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The Wizard Imposter

Summary

"We must arrange an accident for Titus, it is a patriotic thing to do."  

Monsters, sometimes, they hide among us. 

You won't know, if the mind of an innocent boy, may hide a serial killer, a vampire or a terrorist. Yet to another, he might be a Patriot, instead of a monster. At least Faber thought he is.   

Titus and Faber are two school mates, whom were accidentally marooned in a Wild West ghost town named Epitaph, and it is inhabited by militant Witches that only they can see. 

For Titus, he wouldn’t be in this town, if he's not sent there by a crazed Principal whom was dressed up like a Wizard. Now, while trying to escape and with his mysterious past fast catching up on him. Titus has to contend with Witches. Some, were the former acquaintances of his grandma, having grudges against her and him, beside wanting him dead. 

Then, there is his friend Faber.  For something evil, desperate and ruthless had risen out from his shy mind, while they were escaping. For example, Titus has a Magical Torque of Strangulation put on his neck, without of his consent. Unless Titus does of Faber's bidding, Faber could strangle him. 

For every path out of this town, seems daunting. From the surrounding deadly deserts, to the witches flying patrols above in the night sky. If they fail, there's always the final and the easiest way out, which is Death itself. 

Chapter 1 A Family with Secrets Part 1

Chapter 1             A Family with Secrets 

I wish I am dead, Titus said to himself, it's better than the hell, that I am in now. 

The boiling desert, is a place gravelled by dried baking soil that's cracked by the hellish heat of the sun every day. Hot enough to make a delirious man to begged and cry for the cold. The Silence of the Dead, is often associated with this baking hell, before one goes to a thirsty grave. A grand funeral there, is always follows by a feast, attended by Vultures and hyenas.  They will always give a grand requiem, sung with howling laughter and sharp shrills, for their gratitude on dining, on the dying or the dead.  That could be anyone, not coming out of this wasteland.    

Ropes, like wires burning into his skin. So tight they were binding of his wrist and ankles. As much as Titus want to scream in his mind to get out from them. His desperate struggle at breaking free is in vain, since he's tied to a wooden pole this morning.  

He has fainted a few times. It is a super human effort for him to stay conscious, while his brain is getting baked by the burning hot desert sun. His skin is hot, the air surrounding him is burning. He is almost naked, saved for his pants. Beads of sweat, is rolling down from his face and body, yet the moisture is everywhere on him, except for his dry mouth and cracked lips.  While the desert sun, like a fireball hanging in the cloudless blue sky above, is roasting him.  

Titus could die, from being dehydrated alive, before the cancer from his skin kills him.  While Death is patiently waiting, silently hidden in many forms, ready to claim of Titus when the Time comes. Titus prayed if that is to happen, may it be sooner.  He's desperately hoping for the day to be over, so he could find some relief, from his torture. It is of this thought, which had kept him going. Unfortunately, he is to be punished like this for the next few days. He is too tired, to channel of his anger to those whom is doing this to him.  To them, they believed Titus' punishment is an act of kindness.  For they could do of worse things to him, for what he had done. All because of the blame, for a crime he didn't willingly do. 

It is going to be a long burning day, with the creatures of the desert, the Vultures and Hyenas, waiting and watching, for their next meal. However, the swarm of flies have already beaten them to it. For there are moments, Titus would have preferred he is dead, rather than being baked. 

It wasn't his bloody fault. He got lied to, tricked, and then used. Titus cursed of his naive stupidity, for being simple minded and people took advantage of him. 

The worst of the perpetrator, is the boy tied up next to him. His fellow school mate and not friend Faber.  Whenever Titus thought of him, he just wants to shove of his fist, into Faber's lying gutter mouth. How could a super shy boy, be the master mind of a distraction, which had gotten a few people badly injured?  If Faber isn't a normal school boy, as a muddle like the Witches had called him. He would be dead. For such crime is punishable by death in this town. 

There's something isn't right about Faber. A moment ago, maybe he is delirious or perhaps it is the evil which had claimed him. Faber was laughing and preaching of doom. Like the town they are trapped in, would be smashed, and its people would be bombed from the sky.            

