Iíll think of a name, okay?"

"As long as itís not some sissy girl name."

"Donít worry, Jamie ended up naming herself because she didnít want a girl name, either."

I frowned in thought, trying to come up with a suitable name for the new voice. In the end we agreed on Kale.

It was much harder to tone Kale out. He was loud, and frequently shouted if he wanted my attention, which made me cringe and hiss at him to please shut up. He didnít. Kale and Jamie bickered a lot, too. They almost seemed to hate each other, except it was obvious to me that they didnít. Of course, I blamed it on Jamie that Kale was here in the first place.

"Victor, are you okay?" I had only had Kale living in my head for about a month when Kevin started noticing something was up.

"Iím fine, why?"

"Itís just that you look tired." Kevin replied with concern in his tone.

"I guess I do feel a little tired. Maybe Iíll go to bed early tonight." I said. I had noticed it. When my parents woke me up in the morning it felt almost as if I had only just went to sleep. But I had been getting plenty of sleepóto bed by nine and up at six. It didnít make sense to me. Maybe it does to you.

Over the following weeks it only got worse. I almost fell asleep in class a couple of times, and the school councilor asked me if I was sleeping at night. I said that I was, and she asked if I was having nightmares. I said not that I could remember and she asked if my parents were fighting. I very firmly answered that they werenít, and she let me leave, at a loss to explain what was wrong with me. I could have answered that question myself.

A couple of days later I finally found out why I was so tired, though I never did tell anyone. A loud crash woke me up in the middle of the night, only to find that I wasnít home at all. I looked around for the source of the sound and saw a raccoon staring at me from on top of an overturned trash can.

You might guess right away how I got here, even I had my suspicions. I looked around me to find where I was, and saw the large shadow of the library looming over me. Yes, the library, because there was only one in our small town. I never went there, the place kind of creeped me out. It was easily the oldest building in our town, a large house that should have been renovated years ago. Popular opinion among the fourth graders was that it had originally been a castleóit did kind of look like oneóand that the family who lived in it had been murdered on the night of a full moon. It was supposed to be haunted.

"Alright, what am I doing here?"

I was either walking in my sleepówalking three miles in my sleepóor someone had been using my body while I was supposed to be in bed. I wasnít slow or an idiot, though I could be forgetful sometimes. I was sure it was the latter explanation, and I was sure it had been either Jamie or Kale that had brought me here.

"How the hell should we know? Maybe you subconsciously wanted to work on your report!"

"I donít have a report to work on right now, Kale."

"Well I donít see why you have to immediatelyó"

"Kale did it."

"Jamie! You promised you wouldnít say anything!"

"He forced it out of me, dear."

"I swear Iíd punch that smug face of yours if only you had oneÖ"

"And Iíd sink a dagger through your heart, love."

"Guys, please, will someone just tell me why you felt the need to drag me out of my bed in the middle of the night to come to the library?"

"Because youíre too much of a wimp to go during the day!"

"Oh put a sock in it, Kale, we can tell him."

"Good, then tell me."

"It ainít any of your damn business."

"It is my business if youíre going to use my body to do it!"

"Boo-hoo, Iíd use my own body if I had one. Damn cry baby, donít be so selfish!"

"Iím not being selfish. I just want to know why you feel the need to possess me so that I donít get any sleep during the night."

"It sounds like aó"

"And how can you do that anyway? Jamie, you never possessed me before, did you?"

"Of course not, precious, I donít need to possess you, and Kale doesnít either."

"Like hell I donít! The dumb weaklingó"

"His name is precious."

"My name is Victor!"

"You donít like me calling you precious?"

"It would sound really weird coming from him. What does this have to do with the library, anyway?"

"We wanted to look up some information."

"What kind of information?"

"The kind of information that isnít any of your damn business!"

"Kale, weíre going to have to tell him eventually, anyway."

"We wouldnít if you werenít such a goodie all the time!"

"Look, will someone please just tell me whatís going on?"

"We didnít want you to worry."

"What was there to be worried about?"

"Weíve been trying to find the others."

"Others? What others?"

"The others like us."

"There are more disembodied voices?"

"Disembodied voices?"

"It isnít a very flattering name, is it?"

"We arenít Ďdisembodied voicesí, what has this woman been telling you?"

"Not much, actually. If youíre not disembodied voices, then what are you?"

