Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 40

Thread: The One Before Shades Of Gray (a prequel to a Kingdom Hearts fanfic)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default The One Before Shades Of Gray (a prequel to a Kingdom Hearts fanfic)

    My goodness, that's a long and unprofessional-sounding title. Anyway, something like three years ago, I wrote Shades of Gray with one of my real-life friends, who goes by the name Namines_Angel (so if you see the outhor listed as her, it's because this is also a collaborative fic). Admittedly, looking back on it, much of the writing in there is an atrocity, but one has to start somewhere, no? Anyway, this prequel to it has eaten up yet another year of my life, but I have to say, I'm much more pleased with the results, stylistically, at least. I'm not going to lie, though; this is a foray out into the blue for anyone who hasn't read Shades first. This is the story of the main villain trio of original characters from that fic, and to be honest, there is very little Kingdom Hearts basis in the first 15 or so chapters. I want to stress this before it even starts. So yes, if you like the start of this, go and read Shades, please! It'll make SO much more sense if you do.



    Chapter 1

    The rat stared out at the laboratory that was all he’d known since birth. The glow from the high-set, almost prison-like windows was almost gone, and even the light from the rounded hanging lamps was very dim, flickering continually as though someone was trying to snuff it out. The play of the shadows across the surgical equipment and spotless silver countertops was very enticing. If he could only he could somehow get out, climb up the sides, perhaps… and yet as he scrabbled against the glass, he knew it was futile. He was eternally stuck in this foot-long cage.

    Bored, he set to grooming himself. There was a certain mousy pride to be had in the state of one’s fur, but recently his had refused to cooperate with him. His body had undergone some harrowing changes in the past while. Two patches right on his shoulderblades seemed bent on staying as vertical as possible in spite of his continual efforts to flatten them, and they were causing him much embarrassment. His tail had even split in two, and some more of his fluffy white fur was poking out of each end. Still, the humans did not seem to mind… In fact, the first day this had occurred, they were incredibly pleased. Very noisy as well, he recalled. He’d scarcely heard anything that day other then the chink of glass and much laughter.

    Ever since they’d thrown a female into his cage every week or so, which was unusual. He recognized the rat in the cage beside him as one of them. She’d had her babies a fortnight prior, and today they were showing their first signs of fur. Curiously, it was most prominent on their shoulderblades as well, even more so than his… it was all very strange…

    “Ah, there you are, my little friend!” came a familiar voice, and the hand of his favorite human dipped down into his enclosure.

    “Mus, you’re my first true success,” said the man with much jubilation as he petted the lethargic rat’s head with one finger. “Look at this! You’ve grown… well, I dare not call them wings, I do believe you’d fall rather quickly if you tried to use them, but nonetheless! And your tail has adapted as well… yes, for stability in flight…You, my friend, are a genetic marvel!”

    “Don’t get too carried away, Malenion,” warned an older woman who had just appeared from the back room. “He’s never going to fly, and I still don’t get the point behind this experiment anyway. Flying rats… that’ll revolutionize the world.”

    “There is no greater purpose than the pursuit of happiness, Ermengarde,” he quipped, brushing off her sarcasm. “And they might,” he said, gesturing at the barely-furry newborns.

    “You keep on thinking that,” she muttered with mock frustration, though in reality she was very tolerant of Malenion’s hare-brained ways. It was difficult to dislike him, despite his tendency to choose projects that with no real benefit. “You know it’s nine-thirty, right? Shouldn’t you be getting home?”

    “You’d be right there,” he remarked wryly, running his fingers through his already haphazardly arranged hair, pulling more tiny pinkish-red spikes up. “She’s going to kill me, Ermen,” he added with a woeful look to his assistant.

    “Fortunately for you, six years of needing to remind you to leave the lab have made me pretty good at warning your poor wife of it in advance. But she does expect you home by ten,” said Ermengarde fondly.

    “I’m on my way!” yelled Malenion frantically, grabbing his jacket in such haste that he upended the coat rack, Ermengarde chuckling all the way.

    *************************
    Pedaling urgently on the old-fashioned, rusty bicycle that got him to and from work each day, Malenion approached the small stone house on the outskirts of Twilight Town with some caution. Quietly grabbing the roses that he’d carried home in his mouth, he slunk through the door as stealthily as he could manage, taking care to close it in complete silence. Beyond pleased that he’d not made a sound, he turned to go deposit his bouquet on his wife’s bed.

    “And where’ve you been?” asked an inquisitive voice. Before he saw its owner, he knew who it was. And there she was, his wife, tapping her foot impatiently on the floor, her knee-length brown hair streaked with lilac and green and tied back into a Rapunzel-like braid.

    “I thought Ermen- that is, I-” the man stammered, searching vainly for an excuse. Finally, he gave up and sheepishly held out his peace offering. “I brought you flowers!”

    Though she’d looked ready to explode only moments before, this gesture seemed to appease her, and she became much more gentle. “Oh, well- thank you,” she said softly, smiling forgivingly at her husband.

    “So, how did it go?” he asked, adopting his usual cheery tones again.

    “Oh, well,” she answered evasively, a suggestive smirk plastered all over her face. “But you are so lucky Maria was able to come babysit, so I could actually get there.”

    “Do we know what it is, then?” persisted Malenion with an eager grin.

    “Oh, I do,” she said coyly, turning her back to her husband to get a vase out of the palm-green cupboards, “and of course, I was going to tell you, but now, it has come to my attention that you don’t want to know badly enough to attend certain necessary appointments.”

    “Oh, but I do want to know! Please, Kalani?” Malenion pleaded, rushing to her side and toppling the mountain of soapy dishes in the island sink, thankfully none of which were breakable. “I’ll get that,” he assured her, diving for the escaped pots and sippy-cup with abandon.

    “Well, would you prefer that, or that I not talk to you?” she inquired, calmly bunching her roses in the vase while her husband continued to scrabble about on the tiles below.

    Before the weary scientist could give an answer, an older-looking, heavyset child burst in, baseball bat held high, chestnut hair flying. When he saw who was there, however, he dropped his would-be weapon and ran to hug Malenion.

    “Goodness, Ri, don’t do that!” the woman exclaimed, eyes wide

    “But I heard a crash,” he said in a tone of innocent confusion.

    “I wonder why,” muttered Kalani with a glance downward. “But you, Rion, should be in bed.”

    “Well I can’t sleep now,” he complained. “I wanna talk to Dad.”

    Malenion glanced hopefully up at her, and looking defeated, she took a tin of hot chocolate from the countertop and set out three mugs while a delighted Rion ushered his father into a chair.

    “I got another A in science, you know,” he recounted, and Malenion beamed at him.

    “That’s great, Ri,” he said, “but has your mother, um, mentioned anything recently?”

    The latter glared at him over the rim of her mug, but he continued to look expectantly at his child.

    “Well, if you mean what I think you mean,” said Rion seriously, “I was asleep when she came back. But can you tell me, Mom, I really want to know!”

    “Kali!” he moaned in desperation, “You musn’t withhold such information, it could very well drive me to the brink of insanity!”

    “Little late for that, isn’t it?” she asked, staring at Malenion, who had now buried his face into the tabletop, muffling his response rather comically.

    “Fine, FINE! It’s twin girls, now may I go to bed?”

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Chapter 2 (by Namine's_Angel)

    “I’m gonna have sisters? Oh Mom, that’s great!” The aflamed child pounced around the room, starring from one parent to the next. “Dad aren’t you excited?” Malenion’s face was as stiff as a board but before Rion could respond to the expression on his face, it brightened up. A wide grin appeared where the frown used to be and jumped towards his wife like an excited baboon, arms flailing and all.

    “Oh Kali that’s amazing, simply amazing.” Malenion said as he twirled his wife around like a ballerina. Rion’s large Smokey eyes widened at his dad’s sudden change in behavior. Kalani stopped suddenly after a few minutes and backed away from her husband who was still prancing around the room with excitement.

    “I think… it is time for a certain boy to crawl back up to bed.” Kalani threw the you-should-have-been-in-bed-hours-ago look in Rion’s direction. Ri pouted, his lower lip stuck out as far as it would go. Kalani smiled.

    “To bed.” She ordered, stamping her foot and throwing her arm in the stair’s direction, still smiling.

    “But-” Rion tried to plead and was quickly silenced.

    “No buts.” She said quickly as her son climbed the stairs to his bedroom without another word.
    *******************************
    Rion and his family’s life had been baby-centric since Kalani had announced that she was pregnant with twins. There was two weeks until Kalani’s due date and a lot to do. Rion had helped to paint the baby nursery and he helped his dad set up his old crib.

    Finally at 2:35 am one week later, Malenion rushed into Rion’s room.

    “Dad? What are you doing?” He asked, still half asleep.

    “Ri, come on your mother’s water broke!” Malenion said with excitement.

    “Well why can’t you clean it up?” Rion asked, wondering why his father had wakened him.

    “Rion…” he began to giggle, “Your mother is going to have your sisters today. Lets go.”

    At those words Rion pulled the covers off of him and raced behind his father down the steep steps to where his mother was doubled over.

    “Don’t worry Kali dear, I’ll call the ambulance.” Malenion said as he grabbed the phone and dialed 911.

    “911 what’s your emergency?” A sweet women’s voice said.

    “Emergency? Oh no emergency, my wife is about to have a baby and we were wondering if maybe you could send us an ambulance.” Malenion said, winking at his wife and son by the door.

    “Right away sir, goodbye.” The lady hung up.

