Chapter 2:

A Game Cut Short

Otherwordly Reincarnation: The Hag Son

Otherworldly Reincarnation: The Hag Son
Part 1: Anacrusis

"Alright, lets put these guys in their place!"

Danny was to be the pitcher this time round. A small smile crept along my face, as he rolled the ball in his hands, tossing it from one to the other. Sheridan was batting first. I guessed that they were saving Gilligan as their trump card. That old long shot would serve well when they had people in all three bases. But for now, seemed as though they wanted some buildup.

With Danny where he was, we were at an advantage. Any other person as the pitcher wouldn't have it in them to beat Class A.

I just hoped to God it would all work out...

I looked up at the sky, hesitantly. If there was a God, that is.

Who am I kidding? Even if there was a God, he'd have better things to do than hang around above these dreary clouds.

The whistle blew, and instantly, Danny threw the ball. Sheridan let out a noise of surprise and quickly raised his bat, but the ball had already passed him by and went straight into the gloved hand of Lillith - on catcher duty this time.

"Hah! That's one, ain't it?" Danny called, cheerfully, as our class gloated aloud.

Sheridan let off a frustrated growl, and looked over at the teacher, Mister Hendrickson, arms crossed. The teacher pouted, before raising his hand.

"Foul ball!"

Maddie and I froze up where we sat, exchanging swift looks. What? That wasn't good. Danny's smile fell off his face, and our class suddenly erupted into cries of protest.

"The ball was thrown too close to Dämon's body, he could've been injured. He still has three chances! Browning, you'd best start throwing straighter!" The teacher announced, which made smiles and smirks grow on Class A's faces. I felt my eye twitch. That was some bull-! 

"What the Hell?! It was nowhere close to his body, I couldn't have thrown straighter-!" Danny began, only to be silenced.

"Browning!" Hendrickson growled. "Do you wanna get disqualified again?"

"But I-!"

"Then stop making a scene, you're holding up the game!"

Danny bit his tongue, and ground his teeth. I could practically hear the gnawing from all the way over here, which... really made me worry for his gums more than anything else. The ball was tossed back to him, and he caught it, fury in his eyes as Sheridan got into a prepared position.

Danny was hesitant, but he got himself ready to throw. 

"Hey, uhh..." Lillith, wearing the glove and waiting behind Sheridan, said. "Nice butt! That you have there, I mean."

"Oh, please," Sheridan, rolled his eyes. "That old trick would probably work if you were anybody else."

"Can't blame a girl for trying..." She muttered, disappointingly. "In that case, I'll be truthful. Your ass is lookin' pretty flat."

"What?! It is not-!" Sheridan began to yell, but at that moment, Danny threw the ball. For a second, it looked like Sheridan would miss his hit, but after his eyes widened, he straightened his bat and swung.

A groan erupted among my classmates simultaneously. Lillith looked particularly disappointed with herself, looking over to where Carmelita stood, holding a hand over her mouth to suppress an ugly chuckle.

It was a good hit, much like my first hit - nothing special. Although, his did go some ways farther. He got to first base in seconds. 

I was sitting and despairing as Billy Kiddo stepped up to the batting position, next in line to hand us our asses on a plate. As he did though, I felt something pull on my sleeve. I blinked in surprise, and looked over at the person in question, only to be met with the tired eyes of Susanne.

"We must converse." Is all she said, before pulling a hood up and sneaking away- Wait, she was wearing hooded robes, when the Hell did she put those on-?! I sighed, and got up. 

"I'll be back." I told everyone as I followed Susanne over to the edge of the field. Maddie's cold eyes followed for a sec, but she didn't say a word, quickly focusing on the game once more. I walked after Susanne just out of view of any prying eyes or ears, behind the bleachers. She turned back to me, eyes shadowed by her wide-brimmed hood. It was a rusty place, and it smelled like metal. Especially under the threat of rain. But, it was somewhat private.