Yet their suffering, is paled in comparison, compare to those whom are trapped in a concentration style camp not far from where they are. 

The people in there, aside from getting cooked like they are. They are starving and malnourished looking, because they wore different clothing of an outlandish fashion, like most of them are wearing robes.  They are Wizards apparently, from what was told to Titus earlier.  They are from a skyship that the Witches had captured, before Titus and Faber had come into the Town. 

Now, Titus is grimly witnessing of a procession leaving this heavily guarded camp. A stretcher, covered by a white blanket with the shape of a person underneath, is leaving the gate. It is sombre reminder, that this is the final way out of this town. Lucky bastard, Titus said grimly to himself, at least his suffering is over. 

For Titus shall be joining this camp soon. Yet one month ago, Titus has never imaged in his wildest of dreams. He would be laughing himself silly in disbelief. If he is to discover that he's tied up, like how the ancient people did to the heretics, whom preached of new religions.  

                                                              ******************************* 

A Month ago. 

In a place far, far away from the hell that's he's in. Titus was still sleeping in his room. In a coastal fishing village from the tropics, that's standing on a jungle of metal silts and rising above of choppy and muddy sea waters. 

Dawn has just arrived, and the sun, is painting of its golden rays everywhere. The village, is mostly made of corrugated steel mish-mashed together like patchwork quilt. It is brightly reflecting off the brightness of the sun, with the cobalt blue sea doing the same. 

The annoying cries of hungry or greedy sea gulls, are chorused together with the colourful language or curses, thrown by the fishermen or poor souls having of their breakfast, while trying to beat them off.  

Titus was awakened by those sounds, coming through from the only window in his room. The first thing Titus could smell, is the briny sea air, mixed strongly with fish. Dead rotten stinking fish, which the Market is selling outside. 

Whether it's the sound, the smell, or the sunlight that's stirring him to wake up. What Titus didn't know, that his soft and easy life is over, from the start of this day. 

Before he opened his eyes, while still in his bed. Bathing him, are bars of warm fuzzy morning sunlight, that's streaming through the holes, from the curtains on the window.  

Then, something soft and furry, was slapping on Titus' face continuously. It was enough to annoy Titus to fully open of his lazy eyes, and then, he saw the rear end of his cat greeting him. 

"Oh Mips! Get off me!" Titus growled. 

His pure black cat looked at him indignantly, before jumping off from his bed. 

Titus yawned. The crisp and fresh morning feeling, prickled his skin. He then looked around of his small room. It is clean and sparkling, the way the morning light is washing it. There's his bed, a study table, a cupboard for his clothes, and a bookcase for his books, toys... and models, which he had collected over the years. On the corrugated steel walls of his room, he has posters of famous magicians, from reality to movies. Of one in particular, is a man with a top hat, with two of his fingers clipping onto a card. 

Fresh and full of energy, like he could take on the world. Titus stretched out his arms and hands, before yawning again. He then went to the only window of his room. The first thing which calls to him every morning, when looking out at the picturesque fishing village that he's living in. He always sees, of a large mountain covered with greens of trees, standing up and out of the muddy looking seawaters. There are rickety looking huts, with multi-colour corrugated steel for roof and walls, they are joined by a maze of walkways, also made of corrugated steel while standing on silts. 

The people living there, have brownish skin, compare to his, his mom and his grandma, that's of white. Their hair colours, are commonly black for all, compared to Titus of white that's dyed purple. His grandma is of red-white because of her age, and the goes same for his mom. Titus could never understand of why, his family had lived in this village, for they are so different to the villagers. 

Most of the Villagers are fishermen or women, evident by their rickety sampans or boats. This morning, most were out at sea, and those that weren't, are parked next to the huts or walkways.  

Now, a dreaded feeling weight like a lead in his heart. Titus has to get ready for school. The first thing he did, after walking away from his room's window, he opened the doors to his cupboard.  While looking for his uniform, Titus' cat suddenly jumped on his back, before climbing onto his left shoulder.  