    “Goodbye then.” He said as he hung up the receiver.

    “You know? The Twilight Town operator could be a little nicer. She hung up on me. I will have to complain.” Malenion took his son by the arm and helped his wife out the door. The ambulance arrived minutes later. Two paramedics ushered Kalani on to a stretcher and pushed it up the ramp into the large white van.

    “Have you ever got sued for flashing these lights?” Malenion asked one paramedic.

    “No, why?” She asked slowly.

    “Well someone could get a seizure from those lights and then sue you for killing their grandmother.” He nodded and climbed aboard with Kalani. Rion got to ride up front with the paramedics.

    The hospital was quiet, it being 3:00 am now. Kalani was rushed to emergency and then rushed to a room two floors above the lobby. Rion was not allowed to come into the room with his mom so he sat in a beige chair outside.

    After three hours of constant screaming and moaning from Kalani’s room something changed, it was silent until a doctor came out minutes later inviting Rion into the room. He slowly tiptoed in and joined his family who was now two people richer. Ryllee and Rylune, as his parents decided to call them, were being rocked in their mom’s arms. Malenion giggled and jumped around the room as he watched his new daughters squirm in their mom’s arms.

    “Mom, can I hold them.” Rion asked

    “Yes one at a time though, here sit. This ones name is Ryllee.” Kalani handed one of the babies to Rion. He could have sat there for hours staring at both of them. He loved the way they mad noise and blew raspberries. He loved everything about them. Ryllee and Rylune were his family and they were together, all of them. Malenion pulled out a camera and started to snap pictures every five minutes.

    “Oh very nice, that’s it, stay there… Angle Rylune this way… Okay both in mommy’s arms.” He said, snapping photos as he talked. Rion thought his family was the best in the world.

    A week later, Kalani, Ryllee and Rylune were released from the hospital and ready to come home. Malenion spent an entire day baking a cake for Kalani’s homecoming but he burned the batter so they decorated the house instead. Needless to say, she was surprised when she returned home with Rion’s sisters.

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

    “Luna! Lee-Lee! Rion! Suppertime. Ri, can you please help your sisters down those stairs. Dad will be home any minute and his birthday needs to be special, he is turning 36 now.” Kalani said as she set the table for Malenion’s birthday dinner. Soon three smiling faces were staring at her from the doorway.

    “I made daddy a bracelet.” Ryllee said, waving it at her sister.

    “Well mine is a necklace.” Rylune pointed out.

    “Girls, im sure dad will love both of them.” Rion said as he took both his sisters hands and lifted them into their high chairs.

    “Well, what did you make him Ri?” Ryllee asked.

    “I made him a keychain.” Rion laughed as he put a small, wrapped package on the table in front of him. Malenion pounded through the door.

    “Hello, family, what a day I tell you what a day.” He kicked off his boots and walked into the kitchen.

    “Do I smell-”

    “HAPPY BIRTHDAY MALENION!” The family yelled.

    “Oh unexpected, simply unexpected, Ri, Lee-Lee and Luna, hello. And hello Kali.” Malenion made his round giving kisses as he passed before finally sitting down at the table between Rion and Ryllee.

    “Daddy, take mine first.” Ryllee shoved a slobber-covered bracelet in his face.

    “Merci little one. Who’s next?” He asked as he took the bracelet from Ryllee.

    “I got you a necklace daddy.” Rylune held up a similar slobber-covered, beaded necklace and threw it at her dad.

    “Oh, very nice and Rion?” Malenion saw the package on the table and picked it up.

    “Is this-” Rion nodded and Malenion opened the gift. There were five faces on his present. It was a picture of the whole family. His two-year-old twins were sitting in the front row, Rion was sitting between them, Kalani, and Malenion waved from behind them. A glass frame with a wooden trim covered the picture.

    “Wonderful. Lost for words.” Malenion said as he examined everyone’s faces one by one. They were a family and everyone was together and happy.

    Kalani took Malenion’s favourite dish from the oven and put it on the counter. The twins were bouncing for food in their seats and Rion was tying to silence them. Malenion was still looking at the photo. Kalani picked up a tray to deliver the food to the table but dropped it seconds later. Kalani stood there for a second after and crashed too. Screaming could be heard from all over the kitchen. Kalani had fainted.

  3. #3

    Default

    So far, very good. I'll see if I can find any mistakes in Spelling a little later. I just wanted to post now, while I still have the memory of what happened fresh in my mind. I'm not good with grammer, though I'll try and see if I can find any errors. Most mistakes are just a forgotten letter or such, and those are to slight to mention really.

    First Chapter:

    Good, strong start. I like that you opened with a good explanation of what was happening. Though the first two characters in the story seemed to just conveniantly (probably spelled that wrong) say each others name in the conversation. It caused the conversation to feel a little ackward, but mixing names and details into a conversation is a bit diffucult. The characters are described quite well and very realistic, which is also hard to pull off, so I congratulate you on that. I liked that you threw us into the beginning of the middle of the story. The ending conversation seemed a bit confusing, since you used 'him' often, which could get a little confusing, but overall a good chapter.

    Second Chapter:

    While skipping around the small, unimportant parts of the story can speed up the process, I'm a little confused of the age of the two girls that are giving their dad the present, as when the mother told Rion to help his sisters down the stairs, it was implied that they were to young to walk down themselves, yet they can talk and make their father a bracelet and necklace. If their mother helped them, or they worked together to make the presents, I suggest stating it somehow in the chapter, whether just going out and saying it or the mother stating it in a joke or telling the father when they are alone. I find Rion's innocence almost funny, though I am not sure of his age either. I would guess about 8-10, but I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure of Rion's and the twins roles later if I remember the first story correctly, but I won't ruin it for anyone who decides to read this before the first.

    Anyway, very good overall, but the chapters are a bit short. But that's really not that important, so I don't mind. Like I said, a good start and I think it will just get better as it goes on. I also like your writing style.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Thank you for reviewing, Chaotic Tyrant!

    Yeah, in hindsight, that did come out a little awkwardly, didn't it? Malenion doesn't have a nickname, but he would definitely have called her Ermen.

    And oh, goodness. I guess I was on autopilot writing the end, huh? The "him"s are very confusing.

    As for ages, they're not exactly set in stone. We're very much in agreement that the girls are 2, or nearly there, at the end of that chapter. Old enough for simple motor skills like stringing really big beads, walking and a little bit of talking, but young enough to need supervision around stairs. Rion's a little less clear-cut; your guesstimate's about right in the first chapter, although he's on the older end of that scale. He's about twelve or thirteen at the moment.

    Anyway, new chapter! We ask that any medical inaccuracies please be excused as the author of this chapter (NA, not me; I'm a House M.D. junkie) hasn't so much as watched an episode of a medical drama.

    Chapter 3 (by Namines_Angel)

    “Mommy! Mommy wake up” Ryllee cried as she shook her mother. Kalani was motionless. Ryllee and Rylune were crying and Rion froze, watching as his father lifted his mother from the floor and his sisters screamed. He couldn’t move, frozen in fear, his gray eyes wide.

    “Rion, please take your sisters in the other room, I’ll call the ambulance” Malenion called from the other side of the room. Rion nodded and grabbed his sisters by the arms.

    “Ri, what’s going on? Why did mommy fall down?” Rylune shook, her green eyes as wide as her brother’s.

    “It’s alright. Luna, Lee-Lee sit here. I will be right back, don’t move.” Rion hugged his twin sisters and left the room, heading towards the kitchen where he could hear his father yelling at the paramedics, the lights of their vehicle outside.

    “Dad what-” Rion started.

    “Rion we need to take your mom to the hospital again. There is something wrong with her. Please bring your sisters down here after your mom is lifted into the ambulance. We’ll have to ride our bicycles” Malenion’s face was as shocked as the rest. Kalani looked dead, her face ghost white and her body still. Rion turned away and raced upstairs.

    “Luna, Lee-Lee we have to go now.” Ri said as he approached his bedroom, his face dripping with sweat and his heart pounding. Something was wrong. Rylune and Ryllee were not there when he arrived. The bed upon which they sat was empty and the room was silent.

    “RYLUNE, RYLLEE! Where are you?” Rion spun around, a little chuckle caught his attention.

    “I told you it would scare him. You are so funny Ri.” The twins laughed and pointed at their brother’s face. He did not share their expression. Rion’s face was now as white as his mother’s had been.

    “THAT WAS NOT FUNNY GIRLS! DO YOU KNOW HOW WORRIED I WAS? You have no clue as to what is happening downstairs.” Rion started to tear, frightening his sisters with his temper.

    “We are sorry Ri, it was just a joke.” Rylune said as she moved towards her brother.

    “I know, but we have to go, grab your blankets. We are going to the hospital, okay?” Rion picked a pastel green blanket and a lilac purple blanket off of the floor and handed them to his sisters. Together they went down the stairs to meet Malenion who had a large rusty, old bicycle with a carriage attached to the back and a smaller one for Rion.

    “There you are my little dumplings. Ri this is for you. Now do not forget the helmet, safety first you know. Luna and Lee-Lee go in here and I sit here. Come on then. We’re late.” Malenion lifted the twins into the carriage and belted them in, then mounted his own bicycle. Rion lifted the black helmet onto his brown hair and got on his bicycle. They rode into the night and towards the hospital.

    Twilight Town was dark, nothing but the street lights to guide their way along the house-filled streets. The wind blew in their faces as they bicycled past the accessory shop and the train station, past the sandlot and the car garage to Twilight Town General Hospital. The large white building gleamed in the darkness.