"Nothing you need to worry about just yet, precious."

"Fine. So what were you trying to find out about the others?"

"We werenít trying to find out about them, we were trying to find them."

"For what?"

"So you can retrieve them."

"Hold on! You want to find more of you so my head gets even more crowded? I donít want any more voices in my head!"

"You donít have a choice, brat."

"Itís your destiny, precious."

If anyone else had been standing in front of the library at one in the morning, Iím sure I would have made quite a strange sight. An eight year old boy standing in front of the broken down building in only his boxers and an old T-shirt, the light of the stars and the sliver of a moon that was out tonight. My face getting steadily redder as I just stood there. Until I finally broke, that is.

"Destiny? What destiny? What are you guys talking about?"

The raccoon ran off at my sudden outburst.

"Calm down, precious."

"Donít take it so seriously."

"It isnít anything to worry about."

"Not the end of the world."

"I donít believe in destiny."

"Maybe destiny doesnít believe in you."

"What? That doesnít make any sense!"

"You donít have to believe in destiny to have one, precious."

"I donít want a destiny."

"You donít have a choice, thatís why itís called destiny. Weíll find the others, you will gather us all together. You donít really have a choice."

I frowned, not at all pleased with my two contrite voices. Iíd show them, though.

"Iíll tell mom on you."

"PreciousÖ"

"You make one move, shrimp, and Iíll kill you!"

"Kale, let me handle this!"

"Precious, you donít have to tell your mom."

"Iím going to, and she wonít let you take me away."

"Yeah, you go girl, youíre really getting through to him!"

"Shut up, Kale. Precious, your mom wonít understand."

"How could she? I donít."

I started walking back towards my home, scowling.

"Precious, donít take another step."

The tone was commanding and I felt compelled to obey. Sullenly I stopped and crossed my arms with irritation.

"Now turn around."

I grudgingly obeyed.

"Go down into the library, we will show you the books."

I glared at nothing in particular as I stomped over to the library, following instructions to get to the small second story window that was always left a crack open. Finding my way to the emergency flashlight which Jamie and Kale had used the countless times they took my body joy riding. Angrily stomping down to the musty basement filled with old books, cobwebs, and dust.

Kale and Jamie directed me to a bookcase, then they left me to figure it out. I browsed through the titles without even the faintest idea what I was looking for.

"Faeries, Sprites, and Other Mystical Beasts"

The title almost jumped out at me. It was a book bound with red material, gold writing foiled onto its spine, and it reminded me of what Jamie had said when we first met. I pulled the book down and took it over to a table. I brushed the dust from the surface, and lay the book on it. Using the light of the flashlight I opened to the first page, and proceeded in skimming through the whole book.

It wasnít until I was near the end that I saw anything that seemed likely.

"They were thought to be Faeries"

I quickly backtracked to the beginning of the page.

"All throughout history there have been men and woman who were said to have strange powers to control nature. Rain men and green thumbs, and a small scattering who were something more. There are examples all throughout historyóAttila the Hunn claimed to have the power of death, Columbus seemed to have the ability to control the waves of the ocean, the Amazon Queen was said to control the growth of the entire forest, and Legend claims King Arthur could manipulate the skies and read the hearts of men.

"Personal records of these respected people seem to suggest Multiple Personality Disorder, as they laid claim to a variety of Ďvoicesí which spoke to them and gave them the powers they seemed to hold. They were thought to be Faeries, by those whose minds were not reigned in by boxes. Faeries who endowed upon their hosts extraordinary powersÖ"

I slammed the book shut. "This is ridiculous," I said out loud.

"You expect me to believe you were there? You were in the mind of King Arthur and Attila the Hunn? Youíre crazy. Iím crazy."

"Yes, you are, and yes, we were. Well, not exactly. I knew Attila, nice guy, really."

"Jamie?"

"Yes?"

"And what about you?"

"What about me?"

"Arenít you going to lay claim to any of this?"

"Well, I wasnít going to. It was a long time ago."

"She had the Amazon babe."

"Kale!"

"What? You did!"

"God, Iím insane. Even my hallucinations are insane."

"Ouch! Hallucinations is even worse than disembodied voices!"

"Please have a little respect, precious. You are stuck with us, after all."

They were right, of course. I didnít have any idea how to get rid of them. I wasnít even sure how I had gotten them in the first place.

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