"Meow!" Mip cried, before jumping for Titus’ desk. Unfortunately, it missed and.. BONG!  The poor thing planted its face on the corrugated steel floor! 

That must have hurt! Titus smiled sadly to himself. 

Then, while dressing up, he heard of a familiar shrill which annoys him every morning. It had come from an ugly red tail hawk, perching on the roof of his house outside. This morning, its head was turned almost upside down, while looking at him. Titus shook his head with annoyance, it’s always that particular bird. Why is it nosier than the others? Every day for the last how many years? Why can't it bloody leave me alone?  The brain inside Titus's head is pounding like mad, from his fustration. 

Once he’s fully uniformed, he looked at a large mirror on the door of his cupboard. From his reflection, he saw a fifteen-year-old boy wearing a pair of dark blue short, and a cotton white buttoned shirt. Then, while combing of his short dyed purple hair, Titus looked at the blood red pupils in his eyes. It is of that colour, since the day he’s born, and so was his white hair.  

"Your hair has to be of any other colour but white!" his grandma had once shrilled to him. His grandma is of a good sort. Yet she’s always paranoid about the colours, of his hair and the pupils in his eyes. For that's why, he has to wear blue contact lenses, and after he had put them on. He found he's looking at a tall and lean boy in the mirror.  

Why can't I be a normal boy? Titus sneered at himself with the question, while in front of the mirror. For every time, when he saw of his own reflection, he yelled to himself Why am I a freak? With white hair and red eyes? All my school mates have the usual black, blonde and the occasional red hair. Only old people have white hair, and my eyes...they make me freaking look like a vampire. I want to change it! I want to! What give to be normal at school. AND SCHOOL, I HATE MY SCHOOL.  

Every time, when he saw of his school uniform, he wants to burn it. Titus hates his school with a passion. It is not the school, but his school mates...whom had made his life miserable. Every morning, after wearing of his uniform, he always found a feeling of dread attached to it.  For every day, he could predict of the misery he shall face, from his bullies. Range from name calling, to one time, they forced him to dye of his hair to a different colour, by having a can of paint sprayed on his hair! 

Life is tough for a fifteen-year-old. Bullies, like flies to a corpse, they can smell a victim from anywhere, if they don't fit the crowd. 

Once he's satisfied, of his own fictional ugly contest winning self. Titus then grabbed of a black felt marker pen on his table. While looking at the mirror again, he drew a lightning bolt symbol on his forehead! After he’s finished, he then grabbed of his battered looking school bag. 

Later, when he’s in the kitchen downstairs, he found his mom is busy with her job in the living room. Titus took out the milk from the fridge, while his breakfast is waiting for him on kitchen's large table. The crispy fried aroma of breakfast, had made his stomach growl with delight.   

"Morning Mom. Hmmm, bacon, egg and toast, my favourite!" Titus said delightfully, then the cat jump on the table, and wanting a share of his breakfast! 

"Shoo!" Titus said to the cat, while it was looking indignantly at him. Again. 

"Morning Titus, are you ready for school?" his mom muttered, while her teeth were biting onto a needle. 

"Yes mom!" Titus sighed.  

Always busy, I wish you have some time for me mom, just to have a talk and not working. Titus sighed in his heart, then while his thoughts were distracting him. 

"SHOOO Mipps! Oooo! It grabbed my bacon!" Titus cried, while chasing the cat away! 

His mom Margaret, is a tall lady with long curly red white hair.  She’s a hard-working woman in her late forties, with her hair tied up by a red cloth around of her forehead. Her job is a seamstress, while she’s busy repairing and fixing clothes in the living room. 

"Where’s Grandma?" Titus asked, while wearing a round milk stain around of his lips. 

"Working in her basement as usual," his mom muttered, while busy treading a dress. 

"Still working on her secret recipe Ma? The secret sauce that will give us the break?" Titus smiled, with his milk stained mouth joined by ketchup stain. 

Margaret, she suddenly paused, like a jolt of live electricity had gone through her. 

Titus frowned. Every time, when I asked the same question and she behaved like this. It's like I am a bloody spirit coming to haunt her. 