    “Ah here it is, we shall park in the rusty bars they call bike racks. I like to refer to them as good-for-nothing pieces of metal but that there is my opinion.” Rion said nothing as they drove their bikes into the racks. The twins had fallen asleep along the way. Malenion thought it would be better if they were not woken up so he lifted Luna out of the carriage and Rion lifted Ryllee out as well.

    Rion and his father carried the twins into the waiting room of the hospital. Malenion set Luna on a chair and whispered for Rion to stay with them. He sat in the chair next to his sister and sat Ryllee on his lap then lifted Rylune on too. The only sound was that of Malenion arguing with the receptionist about the hand sanitizer bottle after he had been told to sit down. Malenion arrived minutes later with the room number of where Kalani had been taken. Malenion gave the card to Rion as he took Ryllee from his lap.

    “Where are we?” Luna said rubbing her eyes.

    “At the hospital Luna, go back to sleep.” Rion lifted her blanket into her arms. She snuggled into it and returned to sleep instantly.

    The elevator was snowy white just like the rest of the hospital and a kind ladies voice spoke every time their cart reached a new floor

    “Level Two.”

    “Level Three.”

    “Level Four.”

    “One more level.” Malenion said.

    “Level Five”

    “That’s us, come on.” Malenion, Ryllee, Rylune and Rion exited the elevator and turned right into a large hallway, flowing with doctors.

    “Room 504, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, room 511.” Rion watched as doctors and nurses went in and out of the room. One of them stopped and blocked the doorway.

    “Sorry sir, visiting hours are over” A nurse with white-blonde hair said.

    “Sorry sir? No, no, don’t be sorry! My wife fainted, we rode our bicycles through town and had to park them in those rack things, were forced to put some of that cold hand sanitizer on, an outrage in itself and traveled up here in the elevator, which you should get checked out, some one could get seriously hurt in there if your not careful, but that is not the point. My wife is in there in serious conditions so if you wouldn’t mind…” Malenion pointed at the door to her room.

    “Oh, well if you are family… Why didn’t you mention it before. Please come in, she is heavily sedated.” The doctor said as she disappeared in the flow of other doctors down the hallway.

    “See, there’s mommy” Rion said, pointing at the sleeping woman. Luna and Lee-Lee rubbed their eyes.

    “MOMMY, MOMMY!!” Ryllee and Rylune yelled at the top of their lungs as soon as they figured out who it was.

    “Shhhh, Darlings. Let Sleeping Beauty have her rest.” Malenion grabbed the children and pulled them over to a beige chair in the corner of the room. Rion followed.

    Soon after, a male doctor entered the room with a clip board, a syringe, rubber band and vial.

    “Good evening. My name is Dr. Manson and I have been assigned to your wife’s case.”

    “Case? What case doctor? Kalani does not have a case of anything” Malenion stated, almost throwing his children off his lap.

    “We are not sure what your wife has so we will run a few standard tests to determine the diagnosis.” The doctor approached Kalani. He woke her from her sleep and asked her to sit up.

    “Can you please extend your arm?” He asked. She obeyed. Dr. Manson wrapped the band around Kalani’s upper arm and took blood with the syringe. Luna and Lee-lee began to cry because they thought the doctor was going to hurt their mother.

    “There, you will all have the results as soon as I know myself.” The doctor picked up his equipment and left the room. Kalani’s family ran up to hug her.

    “Mommy we are all so glad you’re okay.” Ryllee hugged tighter.

    “Me too. Hey, what happened anyway?” she asked.

    “You fell down and da ambulance tooked you here and we came on de bikes” Luna answered just as a stream of doctors rushed into the room.

    “I’m sorry but you must leave, Kalani’s case is even worse than we thought. No one knows what is wrong. We must conduct other tests to determine what she has. No one faints like that. M.R.I, CAT scan and X-ray’s must occur immediately. We are very sorry. The waiting room is down the hall. We have to transfer this patient to the Diagnostics Department down the hall. We will be sure to page you if anything comes up.” Rion, Malenion, Ryllee and Rylune were shooed from the room without a goodbye. Kalani waved and smiled sweetly as her family left the room, but returned emotionless once they were clear out of sight.

    The waiting room was quiet except for the rather loud snoring of a very old lady on the other side of the room. Malenion mocked her the whole time they were there. No doctors were in sight except for the receptionist who answered the phone every second. Finally a doctor came in three hours later. The only one awake was Malenion who was startled by his appearance.

    “Sorry to bother you sir but your wife. She’s in a worse state now, her diagnosis has not been determined and her vitals are plummeting She has not been doing well sir. We are afraid she won’t live for more than another week” the doctor said as he turned and walked into the hallway again.

    “Ri, I must go. The lab opens soon, my assistants Ermen and Elden expect me in an hour. You can stay here with your sisters and wait for more information.” Malenion shot up and disappeared out the door. He hopped on his rusty old bicycle and headed towards the lab. Rion sat, shocked in his chair. His mom was going to die and there was nothing he could do about it. His sisters were both asleep in the chair beside him, but why did his dad leave him here alone with his sisters in the middle of the night? Why wasn’t his father upset?
    ****************************************

    “Elden, good morning. Ermengarde same to you.” Malenion threw on his lab coat and got right to work.

    “How is the family sir?” A tall, young assistant with chestnut brown hair asked, pouring some unknown liquid into a flask.

    “Not well Elden, not well. I need a cure. Something, anything to save my darling. The doctors said that she wouldn’t live for another week. Any ideas?” Malenion started scribbling down on a clipboard just like the doctor in the hospital.

    “ Your asking me sir? I’m new and Ermen might be able to help a lot better than I can” Elden pointed to Ermengarde who was playing with Mus at the moment.

    “No, Elden, you are just as bright and just as promising as she is, so any suggestions? Come on I don’t have all day.” Malenion tucked the pencil behind his ear and raised an eyebrow to his assistant.

    “I have one” Elden said, unsure then continued “There is a rare flower that grows in the forest on the other side of town. It has healing powers supposidly. If we modify the nector with some chemical from this lab… but what?” Elden said as he walked towards a large pantry-looking cupboard filled with bottles of chemicals. He started pulling out chemical after chemical before finally closing the cupboard. “If we add this to this, and that to that. This should mix with that and create the solution. Then by mixing this solution with the grounded flower-”

    “It’s the best we have.” Malenion interrupted as he threw off his jacket as quickly as he had thrown it on and headed for the door.

    He reached the forest minutes later and parked his bicycle against the wall that surrounded Twilight Town. There was a large hole in the wall, large enough to fit through. Malenion passed through into the forest which was slightly foggy. The sun was rising now and the trees swayed with the cool breeze. There was no shrubs, flowers or mushrooms, nothing until he spotted one small growth near the gates to a large white mansion. The white and pink flower glowed in the light. He picked every one he could find and stuffed them in the pocket of his jeans. He skipped back to his bicycle and rode it straight back to the laboratory. He almost knocked another woman off her bicycle and a man out of his car on the way but arrived an hour later. Elden was still working on the same Concoction and Ermengarde stood petting Mus near the window.

    “Jackpot got the flowers, now what Elden?” Malenion asked, pulling the flowers from his pocket.

    “I am afraid we have to let the flowers die out first. It should take a few days in these conditions” Elden concluded, taking the flowers from Malenion and hanging them up on a line near the same window where Mus’s cage was. Malenion decided to resume his scribbling on his clipboard.

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

    After three days the flowers had dried and were ready to be ground and mixed into the potion that Elden had made. Malenion took the flask from Ermengarde who had just arrived and poured the ground flower in. He corked it and shook it up, mixing ingredients together.

    “Alright then I’m off.” Malenion left the lab and headed towards the hospital with the potion that would hopefully cure his wife from her sickness.

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

    “Where is Daddy Ri? Why did he leave us here?” Ryllee asked for the third time in the last three days, sucking on her blanket. Malenion had evidently dropped all three kids off at their home without a word three days before.

    “He will come back soon don’t worry.” Rion hugged both girls and walked them into the kitchen for a snack that would destract them from what had happened. Rion reached into the cupboard and pulled out two granola bars.

    “I’m home.” Malenion tore into the room.

    “DADDY!” the twins yelled racing to see who could get to him first.

    “No time for that, sorry to just drop you off like that but I had some very important business to attend to. Now lets get back on the bikes and back to the hospital shall we?” Malenion rushed the kids out the door and to the bikes. He once again lifted the twins into the carriage without belting them in and mounted his bike along with Rion.

    “Hey Dad what about my helmet? Safety first.” Rion pointed to his plastic helmet on the ground.

    “No time son, lets go.” The ride to the hospital felt shorter than it had before, maybe because Malenion sped down the street at top speed, almost knocking the twins out of the carriage most of the way.

    “Where have you been? You are here one minute and not the next, three days? Malenion how could you?” Kalani struggled to clear her throat. Her voice was raspy and she kept gasping for air every other sentence and wheezing.

    “Darling please relax, I have the cure. It will work, trust me.” Malenion helped her back down to her pillow.

    “Drink this honey.” Malenion took the cork off of his potion and fed it to his wife. She almost choked.

    “That’s better, huh?” Malenion patted her shoulder.

    “Yes, but-” Kalani stopped, someone was knocking on the door. The same male doctor from three days prior entered and asked them to leave. Malenion was confident in his potion so he left with his children without a word.

    The waiting room was a lot more crowded than it had been in past visits.