Teens typically went behind the bleachers to make out where nobody could see them, so I obviously had my suspicions as soon as I figured out that this was where she wanted to take me.

"So," I began, crossing my arms. "This a confession of love or something, Suse? 'Cause I gotta tell you, you kinda scare me. I don't think It'd work."

"It isn't that kind of meeting I'm afraid."

"Are you gonna sacrifice me to your Pagan Witch God?"

"It's not a Pagan Witch God, it's a Lebanese Astral God and his name is David. But that's besides the point. I've come to talk to you about the stars."

"Okay..." I frowned, slowly looking up at the skies above. A distant cry of distress rang out, from the direction of the field. Probably from my team. "Stars... I think they're pretty. Oh!" I pointed up. "That one's my favourite."

"Are you making fun of me?" She said, dangerously, looking up as well at the clouded sky. "Because I'll hex you."

I went a little pale -paler than usual- and shook my head. "N-no! I'm not, I'm... er... sorry."

She stared at me some more, from under the brim of that hood, before quietly reaching back and pulling something out of her robe pockets. She saw me raise a brow, and looked down. 

"...confused by the pockets?"

"Just never imagined culty robes having pockets."

"Well, I need somewhere to put my wallet. Anyway, don't focus on the pockets..." She extended her hand. "Focus on what I pulled out of them."

In her hand, she held several dice. At least, what I at first thought were dice... they were strangely fashioned; eight-sided and shaped like long octahedrons. Each side had a different picture or meaningless symbol, rather than numbers. I stared for a confused moment... before frowning in disgust.

"...are those made of bone?!"

"It- Well... That doesn't matter! These are Divination dice, Bram. I rolled them seven times in unison, then seven times again, only to get the same results each time!" She said, as though that was meant to mean anything.

"" I asked.

", boy,"

"Boy?! I'm older than you by three months-!"

"So, boy, what it means, is that there's something wrong with this baseball game! Look, if I roll them again..." She knelt down and tossed the dice. They all landed in some mishmashed, dis-assorted way that I couldn't make sense of... but Susanne snapped her fingers with an 'aha' as though she just proved something. "Same results! And if I roll them another six times,"

She proceeded to roll them six more times.

"Same results, same result, same result, same result! And do you know why?"

"I'm leaving." I sighed, beginning to turn around.

"Bram! This is important! This means something!"

I stopped, pouted, and looked back at the girl. There was no mocking tension on her face. Only pure seriousness. Which, really, was no different from her resting expression.

She was known for purposefully freaking out the people in the class with her odd, mystic ways. Though not once had she proven her mysticism to be real. She just liked to spook, that was that. But now, something felt different. The sincerity of the look she was giving me made me hesitate...

"...fine... what does it mean?" I gave in and asked. "Don't tell me someone from Class A is using some knockoff voodoo to win the game? I honestly don't think they'd need it, to beat us."

"Not quite... I'm thinking this goes beyond mortal capability. This sort of energy can only be divine..." she began. She must have noticed the mounting confusion across my face, as she began to explain. "See, the roll of the dice -the roll of any dice!- is always random. The possibilities aren't infinite, but they're more numerous than we can comprehend. That randomness is the very substance of nature..."

I was... a little confused still, but I nodded along, sceptically. Okay. Dice rolls were random, nature was random...

"For me to have rolled the same seven results three times in a row now... It's unnatural. Think of it - the Earth was made through circumstances of chaos - and chaos, at its core, is composed of randomness. It was, therefore, at one with nature. Now, in opposition, the idea of a Deity, of a God of any sort, is an implication of Order," She went on. "Humans have a variety of religions, all with a variety of Deities that represent Order in some fashion. The lack of a God implies Chaos and randomness, spontaneity."

"Is this... Is this gonna circle around to an answer, any time soon?"

"I just gave you an answer," She stressed, picking up her dice, and shaking them... only to let them loose again. She then pointed at them. "My dice rolls are the same, over and over. They lack Chaos..."