In that few seconds, her large blue eyes were afraid. Her body and her pose betrayed of her fear. Like she is about to turn her head everywhere, in search of the predator which is hunting her. 

Margret recomposed of herself quickly from his question, then she replied, "Yes Titus, we are all counting on her, to find that golden recipe. So she could market them in bottles everywhere." 

Well done mom, typical reply you give every day.  Titus silently screamed to himself, it's like you have rehearse of your lines from a play many times. Seething with frustration, Titus then replied diplomatically. 

"You could use a vacation ma, when we struck rich."  

"Thanks honey, you are the sweetest. I wish I can afford of all the things that you had wanted in life," she said sadly. 

At least she is not acting on that one, Titus sighed silently to himself. 

Titus wished deeply that he could trust his mom. However, over the years, having the same crap told to him every morning, even the obtuse would get suspicious.  

"Ma, I got what I want in life, well...almost anyway. We are having a Fantasy Festival at school. Everyone is wearing something," Titus sighed. 

I had to break the news to her, Titus looked at her sadly, she is always so over work and barely at keeping away the living expenses, from choking us. 

"It's that time of the month again?" his mom nervously asked, "Do you really need a costume? You didn't need one before." 

I desperately want a costume, I really want one so I can show those bullies at school that I am not poor! I am going to a freaking rich grammar school for stinking rich kids. Titus seethed to himself, barely reigning in of his frustration. However, he knew she can't afford it. Despite his desires is crying for him to beg. So he can silence off his bullies, and have some measure of pride. However, his humility is reasoning of him to say the right thing. 

"Don't worry about it Ma," Titus said sadly. 

"Budget is pretty tight for the house Titus. I can barely afford of what we have, with the bills and food." his mom cried, with tears rolling down on her cheek.  

Life is tough, Titus closed his eyes and his heart was crying for her. She worked so hard, for him to have a good education and to live under a roof. 

"Sorry mom, it would be nice, if I knew Magic. Maybe I can cook up some money for us," Titus smiled, while his cat was on the table again for round two.  

Titus saw his mom doing the live electricity act again. This time, it is like twice the voltage.  

Magic, Titus shook his head, it never fails. It is like Magic, when every time I mentioned the word or of anything remotely relate to fantasy, she behaved like I am a ghost. This time, she didn't rehearse of her lines. 

"I would...like that too Titus, the extra money...Oh Titus," his mom suddenly exclaimed, "Don't you go mentioning the fantasy stuff around grandma. You know how she is, with fantasy and magic." 

"But mom! Magic and fantasy are harmless topics!" Titus cried, "Every kid at school talks about it." 

Except for us Titus raged, anything magical or bloody magic topic related, the two of them goes berserk. Weird, so freaking weird. No family except for mine does this. 

"You know Grandma Titus, she is rather superstitious on those things," she warned, "Let's skip the subject and get yourself ready for school. " 

Again, the rehearsed lines, Titus raged inside of him. 

"Yes mom," sneered Titus in frustration, and then he found in his plate, his egg is missing! 

"There's the leftover cake from your fifteenth birthday yesterday, still inside the fridge." 

"What's the point? Mips will just take it! It has already taken my Bacon and egg!" Titus growled disapprovingly. 

May as well make the best of my ruin morning, I still got my reading to do for my English class. Titus thought to himself. He then took a book out from his bag. So he could read it while having his breakfast.  

Ten minute into the reading of his book, suddenly, the whole house shook and rumbled. 

BOOMMM!!! Like an earthquake has struck! 

Oh no, not again! While the plates on the table rumbled and the cat fled for its life to under the chair. This kind of earthquake happened to the house occasionally, like once or twice every week. In the past, Titus would go and hide somewhere under the table when he was young. Now, he has gotten used to it. Yet still, his heart is racing and his pulse is beating like a drum, by this. 

"WOWW," Titus smiled, "Grandma is at it again!" 

"The house could shake itself apart from its stilts at this rate, "His mom grumbled. 

The shaking then stops, as suddenly as it had started. Should I ask the question, maybe this time she would say yes? Worth a try. 

"Mom, should we check up on grandma?"  