    “patient 511 is in respiratory distress.” Dr. Manson’s voice sounded distressed on an old-fashioned PA system. Just them a stream of about 5 or 6 nurses raced from one corridor to the other and up the stairs towards Kalani’s room. Without thinking, Malenion jumped up and followed them. Rion and the twins chased their father. Kalani’s room was now swimming with medical personelle. All that could be heard was yelling about 30 CC’s and life support.

    “Let me through! I need to see my wife. I SAID LET ME THROUGH!” Malenion pushed past the doctors and finally reached Kalani.

    “Malenion-”

    “Shhhh, honey, I don’t know what happened it should have worked” Malenion tried to hide the fact that he was panicking. His wife was about to die any minute before his very eyes.

    “It’s okay hun, it’s meant to be this way. I know that now. Come here sweeties.” Rion, Lee-Lee and Luna were all crying.

    “Ri, take care of your sisters for me, whatever happens, listen to your father and sisters, they need you. Luna, Lee-Lee be good for your father and brother.” Suddenly the heart monitor stopped beeping, and was replaced with a flat, long beep. Kalani faded, her lips as purple as Rylune’s blanket. Kalani was gone.

  5. #5

    Default

    Very good.

    I read through it in a rush, and I'm so sick and tired today I slept for 12 Hours last night (had to stay home from school) so I may be wrong, but I thought this chapter was quite good. The only problem I see was a couple of moments that seemed a little ackward considering the situation, which I will point out later. This is just a quick review, I'll do a longer one when I'm not so tired.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Aw, that's not fun. Being sick is horrible. I'm glad I haven't caught anything for a while now. Please don't rush yourself in reviewing; sleeping is good.

    Today's chapter is one of my two favorites in this fanfic, despite it now looking shorter than I remembered it being. Either way, I daresay it's dramatic enough to be entertaining. PG to PG-13 for slight (not overly graphic) violence.

    Chapter 4

    “You said it would work.”

    Out from the shadowy depths of the unlit laboratory those words came, sounding as though they’d been dragged up from the depths of the earth, rightly frightening Elden. He dropped the heavy box he was carrying, adding the crash of breaking glass to his own shriek as he dove for the light switch.

    “Oh, it’s you, is it?” he sighed as he discovered the source of the voice.

    Malenion sat solidly on a stool some ways across the lab, leaning over onto the polished countertop before him and staring pointedly at his assistant. Right behind him, Mus squeaked and squealed alarmingly loudly, but he hadn’t so much as spared a glance for his pet. Squinting, Elden could see the source of the rat’s cries: one of the poor creature’s furry shoulder-tufts was caught in his exercise wheel, and he’d nearly torn it off in an attempt to free himself.

    “Malenion, you’ve got to watch him!” Elden exclaimed as dashed to Mus’ aid. “You gave him those things, and you’re responsible for any harm he comes to because of them!” Gently, he extricated the rat from the wheel and soothed him while he wriggled, whimpering incessantly.

    “Is that so?” said the same unearthly voice from before. Malenion’s head had wheeled around like an owl’s, and the fixated stare was still on the younger man. “Funny you should mention that. The same applies to all, then. Are you really in a place to say that, Elden?”

    “You’re quite- quite right, sir, I’m not. I- I am your subordinate,” said Elden, choosing his words very carefully. The hand that held Mus was beset by nervous tremors. By all visual terms, Malenion was in front of him, but he couldn’t help but feel that his boss definitely wasn’t himself today.

    “Do not patronize me,” said Malenion, a dangerous undercurrent flowing through the words. Elden’s convulsions became slightly more violent, and Mus tumbled from his hands. Malenion reached out inhumanly quickly with his and caught the rat before he fell too far, dropping the agitated creature into one of the deeper pockets of his lab coat. “Don’t you remember doing something that incurs such a responsibility lately?”

    Though he remained silent, Elden had a feeling he knew where this was going.

    “My wife, you idiot,” he snarled, seizing a fistful of copper-brown hair and yanking his assistant’s head back. “It’s interesting, how she died. Apparently, it wasn’t because of the disease at all. The autopsy results came back today. You’ll never guess what they found.”

    “No idea,” gasped Elden, clutching the back of his neck as a searing pain ran through it. There was a rattling of keys from behind the door, but he dared not even glance at it.

    “A wad of flower petals, lodged in her throat.”

    Immediately the young man yielded to the instinct he’d had since he walked in: to run. With a quick blow to his captor’s slender wrist, he broke free and darted further into the lab, knocking all manner of scientific instruments down with a resonant crash.

    “You shan’t evade me!” roared Malenion, vaulting over the counter in pursuit. “I shall have revenge, for Kali! I will make you feel what it’s like to die, slowly, painfully, with not even the normalcy of breath to comfort you!”

    Just then, Ermengarde, having finally unlocked the door, burst in, a violent flush on her wrinkled face and her graying hair rather disheveled. It seemed that she had run up from her living quarters below.

    “What on EARTH is going on in here?” she exclaimed as Elden shot past her like a frightened rabbit. “I could hear you all the way from my apartment! I’ve told you before Malenion, you can’t play tag of hide-and-seek in-“

    “He’s crazy!” the young man shrieked as he dove beneath the nearest desk, sending it spinning with him under it.

    “Elden, stop it! You’re destroying the lab!” she reprimanded, rushing to straighten the abused piece of furniture. “And yes, I know, but he’s completely harmless.”

    The instant she had finished talking, her boss was flying, large, jagged glass shard plucked from the box Elden had dropped in hand, towards his underling. The young man rushed deeper into the lab with a yelp.

    “Still think that?” he said, throwing a large pair of tongs at his snarling aggressor. “Call the police!”

    “Police, yes,” she said mechanically, not altogether willing to tear herself from the incredible scene. Hopping awkwardly through the wreckage with her high-heeled feet, she finally reached the ancient old office telephone, dangling limply from its spiraled cord. She drew it up to her ear with much haste, but her fingers hesitated upon the dialing pad.

    “Police, police,” she muttered, racking her brains for the number. If you asked Ermengarde to recite the periodic table of elements, she could, but details such as what she’d eaten for breakfast, what day of the week it was, or the emergency number tended to slip her mind.

    “It’s nine-one-one, Ermen!” yelled Elden. He and Malenion were now locked in combat with a pair of retort stands, clashing them like swords.

    “Right, yes! I knew that,” she assured herself as she punched in the dictation. “Yes, hello officer? Oh, you’re not the officer, are you? Yes, yes, that’s the emergency,” she said, the operator having heard some of Malenion’s insults (“MURDERER! COLD-BLOODED, VICIOUS, INARTICULATE MURDERER! YOUR HEART WILL BE KALI’S PILLOW IN HER GRAVE!”) loud and clear. “One of my coworkers appears to have gone slightly mad… chasing another one, you know… I don’t know what it’s about!” she said, sounding affronted. “Elden, what is this about?”

    “Is this REALLY the time?” cried the unaided victim, who had managed to climb up a precariously leaning array of boxes and toppled chairs onto a tall cabinet and was now nearly flat on the ceiling. Malenion, refusing to give up, was hurtling himself and all manner of objects at him, accompanying a threat each time.

    “He says it’s not the time… No, nothing else… Okay, thank you, operator.” She hung up the phone.

    “Are they-“ Elden began, but with one final forceful bellow, his boss tackled the cabinet and upended it quite spectacularly, obscuring the world behind a veil of fluttering lab reports. Elden’s head hit the ceiling with an unpleasant crack, and he tumbled to the floor. When he could finally see again, the only thing that mattered was Malenion’s leering face, holding the ominously glinting glass shard to his neck.

    “Not that anything you say will save you, but have you anything to say? Before…” He did not need to finish that sentence to make it threatening.

    Elden knew what he wanted to hear, but was he really to blame if Kalani had choked on the potion? He swallowed nervously, and was alarmed as a trickle of blood stained the glass’ edge.

    “No,” he said defiantly, “I’ve nothing at all to say. You ground that flower up yourself.”

    Malenion howled with rage, and a hard look came into his eyes as he drew back the shard. Then he stopped, tilting his head curiously and looking much more like he ought to.

    “Perhaps it would be better if you experienced death exactly as Kali did,” he said, cracking a horrifying grin as he closed his hands around his colleague’s throat.

    Ermengarde had thus far stayed on the sidelines, having a realistic idea of how helpful she would be to Elden, but there was to be no strangulation on her watch. She leaped at Malenion, attacking with tooth and nail, determined to show him what a spry old lady could do.

    However, he was ready, and held the glass high. It dove deep into her chest, seeking out her heart with demonic precision. Blood spurted from it, morbidly coloring her spotless white lab coat as she watched it. Looking at her attacker with eyes wide, there was a certain aura of disappointment about her as life fled her, leaving her eyes glassy. She toppled to the floor and was still.

    All the while Malenion’s right hand had never left Elden’s throat. The young man gagged, gasped, contorted himself in a desperate attempt to throw him off, but Malenion was immune to all physical harm. All that existed in the world was this person, right in front of him, quickly turning purple as his eyes rolled back in his head. It was a terrible image, but Malenion drank it in hungrily, wanting more. He tightened his grip on his underling. Elden began to purple, and he struggled less now.

    Suddenly, sirens pierced the night, sharp and clear and purposeful. They startled Malenion so much that he released his captive, and he shook away the beast of anger and regret that had plagued his mind. What he found to be behind it was perhaps more traumatic still.

    Ermengarde, dead on the floor; Elden, an unearthly but all too familiar color, seeming dead as well. Nausea overcame Malenion very quickly. His sensitive soul could not bear the sight of his long-time partner Ermen’s body.