I looked down, hesitantly, at the dice. I couldn't quite tell, but... It did look as though some of the same symbols were face up again. I picked up a dice, looking it over, which made the girl frown.

"Are these weighted dice?" I asked, inspecting it. "...wait, this texture... ew! These are made of bone!"

She snatched the dice back, with a glare. "I never said you could touch them!" With that, she picked up the rest of her dice, shaking them in her hands once more. "You missed the whole point of my words! When the world lacks Chaos it implies the presence of Order, of something greater! It implies that the Giant Astral Eye is gazing on us, and its maddening stare demands nothing but unnatural-"

I raised a hand, and interrupted her. "Look, Susanne," I began. She stopped talking, and gave me a quizzical look. "...why did you bring me here to tell me this? What can I do about it, why should I care? We're in the middle of a game. What's some imaginary God got to do with your weighted dice?"

"These aren't weighted! I explained it to you!"

"You did," I frowned. "But... I mean, c'mon, you know you're the only one in the class who believes in that sort of stuff. What do you want me to say about it other than 'okay then'?"

She opened her mouth to speak, but promptly closed it and looked down. She bit her lip, and after a moment, shrugged. "I don't know, I just... I needed to tell someone. And you're the most open-minded of the group, I figure. Can't tell Little Larry, he'd have a good chuckle over it. Can't tell Pirate Pete, he's scared of me... I don't know. I just... figured, since you're you, and... I thought..."

I winced a little, and took a heavy breath. Well, now I felt like a jerk. Of course she'd come to me about this weird stuff, who else would she go to? I was the 'guy who understood the mood', or whatever.

So they said.

So I told myself.

And even through all that, I couldn't see how exasperated Susanne was over her silly dice.

"Look... I know you must feel stressed. Why don't you go and have a drink of water? It might take the edge off."

"Did you just-?"

"Er-! No! I'm not calling you edgy!" I raised both my hands, in protest, just before she could go fiddling in her pockets. I saw the edge of a sacrificial dagger poke out, but after a pause for thought, she put it away. I breathed a sigh of relief. "What I meant to say is... If there's some kind of... Great Eye watching-?"

"Giant Astral Eye."

"Right. That. If there's anything of the sort, watching our game for... some reason... don't you think it's not really any of our business? I mean... what're you gonna do about it...? Why try interfere with a power greater than ourselves? It's pointless, it's... it's..." my thoughts went right back to our opponents. Class A. 

A power 'greater than ourselves'... was that rule of tenfold as inaccurate as I made it out to be? I knew Sheridan just wanted to mess with me, but... at the same time... wasn't he somewhat right? And yet, we were trying. Trying hard to combat a more powerful force.

It felt so useless.

Susanne stared at me, as though pondering what I said, only now realising how powerless she must have been to the supposed situation. Another yell rang out throughout the skies from the direction of the field - cheering and distress, sounding similar to last time. Crap.

Knowing our luck, that'd be Class A, getting another successful swing off.

I felt my will pulling in that direction, body turning to it ever so slightly. Class A probably had people on all three bases by now. Which, if I was right, meant that...

Gilligan O'Hara was up.

My hands balled up into fists, and I turned back to Susanne to speak, but she was already gone. I blinked, and stared at the spot where she was just standing in, mesmerised. She disappeared entirely! How the Hell did she do that?!

"I swear, that girl and her crazy-"

"My crazy what?" Asked Susanne's voice from behind me. I gasped in a frightened manner and turned around to her. She was looking at me like I had just done something strange.

"What?! You-?! How did you get behind me?!" I asked, in a slight yell.

"I walked right past you. You didn't notice," She looked out towards the field, and sighed. "I apologise for rattling your head with my worries. We should get back to the game."

"Ah... right..." I began to follow her back out, onto the field. She was clutching her dice a little harshly though, the concern never leaving her expression. It made me uncertain, honestly. Susanne and I weren't the greatest of friends, but friends nonetheless. Just about everybody in Class D were friends in some fashion, even if we tormented one-another every so often. To see any of us in distress meant for all of us to suffer the same distress, until the problem went away. 