"NO TITUS! YOU ARE NOT TO GO DOWN THE BASEMENT!" his mom yelled. 

 Titus could see the lioness coming out through her, from her eyes and body.  Enough for him, to abandon of whatever hope he has, to see of his grandma's secret basement.  Shaken and startled, by his mom's expected yet not the ferocity she had unleashed on her sentence. Titus then quickly try of another way to approach her. I must get down to that basement! What is it she has inside there, that she is hiding? The feeling inside of Titus, driven by sheer frustration and curiosity, is not going to stop him now! 

"But Mom! She might be in trouble! Why can’t I go down there?  This is ridiculous! For fifteen years, I have been living in this house, and I can't go down to the basement! I live here," Titus begged. 

"No one goes down there Titus! Not even I! You know how Grandma runs the house. Her word is law.  Besides, you know how sensitive she is, with her experiments on her sauce. She can take care of herself," his mom growled at him angrily. The sheer ruthless force of her voice, silence of Titus completely. 

Stopped, like a bullet train out of steam, Titus sighed to himself in defeat.  

"Yes mom," Titus sniffed. So, much freaking secrets in this house. He then stabbed his fork into the food on his plate.  HARD. Making a sound, which startled his mom. Titus, eyed wide with surprised from what he did, and seeing his mom narrowed her eyes on him. He smiled nervously, before his mom gave him a disapproving stare. 

Before he could say sorry, the doorknob to the door of the basement soon turned. Once the door was opens. Titus saw of purple and red smoke flowing out. 

Aww.. It stinks, whatever it is! Titus grimaced, while forcing his eyes to closed, like a tear gas had hit his face. What did grandma do this time?  

The wave of stench coming out from the door, it is incredible! It smells like rotten egg and dung. Titus felt his stomach churned inside him. While his nose is unwillingly trying not to smell it, but he had.  So bad, that he felt like vomiting out of his food.   

His mom, she desperately went to open of all the windows of the house. To let the stench out, while Titus was fighting for control of his stomach. Then, from the door, out came a woman wearing a knee-length black dress.  

It is his grandma, a strong looking woman in her late fifties with facial features looking like a hawk. Her red-white hair is tied in a bun. Now in front of them, she looked kind of cooked and burnt. 

"Woooah! I have added too much garlic and snail shells this time," she whistled, while she was fanning of herself with her hand. 

It must be a cartoon I am watching. How could someone look this kind of cooked? From making a sauce? What did she put in t here? Titus shook of his head. 

"Grandma! Are you alright?" Titus asked, while looking concerned. 

His grandma, looking like she also hit by live electricity. For a second, she looked alarmed and ready, like she's about to confront of anyone. Then, she relaxed and smiled. 

It is a simple question! God! Why does she react like my mom did? Oh, I forgot, I live in a bloody screen play..and there she goes... the rehearsed lines. 

"Of course I am!" I can tell that you are lying Titus sneered from inside him. 

"And how is my favourite grandson today? "she smiled, before giving Titus a kiss on his forehead. 

I feel sick, genuinely sick of this bloody act of theirs. I don't know of how long I can stand this crap anymore. Titus closed of his eyes to control himself, before he goes crazy. However, he can't be selfish to his own desires, no matter how much his brain is screaming for him to act. They raised me, I have to play along. Without them, I wouldn’t be alive today. Calm down Titus, play along, and go along with the insanity. This time, with a bit of my twist.   

"I am good Grandma! What had happened to your secret Sauce? This time?" Titus smiled, I too, have rehearse of my line..let see how you play it this time, grandma. 

For a few seconds, his grandma stared at Titus hard. Titus could see the shock in her facial expression, from his audacity. She then sighed.  

"Didn't work out well dear," she said painfully, "Still some problem with the ingredients I had added."  

Titus had to struggle to keep of his frustration from breaking out again, by squeezing his fist tightly. The aged eyes of his grandma, she's now looking at him. Knowing she had beaten him, she smiled and asked. 

"Are you ready for school Titus," her voice is cool and soft. 

"Not really grandma. It's Fantasy day at school today," Titus sighed, resigning to his defeat, may as well throw her the meat that will bring out the wolves within her. 