    Elden was more bearable. It actually interested Malenion, morbidly enough, that his flesh was discolored. That wouldn't have been the result of an accidental occurrence.

    His train of thought fluttered off as the young man’s eyelids seemed to have moved fractionally. Then, a slight twitch of Elden’s extremities… Yes, he was definitely still alive! And yet some quality of death seemed to linger in his face.

    Malenion could remember the day he’d decided to take on a new assistant. He did the interviewing himself, of course, and even though he received many applicants, his choice had been quite clear. Elden had always been enthusiastic, and his eyes held a certain spark of intelligence, belying his tremendous potential. The spark was gone, and though he looked ahead, he didn’t appear to really see.

    The man turned away from his young victim, shock and outrage pouring
    through him. Who did this? He seriously doubted the two victims had begun to fight each other, but as he looked around, he noticed something else. The lab was in shambles, but there was no sign of forced entry.

    Come to think of it, how had he himself gotten in? He couldn’t recall anything of the past night, or even this very morning, apart from what was happening now. Only Kali, dead, terribly dead…

    Then a thought hit him.

    Malenion had always been taught that logic was to be valued over emotion. You didn’t want to believe that your young son had made off with your reports to color on, and yet the turquoise wax shavings around the place where they had once been told the story well enough. And now, though it was somewhat more serious a situation, the same instinct was presiding, whispering awful things in his ear.

    Murderer.
    Last edited by Autumn_Memories; 6th December 2008 at 3:10 AM.

  7. #7

    Default

    Very, very good. I was hoping the Fan-Fic would start to speed up around now. I have to say though, It's sorta hard to imagine Ermengarde being that oblivious to what is happening when she's calling the police, but then only minutes after she's ready to spring into the fray. The action picked up right away, which I like, but ended a bit eruptly. The psychological toll he had from what had happened was intreseting, if a bit hard to understand at first. The whole chapter was basiclly a long description of a short incident, but oh well. I really liked this chapter, and can't wait for the next one. Sorry that this review was rushed, there is something I need to do, but I wanted to at least get this out of the way. I'll come back and make a longer review later.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Thanks again for reviewing, Chaotic Tyrant!

    Ermengarde's portrayal in this chapter is a bit odd, admittedly, but it's meant to show what kind of person she is. Very level-headed, but perhaps too much so sometimes. It's also to show how she sees Malenion; she had a hard time taking his "attack" seriously, because he's usually all bluster and no action, and she wasn't there when he was clearly not acting like himself. Of course, when he started actually strangling people, she felt she had to step in, but I don't think that even at that point she was entirely convinced he'd do damage. Hence the "disappointment" when he does.

    Malenion's reaction is very important, actually, so I'm glad you liked it. Especially in this next chapter... you'll see.

    NA wrote this one kind of half-heartedly, so if it has a touch too much Family Channel influence, that's probably why.

    Chapter 5 (by Namines_Angel)


    “The defendant is charged with second degree murder, Take him away!”

    The sound of the judge’s wooden mallet echoed through the courtroom. This was it; Malenion was to be sent to live in a white padded room for the rest of his life. What is going to happen to my kids? My home? The lab? Malenion wondered as the hand cuffs squeezed tighter on his bony wrists.

    “Let’s go,” A man in a white suit (evidentially from the mental institute where he was headed) forced him out of his seat. He had bleach blonde hair, gelled to perfection on his head. They reached the courtroom door and the man from the mental institute opened it for him and they proceeded down the marble steps to a white van that read,

    Twilight Town Psychiatric Facility


    The doctor shoved Malenion into one of the seats near the door and slammed the van’s door, almost chopping off his foot. Inside the van was very different from the outside. It was covered in white padding and the seat belts were all padded with foam.

    “Excuse me sir but are you planning on getting in an accident?” Malenion asked the blonde doctor who was now speaking to a younger woman with a strong British accent through his window.

    “An accident? No not an accident. We are going to go to a hospital because you are sick, okay?” The doctor replied, clicking in his belt. The door opened seconds later (before Malenion had a chance to respond to the doctor’s mistake) and the same lady from the window jumped in and sat in the seat behind Malenion. She grabbed his seat belt and clicked it in before sitting back and clicking her’s in as well.

    “You know I am quite capable of buckling my own seat belt thank you very much,” Malenion hissed, examining the rest of the room.

    “Sure you are love,” she said in a calm and sweet voice.

    “Love? I am not your love. My love died. She had a disease. SHE WAS SICK, NOT ME!” Malenion yelled, jumping in his seat.

    “Okay calm down deep breathes. You don’t want to hurt anyone pet now do you?” she replied, motioning for Malenion to take deep breathes. He of course, thought that was ridiculous so he sat in his seat with his arms folded and his lip curled. The lady did not like what she saw. She grabbed his arms and flapped them around in the air.

    “Come on love, you can do it, in and out.” Malenion read her name tag on her shirt.

    Nurse Anna- Maria Thorton

    “Okay miss Anna-Maria. I am not sick, I am perfectly fine. I am not retarded or stupid for that matter so stop treating me as if I am a small child," Malenion`s eyes starred her straight in the eyes. She began to laugh.

    “Malenion is it? Oh yes you are a funny, funny man, oh yes you are."

    “Yes it is and thank you but I think your doctor should be fired from their job because I believe your hearing aid is faulty so let me spell this out for you so you can hear me clearly okay? I AM NOT TWO, SO I WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU STOPPED TALKING TO ME IN THAT STUPID KINDERGARDEN TEACHER VOICE! Did you get that?” Malenion’s face turned cherry red with all of the anger that built up.

    “Excuse me Malenion but I do not like that tone. Do we need to prescribe happy pills?” Anna shook her head. Malenion was too tired at this point and did not respond to this last comment. Instead he gazed out the window at the passing buildings and houses.

    ***

    “When is Daddy getting home Ri? He promised to play scrabble with me and Luna,” Ryllee tugged on Rion`s green t-shirt.

    “Go into the living room and watch the TV or something, he’ll be home soon, don’t worry,” Rion rubbed Lee-lee`s hair and nudged her towards the family room. Rion`s face suddenly turned from content to shocked when he overheard the news report on the television.

    “Thanks Bob, this is Andrea with breaking news. The battle of the continual murderer continues today. Did thirty-nine-year-old Malenion, a local scientist strangle his employee to death? Did he murder his loving wife Kalani after she came down with a mysterious disease? The judge and jury vote yes. Malenion was dragged to the Twilight Town Psychiatric Facility shortly after his trial ended where he will spend the remainder of his lonely life in a foam-padded room. Apparently he had three children who will be taken into the immediate care of their cousin Felicity Dawson and will be forced to give up their home and move in with her across town. I had the privilege to catch up with her today hi Felicity,”

    “Hello,” a soft and innocent sounding voice echoed into the brain of the shocked Rion who was now shaking.

    “How do you feel about inheriting the children of a murderer?” the reporter asked.

    “Well I have only really been introduced to the oldest one Robert I believe his name was but my mother tells me stories about them and they seem to not be as bad as they are portrayed,” Felicity said. Rion could tell without even seeing her face that she was bluffing. The sweet smile and voice of her already was enough to make him want to throw up,”

    “I see, so what is your relation to Malenion and who’s side are you on?”

    “Well my mother was Kalani`s sister and no I had nothing to do with that murderer if that was what you were thinking. I always knew he was trouble from the 1st time I saw him,” She stated sweetly then concluded,

    “Well I have to leave you now, my ride has arrived, nice meeting you Andrea” Rion`s cousin left the interview and Rion sighed. Oh Crap, the girls! He snapped out of the trance he was in and raced towards the living room where both were sitting, jaws dropped and in shock. Rion grabbed the remote as fast as his trembling hands could go and clicked to off button. The screen clicked off and the room went pitch black except for the light in the kitchen. Rion took the hands of both girls and walked them both to the kitchen. He sat down at the table and lowered himself to their level. Tears were now draining from his body like they had been held hostage. All at once both girls bursted out in tears that had no sign of stopping for a while. The only thing that would help in this situation would be a hug. Rion lifted both sobbing girls on to each knee and hugged them tighter than anyone could hug a child. He began to cry harder. These girls were not only the closest thing to his mother but the only family he had left.

    A knock at the door awoke Rion and his sisters the next morning. He had forgotten about his dad’s hearing and the fact that they were all alone now, so naturally Rion’s first thought was his dad but that changed quickly when he realized who it was.

    “Ryan is it?” Felicity tilted her head, her brown eyes wide. Rion sat there for a few seconds, just staring into her eyes, trying not to barf all over her lace parasol and matching gloves.

    “Well is it? Yes? Okay then, my name is Felicity. So are you going to invite me in or do I have to sit here for the remainder of the morning?” Felicity pushed past Rion and threw her parasol at him, expecting him to catch it, but instead it hit him and fell on the floor in front of him.

    “You must be Rebecca and Lily right?” Felicity asked staring at the twins.

    “Wrong. Their names are Ryllee and Rylune, got it?” Rion brought together all his courage and pooled it into this last sentence.

    “I beg your pardon? You do not talk unless you are spoken too, got it? Good now where are your bags I am on a very tight schedule you know.”

    “Bags? We don’t have bags,” Ryllee said with her sweetest voice. Felicity looked at her as if she had just smacked her in the face.

    “Well come on then, what are you still doing here, grab suitcase and put your junk in there, what part of WE ARE ON A TIGHT SCHEDULE don’t you people understand?” The twins automatically turned to leave but Rion grabbed their hands and stopped them from moving.