"...I'm sorry too, for what it's worth," I said, which earned a slight smile from her. Oh, wow. Smiles from Susanne weren't unheard of, but they weren't common either. "I, uh... I mean-"

"I'm not perturbed. You may take your apology and stick it up your-"

"Right! Got it..." I groaned. We made it back to the field, at which point Susanne and I separated. I went back over to the seats, sitting down between Larry and Maddie. The field didn't look good, from over here.

Maddie gave me a cold glare. "You were gone for too long. They have people on all bases now. And Mister Hendrickson continued to call out fouls where there were none."

"Of course he did," Larry growled at her. "Welcome to Class D, girl, get used to it."

"Well, excuse me for pointing out how unjustified it is!" 

"We know it's unjustified, we've been treated like this for years now. Ever since the first wacko ended up in Class D, briefly followed by another wacko," Larry gave her a stern look. "Bold of you to only notice now. Didn't care to call out injustice when you were in Class A, did you?"

"I didn't-! I-! That isn't fair...!" 

"Look, if you two are gonna argue, can Larry and I switch seats? I don't wanna be in the middle of this." I asked. Larry shook his head.

"I don't wanna sit next to Little Miss Perfect," He groaned. "I'll shut up. But the point stands, complaining about injustice does nothing to solve it, so you may as well shut up too."

"This is a disaster..." Maddie muttered. "But, we were prepared for it. This is it, Bram. Are you ready?"

The last of her sentence was drowned out, by cheers from Class A that only got louder, and louder. For as she said that, Gilligan O'Hara started to approach home base. Maddie went dead quiet, as the boy picked up the bat, and twirled it in his hand. Class A's cheers only got louder.

I watched Sheridan begin to clap, from his position on third base - one final run standing in-between him and victory. His cocky smirk was difficult to forget. The Kiddo twins, Buck and Billy were on second and first base. With Gilligan batting now, a home run was inevitable. Four points, for the price of one swing.

Gilligan remained stone-faced from what I could see under his cap. He adjusted the brim just a little, before carefully taking his stance, effortlessly raising the bat, and drawing it back repetitively, as though he were trying to find the most comfortable way he could grip it.

The cheers only rang louder, with somebody letting out a whistle when he raised his bat.

I narrowed my eyes, as my, Maddie and Larry's heads all swung to the direct left to look at Pirate Pete - who was also clapping. Hell, it wasn't just us three. Everyone in Class D turned to give Pirate a nasty glare. 

When Pirate Pete noticed, his smile fell off, and his clapping get slower and slower, before stopping... 

He looked around, uncomfortably.

"...sorry guys."

In an instant, at least five open palms from the five Class D members closest to him found themselves smacking over top of his head. He let off five consecutive grunts of pain, before giving in and lowering his head.

We all looked back at the game.

"What're the chances Gilligan will miss?" asked Larry.


"Lower than small." Maddie corrected.

"Well then... That's, uh... not good."

"You don't say? Alright Bram, from now on, the rest is up to you." Maddie told me, placing a hand on my shoulder. "Remember the plan?"

"Remember the-? The plan is super straight forward, how dumb do you think I am?"


"That's not an answer!" I hissed, but couldn't get more out as she pushed my up and out of the seat.

"We believe in you!" She assured, with a nod of confidence. I didn't quite buy it, but a reassuring look from Larry got me moving. Alright. Here it went. The big 'win or lose' of the season.

I cleared my throat, as I approached the edge of the field, just out of the way. Danny was weighing the ball in his hand, a gentle bead of sweat dripping down his forehead. Understandable, it was all resting on him now. If he threw too lightly, too predictably, too hard... Gilligan would land his ultra-powerful hit, and it'd be our loss.

Question is, how do you make a baseball throw less predictable?