"It's that imbecilic day of the month again?" his grandma howled, with a frowned. Nice of you to break down grandma, when I mention the "M" or "F" word. 

The serene expression on her face is gone. His mom, while back to sewing her dress before, she suddenly stops, to watch of the volcano that's about to blow up. Titus, sensing the coming emotional storm, he tries to soften the blow to her, by saying. 

"I didn't want to go Grandma. I rather stay home, than to avoid getting pick on, by not wearing a Witches or Wizard costume. It is the usual story, with name calling and bullying." 

The face of his grandma was red with rage. It is one of many times, they had this discussion before. And every time, it is not doing her health of any good, for a person of her age. 

"So, you rather cower and hide at home, than to face them?" his grandma sneered at him. 

Titus could feel the weight of the contempt in her voice and eyes, while her pair of laser like eyes, are stabbing of guilt in him. He felt of butterfly and panic rising from his heart. How could she do this to me? Titus screamed to himself. This crushing weight of shame, this humiliation?  Titus want to desperately get away from this trap that his grandma has set on him.  

"But there's too many spoiled rich brats in my school," Titus said desperately, while trying to shift away the blame his grandma had heaped on him. 

"Listen to him mom," said his mom, "It is not easy for him, being so different from the other kids." 

"Why are you so different to me today? Before you always try to back me up!" Titus growled. Yeah what is freaking wrong with you? 

"Margaret, he is fifteen from yesterday," Titus saw the coldness in his grandma's eyes, "He is not a boy anymore, from where we came... he is a man. He need to face his enemies and put them in his place." 

The sneer from her face, had almost made his heart to skip a beat. While cold sweat is coating on his skin. For fifteen years, Titus couldn't fathom the reason of why he feared or respect his grandma. There is a presence she causes on him, like she does to his mom. Which commands of respect.  

I need to face my enemies, is it? And yet you hide behind of your secrets? Maybe I should bring the topic out! I should ask them, if she wants to play the courage game! 

"What about you grandma? You hide secrets. You think I am always this gullible and naïve? And not know of the weird things happening in the house?" Titus sneered back, "You want to talk about who is being a coward, why don’t you tell me what you are hiding?" 

Oh freak! Me and my mouth. Titus clammed his mouth shut with his hands. I am facing the music now! 

Both his mom and grandma were visibly shocked by his audacity. However, how they behaved of next, marvelled Titus. Instead of being angry and surprise, they quickly became serene, like he had never asked the question. 

"You need to do something about your outburst Titus. The wrong things said, could get you in trouble. For secrets, not knowing them, is for your own protection. You want to live Titus? Do you?" his grandma grilled him sternly. 

What the freak?  Titus stared at her in horror, his heart almost paused from her interrogating question. His grandma has never done this to him before. This morning, she is like a freaking cold-hearted monster. 

"Mom, you are scaring him," Margaret said to her. 

"Maybe I am," his grandma soften, "I am sorry Titus. For a moment, my past had come back to haunt me." 

Titus saw his grandma sat down on the sofa, and then she pressed the skin on her forehead above of her nose. His mom then went and joined her. To Titus' surprise, he heard of his grandma sobbing, while his mom was patting his back. 

While still sitting on his kitchen chair, with his mouth hung wide open. Titus was stunned, by what he had done. He didn't know of the repercussion, of what he did. Now he felt sick to the pit of his stomach. He really wants to kick of himself for doing it. How could he make his grandma cry? He desperately wants to hug his grandma, to say he is sorry.  

However, before he could, his mom glared at him and said. 

"Try to understand your grandma Titus. We did this for a very good reason. Your grandma had seen things and done things in her life, that no ordinary men or women would dare in any life. Faced horrors and monsters, that make of any person squirms. The secrets we hide, is to protect you..from her past." 

"You are not freaking with me right mom?" Titus said, while his shock is still sinking in. Whatever they are hiding. It must be deep, dangerous and..it must have scare the heck out of them. They must have good reasons for doing so. This game of deception, of theirs. 