    “We are not going anywhere lady. You can’t just stop at our door step and expect us to follow you. We hate you already and we don’t even know you. My mother is dead and my father is in a funny farm. This is my house now and you are invading my space so if you will please pick up your ugly umbrella, stupid gloves and your jaw from the floor and leave us alone, that’d be great,” Rion shot a discussed look her way and met a smirk on her face.

    “Well, child services says that I am the only family left of yours so I have no choice, the limo is waiting so you are going to pack up tour crap or I will take you without your stuff, I don’t care either way. Oh, by the way I don’t like you either so this should make life interesting for everyone, now go.” Felicity threw her arm up the stairs and Rion had no choice but to follow her command. His life was about to change, for the worst.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Chapter 6


    The spinning, stormy landscape outside the impeccably polished carriage window was a disturbingly accurate representation of Rion’s emotions. His new caretaker had not taken kindly to his little outburst. As penance, both he and his sisters were escorted to a ridiculously old-fashioned gilted buggy, complete with snowy horse, by a rather burly and intimidating escort of hers while she arranged for another to get their belongings in order. This took all of ten seconds once the lady realized that their possessions were typically not adorned in lace. Simply put, she would not allow such things in her house.

    Now they sat, a lonesome and forlorn little trio, huddled on the back seat that separated them from the other two compartments with fussy pink ruffles over glass. Rion could just see a black-suited shoulder from where he sat. Even the guards were given higher status than them.

    “Where’re we going, Ri?” asked Rylune, her voice tiny with fright. “Where is this place?”

    “We’re going to see Daddy, Luna,” he explained quietly, retrieving their blankets from under his sweater, where he had stashed them from Felicity’s prying eyes. She and Ryllee both seemed satisfied with this answer, and promptly curled up on the velvet seat, hand in hand.

    It wasn’t entirely a lie, he told himself. It wasn’t a lie at all really. It was the most pleasant destination he could invent on the spot, and they were bound to be brought to visit him sometime. Whether or not they would go was a different story altogether.

    The boy’s hand drifted to his pocket, where he kept the only other item he had spirited away from his home. Discreetly, he drew it out and angled his body so that the goons in front could not see, then stared solemnly down at the photographic version of his family that had been Malenion’s birthday present.

    The first person he noticed was Kalani. She was always at the forefront of his mind now, an integral part of the daily grieving ritual that he silently performed while he washed the dishes, swept floors and put away toys just as she used to. Her inordinately long, streaky brown hair was caught behind a headband, but the fringe was left to dust her forehead. Her eyes twinkled with the childlike nature she had always possessed, and something about the way she was smiling in this particular photo that uplifted him.

    In her arms was one of the twins. Rion thought it was probably Ryllee, but their hair had been arranged into identical styles, twin buns on the sides of their heads, for the occasion, and that made it harder to tell.

    His own photographic self stared back at him from the middle. He hated the way he usually looked in pictures due to his inability to smile at will, but this time some demure happiness showed through, likely from the sentiment of the day. He bit his lip in resentment and balled his fist, crumpling the paper viciously before stuffing it back in the sweater’s pocket. Even thoughts of him were painful right now.

    “We’re here!”

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

    “For the last time, I’m not insane!”

    “Yes, dearie, you are.”

    Malenion had not been long in the company of nursemaid Anna-Maria and he already hated her more than the devil himself. Determined that her newest patient should enjoy his stay, she had taken it upon herself to play tour guide. For four hours she’d skipped down the hospital halls, denoting important facilities with a merry grin as he followed unwillingly, trussed up in straightjacket and lead. He’d quickly grown sick of this, to the point where every one of his instincts urged him to clock his nurse. The few times he’d become somewhat stupid with rage and tried to do so had landed him flat on his face. Now he was forced to gaze upon her again, albeit with the added annoyance of cage bars between them.

    “Ma’am, I don’t wish to be rude, but I’m incredibly tired of your company and that phrase. I’m not insane. I did a terrible thing, and no one regrets it more than I. However, while it is debatable if I was in my right mind at that time, I am perfectly fine now!”

    “No, n-“

    She didn’t have time to finish her sentence before Malenion let out a savage wildcat snarl, baring his teeth. It was as effective as it would have been coming from a large predator, if not more so, and Anna-Maria took the hint. She ran down the hall, squealing as she stumbled in her pink plastic high heels and too-tight skirt.

    Rather dispirited, the former scientist turned to face his new living quarters. The first thing he clapped eyes on was a large queen-sized bed, covered in crisp white linens. It was a welcome sight, as it provoked the thought that he had not gotten a wink of sleep in more than two particularly stressful days. He walked up to it quite sedately, and then gratefully allowed himself to collapse face-down on the downy fabric.

    And then he heard a squeak.

    His scientific curiosity propelled him upright in an instant, ears pricked and eyes alert like a hunting dog. There was another squeal, and the man felt something twitch in the pocket at his side. He slipped a hand inside, but retracted it in alarm as a white blur rocketed out of it. Though he couldn’t for the life of him remember putting him in there, or fathom how he’d survived these past few days, the thing was unmistakable. Mus the lab rat was going to be keeping him company.

    Now there was just the small matter of catching him to worry about.

    “Mus!” Malenion hissed as he got down on hands and knees and peered under his new dresser. Sure enough, the mutant rat was quivering in the corner, nursing a swelling bump on his left flank with nervous haste. He squeaked loudly with displeasure as the man reached out to grab him, darting stealthily out to the middle of the room.

    “Get back here now!” he urged as he broke into an awkward trot, bent over as he tried in vain to apprehend the sneaky little mammal. Mus dodged his hands easily, though he was more confidant now, staying in full view, his furry cheeks twitching as if in silent amusement.

    “You’re a cheeky little rogue, aren’t you?” he said, raising his voice now as he swept his hand under his bed. The chase was on.

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

    “Thank you for coming, doctor. I wasn’t sure, you see, if we have the right to keep this one locked up. He keeps telling me he’s fine.”

    The doctor Anna-Maria had called in gave her a bemused sideways glance over his spectacles.

    “Oh, I know they all say that. But he’s been very persistent. Quite a good vocabulary, too. I was just wondering if you could re-evaluate him, he appears to be relatively stable-“

    She paused as she was greeted with the mingled sight and sound of Malenion’s frantic mouse-chase, though it was even worse from her position as she could see no mouse. He was very into it now, the off-kilter intensity with which his eyes shone as he upended the dresser without so much as glancing backwards making him appear quite mad indeed.

    “Losing your touch, Annie?"

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

    “Ri, I’m tired!” complained Rylune, tugging at her brother’s arm in her time-honored fashion. She wasn’t in the best of moods as it was- Felicity had sent her and Ryllee off to be bathed by what seemed to be the oldest, grouchiest housekeeper she could find- and it was an hour and a half past her usual bedtime. Frustrated and desperate to lie down, she readjusted her grip, lifted herself and simply hung off Rion’s limp arm.

    He noticed none of this.

    Rion knew how to take care of himself, generally, and the twins as well. He’d learned the value of self-sufficiency when he realized how much work two newborn babies would be for his mother, as good as a single parent most of the time. He could amuse himself, clean up, even cook a little, but he’d always taken it for granted that he’d be using these skills in his own home. With proper furniture. And equipment. And food.

    It became clear to him early on that Felicity had no intention of catering to them, or even laying eyes upon them more often than was necessary. He’d been given strict instructions to stay in the room they were to be given and keep his sisters there too, the only exception being when he went to get food (consisting mainly of crackers and peanut butter) from the kitchens. Even that trip was only to be allowed once a day. Rion was fine with that, figuring that if no one wanted to see them, no one would see the alterations that would be made to the rosebud-print curtains either.

    Apparently they didn’t deserve rosebud curtains, because they found themselves set up to live in attic.

    It wasn’t as if it was well-kept, even. If it had been, Rion might not have minded so much. As it was, there wasn’t so much floor space as there were mountains upon mountains of dusty, mangled boxes and assorted discarded objects. A horribly moldy smell perfumed the place, and Rion was quite sure he’d heard the telltale shuffling of bat wings.

    As he struggled to accept the hand fate had dealt him, he suddenly became aware that there were two young girls in a worse predicament than he. He should try his best to take of them, still, even now.

    Distractedly he scoured the room until he found a medium-sized trunk that wasn’t visibly inhabited by cockroaches. Hanging limply from between two heavy boxes were a couple of blankets. He tore them loose (disregarding the tumultuous crash that resulted) and proceeded to line the trunk with them. When he was reasonably sure they would be comfortable, he lowered Ryllee and Rylune into it. They were delighted at the idea of being allowed to sleep in an interesting place, as they had so often done without permission when they were bored.

    Rion lay down with naught but some scant bedding between him and the floor, his body curled protectively around the slumbering girls and their case. Whatever course of action he was supposed to take, it would surely be easier to think of in the morning.

  10. #10

    Default

    Sorry I didn't post before this.

    I don't have much to say about either of these chapters. Both chapters were good, but very short. Chapter 5 was good in terms of spelling and grammer, but really I think that the whole 'New and Evil Parent' thing is a bit overused. Oh well. Chapter 6 was quite good, if a little unimportant. You could have added so much more to the chapter. It served its purpose as a 'Link' Chapter, but it could be better.

    Mostly both the chapters were good, but had more potential.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Oh, that's okay! No rush, I'm just glad you're reading it at all.