I looked up to the skies once again, waiting for the teacher to blow the starter whistle. But... something caught my eye. Or rather, an eye caught my eye.

The sky above, the dark clouds, they were all... coalescing, circling one another, in a cyclical, unified manner, that looked just like... a giant, gazing eye. I gulped. Shouldn't it have been raining? It felt like the right weather for rain... for thunder. But there was none of it.

The whistle blew, and Gilligan reeled the bat back, ready to swing. 

Danny took a long breath... pulled back, ready to throw, and...

"Hey Danny!" I yelled, from just off the field. He hesitated, and looked my way. It was time to kick off the plan. " you ever think about how at one point over your life, your parents put you down and then never pick you up again?"



He reeled back with renewed energy, as his disappointment-onset aggression kicked in, and he tossed the ball with sudden, uncontrolled strength towards Gilligan. Gilligan's eyes widened, as he too seemed to consider my confusing though depressingly true words, before kicking back into reality, swinging...

...and missing.

Shocked silence. From Class A, Class D, Gilligan, even the teacher!

Gilligan had missed. For the first time in a game of baseball, the man himself had missed a swing.

The boy seemed stiff, under his hat. I heard a light growl come from him, as he got back into position with renewed vigour. Uh oh... he'd be more prepared for the next throw. Guess I'd have to make it a more disappointing fact.

As I was about to rack my brain, and Danny got the ball back, the teacher ran onto the field, with a look of mortal discontent across his face.

"Foul play, Engels! Get away from the field! Get away-!"

What?! It wasn't foul play, surely! In a real game, the players had to deal with an entire crowd shouting at them, this was no different! I was about to point that out, when Gilligan raised a hand, which put the teacher to pause.

"...Gilligan...!" Sheridan yelled out to the guy, still a little shocked it seemed. "The teacher said it was a foul, so just take it and-!"

"You will not defile my failure as a cause of non-existent cheating." Gilligan spoke, quietly, though somehow loudly, at the same time. Everybody on the field froze up at his words, and his cold, controlled tone. "There is no honour in it."

It was clear that he wasn't happy... but he wasn't about to accept the teacher's handholding either. He glared at Mister Hendrickson from under the cap -a glare that I felt from afar- and shook his head. "...get off the field." 

The teacher was speechless, and yet, slowly, he obeyed. 

Gilligan's eyes met Danny's... then mine. Still shrouded in darkness under the cap... still composed.

"Gilligan..." Sheridan muttered in disbelief, hands shaking in anger. "You-! Why...?!"

"...seems I've underestimated Class D's teamwork... you!" He yelled at Danny, who jumped a little bit in surprise. "Your name was Browning?"

Slowly, a little uncertainly, Danny nodded.

"You were the first person to ever make me miss... you have arm strength worthy of a pitcher."

"Well, only in my right arm, really-" Danny began, but quickly shut himself up. "Ahem, I mean... yeah... t-thanks...?"

"And you," Gilligan looked back to me now. I felt a rush of blood. Those were some dangerous eyes. "Engels, was it? Your tongue is sharp as your wit. Let's see if you can keep it from getting blunt, shall we?"

"I'm mildly sexually uncomfortable, but, er... thanks, ah... O'Hara..." I nodded back, with a gulp. He turned to face Danny once again.

The teacher, mesmerised, cleared his throat and raised a hand high. "That... that's one strike!"

Sheridan was practically red in the face, giving Danny and me the most heated death glare I think I'd ever seen. Carmelita, the Kiddo twins, everyone in their class still couldn't get those shocked expressions off their faces.

I never heard Gilligan speak before, but I'm sure those in Class A had. I looked over at Maddie, reassuringly. She was pale, biting her lip, but as soon as I looked over, she gave me a nod of confidence.

We could do this.

Danny, ball back with him again, reeled back his hand. My mind thought fast, picking and scratching at disappointing thoughts.

Luckily, I had them in abundance.

"Hey Danny, uh... 40% of the world's food production ends up going to waste!"