"Look at me Titus, are we?" his mom said to him sternly. 

Titus found her cold eyes, melts away of whatever doubts and questions he has. So much, he felt of something hard, something heavy smack into his head. The weight of guilt, for he should have trusted them, instead of doubting them. 

"I am so sorry grandma," Titus finally forced of himself to say. It is hard, but he must, he is now paying the price of his audacity. 

"I accept your apology Titus, on the condition you do something about your bullying," she said grimly. 

"Of course, anything!" Titus replied, she is forgiving me! Good! Titus felt like his heart was released, from his guilt. 

"Who in the school, make your life miserable the most?" she pressed him, with her harden feature again. 

"That would be Dominic, he is the king of the lot," Titus said quickly, hoping he could please her with his answer. Even though his grandma had forgiven him, yet he still feel the lingering tendrils of his guilt. He just wants to get past it quickly, by pleasing her.  

"The brat whose dad has taken over the school? Always win in all the contest and competitions made just for him?" scowled his grandma. 

"Yes Grandma, that's him. " Titus nodded quickly, it is working! I am pleasing her! Titus heart beat quickly, feeling the joy of relief! His guilt seems be further behind, the faster and quicker he provide her, with quality answer, "His dad sits on the school's committee. Even the principal and teachers are on his side." 

"In a war, do you know why the leader often die first?" his grandma gave Titus a medusa like gaze. 

"Err.." Titus try to choke out his answer, but he's at a loss for words. He tries to dig in his mind for anything, desperate to produce gold from thin air. But, as hard as he tries, as much effort as he strains of his brain muscles to the breaking point. He can't, and the discomfort is overwhelming, with the gaze of his grandma. 

"The best way, for you to lessen the amount of bullying coming to you. Is to get rid of the leader, once you are done. Not just you earn respect from others, they will leave you alone. " 

"Get rid of him?" Titus exclaimed dumbly, like someone had stolen his brain. 

"Get him expelled," his grandma said coldly, the coldness of her ruthlessness, chilled of his spine. 

"That is too extreme mom! What if we change school for him?" his mom said. She like an angel who intervened, with a glorious light shining on Titus, and free him from the trap he's in. 

"We have discussed this before Margaret! It's not an option. I want him to go to the best school that this island has. If he doesn't stand up to brats like him, he and then they, will keep picking on him." 

The light from his mom suddenly fade, and Titus found he's trapped again. His heart sank and the coldness of fear and anxiety creeps into his mind slowly again. 

"But I feel helpless Grandma, Dominic is not your average bully. He is not stupid like the others. He hires other bullies to help him, and if all else fails. He used his bugs and critters, very poisonous ones to scare of anyone to give him of what he wants." Titus begged desperately, I want to get out of this, I am not who you think I am Grandma! Please! Don't make me do this!   

Titus desperately want to escape, from this ever-closing pit, with walls of spikes coated with discomfort. Which his grandma is slowly squeezing the walls with every questions, on his panic choked heart.   

"You need to be strong Titus, and you need to stand up to him," said her stone-cold voice. 

"How? I would like to know of how Grandma," Titus said frustratingly. He has little room to go elsewhere, with the ever-tightening pit.  I want to hide somewhere. Somewhere, where no one finds me. He cried desperately to himself. I really don't want to be doing this! It is not who I am. 

"What's his weakness? He must have a few. Exploit them, humiliate him!" she growled. While her sneering eyes, is trying to drag and haul Titus out from his cowardly hide and strung of his spirit, into the field of courage. 

"He's pretty greedy, like taking things from others that's better than his," Titus finally yielded. His mind, was tired, beaten and completely lost of all his will to resist her aggressive stance. 

"Good! If he like stealing things. He can be expelled from the school. If he is caught stealing. With a police conviction, neither the school or his dad can save him," his grandma smiled, "All you need is bait." 

Titus mouth dropped wide open. How could she be this evil? This darkness in her heart?  

"If what you are suggesting me to use of a bait, then I am no different than him Grandma! Getting people in trouble on purpose! It is evil!" Titus exclaimed, with his instinct, mind and body, fighting every inch of the idea.