    I rather agree with you that the "New and Evil Parent thing", as you call it, is overdone. This was another point that NA lobbied for aggressively; we agreed that the parental replacement couldn't be all that nice, but my concept was of a homophobic grandfather who was maybe a little too free with his tongue. He wouldn't have been "bad", persay, but he'd criticize Rion often for his doting demeanor, have an awkward way with the children, and just generally rub Rion very much the wrong way. I figured he'd toughen Rion up nicely, over time.

        Spoiler:- Involves Shades of Gray information:


    NA thought it was too dark.

    Also (and please don't take this as me getting defensive about your suggestions, because they're very helpful, and I really am just curious about this), what could've been added to these chapters? I usually feel much the same way you do about these chapters, as far as boredom goes. I procrastinate a day or two longer than usual when I have to do one.

    Anyways, I'm sad to report that you probably won't find this chapter all that eventful either; setting-up has to be done, though. In another two or so chapters, things'll be a lot more interesting (or at least they will if you know what you're looking for; a lot of hints).

    Chapter 7 (by Namines_Angel)


    Oh Malenion, happy birthday, another A RI? Lee-lee you are so cute, Luna, you silly goose! Kali, what is it, won’t you tell me? I want to know, honest, boy or girl?

    The memories of Rion’s loving parents flooded into his dreams, the sweet voice of his deceased mother and dumbfounded voice of his father that was currently in the loony bin. His family had been so well put together, so in sync, and now so broken. The harsh truth was that now Rion and his adorable sisters had no parents, so home of their own and not a cent to their name. Instead, Rion and his twin sisters were evicted from their home and brought to a devilish and freakishly clean house where they were forced to clean and live in a mouldy, cockroach-infested, dusty attic.

    “Get up, you stupid children!” Felicity’s screamed. Her voice didn’t register in Rion’s head. He was still in a deep slumber along with Rylune and Ryllee.
    “GET UP…GET UP…NOW!!!” Felicity yelled as a large wooden broomstick handle smacked the roof under the attic, between breaths. The thin floor between the children and the devil-re-incarnated was thin and startled Rion and the twins out of their sleep.

    “MOM?” Rion yelled, looking around the dingy attic, realizing that he was not where he thought he was and that his mom was still dead.

    “Ri? What is that noise?” Ryllee asked wiping the drool from her mouth and the sleep from her large brown eyes. Rion brought himself to his feet, caught his balance and wobbled over to the open suitcase where Luna and Lee-lee were sitting.

    “Rion, where’s daddy? Why is this lady so mean?” Luna asked starring cutely into the eyes of her big brother.

    “We are going to go see him, Luna, I promise,” Rion lied, he couldn’t bring himself to tell his sisters the truth, and he couldn’t tell him that their father, the only real family they had left, was doing time at a mental hospital for supposedly murdering their mother and two of his laboratory assistants. Rion couldn’t tell his sisters the truth about where they were and that the visit to their father may not ever happen, it seemed virtually impossible. With self-resentment, Rion picked up the twins one by on and opened the hatch to get down from the attic.

    “There you are, you evil brats, I called you like ten times, you will learn to come when I tell you,” Felicity said with a scowl on her face as she turned her back to the three children and walked down the never ending hallway to the 32-stair spiral staircase that lead to the enormous living room and the kitchen with personal chefs and all. Felicity was wearing a pastel green night dress and rollers in her brown hair.

    “Come on, it’s breakfast time.” she said, her voice echoing down the hall. All three children followed out of fear in a single file line, Rion then Ryllee and then Rylune.

    “Well then, now that you have taken up residence in my humble home, you will be required to complete some chores and learn the rules around here. Let’s see, oh yes, first, no eating in any room except the kitchen, no friends over, no making noise, do your chores and, let me stress, DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING UNLESS YOU ARE INSTRUCTED OTHERWISE!” she screamed, “Clear?”

    “Crystal,” Rion replied, nodding with anger

    “Peachy,” Felicity replied, oh yes and your first day of school is today,” she continued, “so eat some food and get your butts to the bus stop, is that clear?”

    “Yes sir... I mean maim,” the twins said, saluting Felicity.

    “Well aren’t you cute,” she replied, pinching their cheeks. Just as Rion thought that he wasn’t going to see her ugly face for another day, she turned around again and handed Rion three pieces of yellow paper,
    “These are your admittance papers; you are to report to the daycare center before class to drop of the twins and then go to the main office to sign yourself in. When you get home you are to do your chores, then your homework and then you are to be bathed, I have it all on a schedule that you will abide by, being printed as we speak by my butler, off you go, out the door now,” Felicity said, pushing the children out the door without breakfast. Their shoes and jackets followed.

    The yellow school bus arrived ten minutes later, right out in front of Felicity’s house. Rion, Rylune and Ryllee stepped on to the bus and were greeted by 35 confused faces.

    “Hey, you’re the new kids,” a random kid with black hair said in the front row. Others noticed that they were, in fact, new as well. A girl in one of the middle rows, who looked like she was the same age as the twins, invited them to sit with her. Rion was now alone as he drifted and jerked from the motion of the bus. He looked around. All seats were full except for one across from the random black haired kid and one two seats from the back beside a kid with blonde hair that looked to be Rion’s age. He wobbled back to the kid near the back, figuring that at least if he sat near the back he could keep an eye on his sisters and their new friend,

    “Hi, can I sit here?” he asked, trying not to look at the boy he was talking to. Rion never really wanted friends, although he had a few friends at his old school, he never wanted to draw any attention to himself and he did not want people to ask questions about him or his family. As far as he was concerned, no one needed to know what he had gone through and he most certainly did not want anyone to pity him.

    “Uh, ya,” the blonde haired boy grabbed his backpack and threw it on his lap, leaving Rion room to sit,

    “Thanks,” Rion said quietly, turning his attention to his sisters who were not playing hand games with their friend.

    “So, uh, are those your sisters?” the boy asked,

    “Ya, they’re twins, Ryllee and Rylune,” Rion answered, pointing to the twins.

    “Cool, uh so what’s your name?” the boy asked,

    “Rion,” he replied quietly still, not really paying attention to the conversation,

    “Nice, I’m Roxas by the way,” he said, running his large hands through his spiky blonde hair. He was wearing dark jeans, a beige t-shirt and a zip-up black leather jacket with a checkered bracelet and two rings (black and white) on his left hand. Rion was impressed with his sense of style. Rion glanced over at Roxas and smiled. Roxas’s eyes were a very intense blue, his nose small, almost the opposite of Rion.

    “So uh, where’d ya move from?” Roxas asked, trying to strike up casual conversation,

    “Uh nowhere,” Rion replied simply,

    “Ok, so nice house you have there, let me guess, parents lawyers?”

    “No, dad’s a scientist, you could say and my mom… well,” Rion broke off,

    “Ah, I see, mom never home huh, my mom and dad aren’t home ever either,”

    “Oh, uh that’s nice,” Rion concentrated on his sisters again,

    “Well here it is Twilight Town Public School, home of the troopers!” Roxas exclaimed, breaking the awkward silence, “come on Rion.”

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

    “Hanna, this is my big brother Rion, Ri this is our new friend Hanna,” Ryllee said excitedly,

    “Our first friend, can you believe it? Who’s this?” Luna asked starring at Roxas with her twinkling eyes.

    “Uh this is Roxas,” he replied.

    The group of newly-acquainted friends stepped off the bus one-by-one and up the steps to their school, which looked as if it was built during the Stone Age. Bricks were missing and there were cracks all over the walls. The inside wasn’t much better. Some of the tiles were missing, the lockers were rusty and the glass in some of the doors was cracked.

    “Uh, I gotta go to the daycare center, Roxas, ya know where that is?” Rion asked, hands in pockets,

    “Ya, I’ll take you there,” Roxas led them down the main hallway, took a left and then a right until they reached a sign that read,

    Twilight Town Childcare Center

    Rion walked the girls and Hanna in and gave the snaggle-toothed lady at the front desk the yellow papers from Felicity. Roxas and Rion headed back out the door, back to the main hall and into the office. Rion signed himself in, got his schedule, and figured out that Roxas was in his class. Their class room was number 201, on the second floor of the school. The two friends walked into the room and took their seats at the back (Roxas said they were the best seats in the house).

    “Good morning class,” the teacher said,

    “We have a new student with us today, Rion Dawson? Where are you Rion?” Rion raised his hand. All at once, 31 eyes were on Rion, studying his appearance,

    “Look at how fat he is,” on girl with brown hair chuckled,

    “His eyes are gray, that’s a stupid eye colour,” another girl exclaimed. Almost everyone in the room had something to say about Rion except for Roxas, of course and another girl, sitting in the corner. She was wearing a blue and gray checkered dress and a puffy white blouse underneath. Her name was Ariana and Rion knew that that funny feeling inside, the butterflies were there because of her.




    Looking back at this, I see definite echos of Harry Potter.
    Last edited by Autumn_Memories; 13th December 2008 at 4:21 AM.

  12. #12

    Default

    Yeah, I see what you mean about the whole 'Harry Potter' thing.

        Spoiler:- Contains Spoilers of the story:


    I'll post a bit more later, there's something i need to attend to right now.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    I'm not gonna reply to your comment like I usually do... because I know I'll give too much away. XD

    So, next chapter! Oh, how I dislike the middle portion... any and all romance scenes I write should be thrown at the bottom of a deep, dark trash can.