"That... just makes me... HUNGRY!" He yelled, body seeming to act on its own as he stepped forward and hurled the ball, harder and more powerful than before. Gilligan seemed distraught by a wave of momentary distraction - and it was just enough to let the ball go through.

Lillith, who caught the ball behind him, emitted a loud yelp and nearly fell backwards due to the force at which it was thrown. 

More gasps of laughter and joy rang out from my Class. Everyone was leaning in, eyes filled with something I'd never seen before. The very thing Maddie's speech failed to incite within them, back in the classroom. Hope.

Class A all focused on Gilligan, as the teachers hesitantly announced, "Strike two...!"

Gilligan's mouth twisted, as he held back a chuckle. Slowly, he raised a hand, grabbed the brim of his cap, and brought it up. Not quite revealing his eyes. Apparently, we weren't worthy of that just yet.

However, he took a deep breath, and clicked his jaw... getting back into position. 

"There won't be a third strike." he said.

"We'll see about that..." I whispered to myself.

Danny was sweating, now more profusely than ever, but the look he shot me... the smirk of confidence, the glint in his eye of gratitude... it said it all. This was the last throw. He got the ball back. He got ready to throw.

I took a breath, barely noticing the very light pattering of rain against my forehead. Huh, when did that start up? The clouds were rolling, the eye was twisting.

Danny reeled back, and my mind scrambled,

"Demodex mites are probably having sex in your eyelashes right now!"


He tossed, as the world seemed to spin,

The speed was incomprehensible,

The world began to turn bright,

Blood was pouring down the side of Gilligan's face, from the edge of his mouth, as though the guy had bitten his tongue to concentrate,

Gilligan swung his bat,

And against all odds,

It made contact with the ball...


A bright light interfered with my vision, shook me to the core, the cheers from Class A that were supposed to ring out, at their win and our failure, cut short by unholy nothingness...

And before I knew it, the light faded.

I fell down to my knees, gasping for air. 

I had to control my breathing for a minute, and when I finally managed to get my puzzle of a mind back together, I could finally begin to comprehend a certain question: ...what had just happened?!

I slowly picked myself up off the white, hard floor, breathing as normal again, and looked about, unable to comprehend much. 

All my classmates were fawning and gasping on the floor around me, some getting up and looking as confused as I was. All equally frightened. We were still clad in overprotective baseball gear...

And yet, this wasn't the baseball field.

I moved some of the long hair out of my eyes, hoping to understand it better. But no matter how much my awestruck eyes tried to make sense of their surroundings, it brought me closer to a nowhere that I'd never experienced.

Wait a minute... Class A were there too, several feet from the lumps and coughing masses of Class D. Only... Class A weren't on the floor, gasping and shaking. They were standing around, eyes scanning their surroundings... looking about as confused as we were.

"Welcome, Young Heroes!" a sudden and deep, powerful voice boomed, pulling everyone's attention out of their horror almost magnetically. Some of my classmates were practically crying on fear, others were only just getting up, still unsure as to where they were. Excited whispers echoed over from Class A.

I myself didn't know what to feel. My eyes were ridiculously wide open, taking it all in. This felt too much like the plot to a Japanese RPG game to be real... But no matter how often I pinched myself through my shirt, I just wouldn't wake the Hell up.

This wasn't natural.

This was... Wrong.

I gasped aloud, staring all over like an idiot, blinking rapidly to make sure I wasn't just in a daze, overwhelmed so suddenly by all of this... a magnificent hall, of pure white stone, expanding far as the eye could see... farther than physically imaginable...

That voice, where...?

"Up above...!" somebody called. Oh no... Oh dear God please no.

Slowly, uncomfortably, I looked up... and turns out, the phrase 'oh dear God' truly applied, a lot more than I thought it would. For there, floating, suspended up above us were three shiny forms, so bright and disjointed that I could hardly call them human.

"And welcome... to the Palace of the Gods."

To be Continued...