    Chapter 8

    Rion found himself queued up in the school’s cafeteria line before he knew it, not entirely sure how he had gotten there. It was all he could do to keep his feet moving in his trance-like state, shuffling his feet nervously when he noticed the glares he was getting from those unfortunate students behind him. Thrice he had taken a few minutes to clue in to the fact that there was a gap in front of him. He wondered why people didn’t simply cut in front of him; he wouldn’t have minded. Then he knew. They were afraid of him. Not enough to forgo their midday chocolate and fries, but certainly enough not to risk crossing him.

    Everyone seemed to fear him, here. At home, people were a little removed from him, but they accepted him, having grown up with him. He was just the big quiet guy, not important enough to really befriend, but not a threat either. He just was. Nobody knew him here, and somehow they seemed to be smaller, shorter. It made no sense. He wasn’t very far from his old house now, probably within walking distance, but it seemed he had encountered a new race of people. He’d only seen a handful of people tall enough to look him in the eye, and none were teachers. He was wider than any of them by far, enough for them to have given him two lockers to himself to keep him out of other people’s way. Not fat, though, whatever that girl had said. The girls were the worst, actually, all of them gathering together to titter with gossip and condescension that was plainly audible and clearly directed at him.

    But not her. She was pretty much the reason he was so absent-minded today. He was completely wrapped up in making a good impression on her, obsessively cautious about intimidating her. Ariana was her name, that was what Roxas had told him. She had a heart. She was friends with the gossipers, apparently, but if not told he never would have guessed it. She wasn’t participating in the heated discussion across the room, she was frowning at it. And smiling at him. Oh, he did like it when she smiled at him, and she made an effort to every time she him looking at her. A bittersweet pleasure; it was a tough call as to whether the overwhelming contentedness or smoldering embarrassment that washed over him with each stolen grin was stronger.

    He was in front of the sullen-faced cafeteria lady now, glowering at him and brandishing a brimming ladleful of sickly orange soup. A fair amount slopped over the edge and splattered spectacularly onto the countertop, but the lady was unconcerned. “You want this or not?” Her voice was like a bear’s growl.

    Suddenly he became aware of the fact that, being that she either did not care or was even somewhat partial to the idea of him with hunger pains, Felicity had not given him any money. More likely the latter. He wasn’t sure what to do at this point. He was always so careful not to get into situations like this. No matter. They thought he was a freak anyway. He shook his head noncommittally, though with the vigor of a shaking dog. The lady returned the soup to its heating dish with no uncertain fury.

    “Rion!” he heard someone call, a blessed friendly invitation in an openly unfriendly place. Already at least one delegate from each table was already giving him a bizarre version of the evil eye, tempered only slightly by fear. Roxas was waving him over.

    He sat down somewhat gingerly on the rickety bench, and winced as it sure enough creaked and dropped an inch or so under his weight. He had always required his own separate chair at his old school, and whatever his complaints at the time he would have given quite a bit to have it back. The people occupying the rest of the bench didn’t seem to mind that much, though, and invited him with smiles warmer than he had seen all day.

    “This is Hayner,” Roxas began introductions, starting directly next to himself. The boy was impish-looking, with bright brown eyes that hinted at what he might like to do the instant the final bell rang. Nothing generally accepted in society, he was sure. His blond hair was gelled in such a fashion that it looked as though lightning had struck it, and his short gray-green vest, grungy black muscle shirt and camouflage pants gave him a distinctly rebellious look. “Olette,” he continued, gesturing to the girl across from them. Green eyes looked out at him inquisitively, and he recoiled a little, afraid. In his experience, girls other than his little sisters weren’t fond of him. But she laughed softly when he did, losing none of the warmth that surrounded her. Maybe she was nice, after all. Her printed orange tank top was certainly more modest than other garments he had seen around the building that morning. It seemed odd to judge her by what she wore, but that appeared to be how girls did things. Perhaps that was how they intended other people to do them, too. “And of course, Pence,” he finished. The last table occupant was heavyset, nearing his own size, and grinning contentedly at him through bites of ice cream from his rapidly melting bar. He wore a bizarre blue bandana about his neck, and an alarmingly large mop of black hair seemed to sprout like a houseplant out of the thick, sturdy wrap of fabric keeping it in place.

    “Hi!” they chorused in unison, as inviting as could be.

    “Hi,” he muttered back, sounding fully hesitant and as though answering was a painful obligation.

    It wasn’t entirely his fault. True, some, maybe even most, of it was intentional. But the way he had been treated all day made him wary of this good-natured-ness. Nobody was this kind to a stranger that sidled in next to them one day. In his current mood, it was unimaginable. That left only one possibility that he could see. Roxas had asked them to be nice to him! Well, he wouldn’t take their new-kid pity. He wouldn’t throw it back in their faces, but he wouldn’t take it.

    “So… we hear your little sisters go to the daycare next door,” said Olette lightly after a considerable silence. “Ari and I volunteer there sometimes, after school, it’s really-“

    “Ari?” he said suddenly, and everyone jumped. He had forgotten how loud his voice could be, but something very exciting had occurred to him.

    “As in Ariana,” she continued shakily, still taken aback.

    “She’s Olette’s cousin,” said Roxas with a knowing grin. Just how he knew still bothered Rion. He hadn’t even brought her up, but somehow immediately after class Roxas was aware that thoughts Ariana had come to take him over so completely. Perhaps he was being too obvious.

    “Yeah, and we go help with the kids, they’re so cute…”

    ***

    “You really like her, don’t you?” said Roxas softly, observing the scene before him with much amusement. Their afternoon science class was missing a teacher, for the present, and everyone had begun to do whatever they pleased. Other people had taken to finishing their lunches, or perhaps throwing the remnants at unlucky targets, or writing rude messages on the blackboard with juvenile delight. Ariana, stockinged legs crossed delicately, had taken out her pencil case and begun to doodle, in bright, pure color, a mockingbird, perfect to the last tiny detail. She hummed while she worked, a lilting musical tune that had an air of familiarity about it while also sounding completely made up. Rion watched her, wide-eyed, from behind, so captivated he could only nod.

    “Well, good luck,” he commented, hurriedly taking out his binder as the sound of hard-soled shoes clattered down the hallway outside. “You have to talk to her to ask her out. She doesn’t talk that much herself, either.”

    Rion gave a start. Ask her out? What? He couldn’t do that! He’d never the leave the twins alone, at that horrible woman’s mercy. The thought hadn’t even crossed his mind. Although now that it did, it seemed quite appealing. Who knew? Perhaps she was the type who wouldn’t mind if he brought them along.

    The sound of chalk scraping alerted him to the fact that his new science teacher was in the room. A man of average height, with wings of longish brown-gray hair flying about his head, stood busily writing the day’s assignments, long white lab coat swirling gracefully as he twisted back to consult the textbook. Rion just watched him for a while, but on the third twist or so, he noticed him.

    “Ah, I have a new student!” he remarked grandiosely. “What is your name, young man?”

    “Rion,” he answered. “Rion… Gray.” He couldn’t use that other name.

    “I don’t have papers for a Rion Gray,” said his teacher as he ruffled through his file folder, “but there’s a Rion Dawson in here…”

    “That’s right, I guess.”

    It was a strange thing to say, but though the man’s eyes twinkled almost greedily, he made no comment. “Well then, you seem to have chosen a seat. That’s fine by me, but if you could take out your textbook-“

    “He doesn’t have one, sir,” called Roxas from beside him. The teacher looked quite ready to reprimand him for speaking without his hand up, but he whipped it up just in time, smiling sheepishly. “Sorry.”

    “Quite right, Roxas, thank you,” he continued, apparently appeased. “He can share with you then, for today.” He tapped at the board with a pointer he seemed to have procured from nowhere, a wordless cue that suggested they follow the instructions scribed upon it. “By the way, my name is,” he announced as he scrawled matching words next to page numbers, all in stately flowing script, “Professor Sigil.”

    “Professor?” he muttered questioningly to Roxas. “Shouldn’t that be Mr. Sigil?”

    “Normally, it would be, but he actually is a professor. Used to teach at some big university or something. I’m not really sure what it was, but the staff loves it. They’d die if he ever quit.”

    Rion looked inconspicuously over the rings of his notebook at the man in front of him. He reminded him uncomfortably of someone he would have preferred to have forgotten, and goodness knew that person had never gotten anywhere. At least, he didn’t think his father had done anything relevant. Malenion hadn’t often said anything overly understandable or coherent when discussing his work. He frowned; had he not just made a point of not mentioning his name?

    Suddenly all of his upset was gone. Ariana was in front of him, wanting to borrow his pencil sharpener. He regrettably didn’t have one, but the effect was the same. He was completely happy as he settled down to his work.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Chapter 9 (by Namines_Angel)

    The twins were overjoyed to see their big brother standing in the doorway of their daycare center,

    “Ri, hey we have so, so much to tell you, where to start, this is Ari…” Rylune was cut off by the deep voice of their confused brother, he finished her sentence,

    “Ana, I know, uh, she’s in my science class,” Rion shied away like a dog to a new person. He had never talked to her face to face before this moment. Rion had planned this in his head, the perfect conversation between him and Ariana,

    Hey, ya the name’s Rion, I know this is short notice but ya wanna go to the movies or something this weekend? Great pick you up at 7,

    This was the fantasy that Rion knew, could never, in one million years, could ever happen. First of all, even if he wanted to ask her out, as Roxas had given him the advice to do, he couldn’t because he wasn’t at all skilled in the area of girls, especially a girl this beautiful, and second, he couldn’t leave the twins with the devil at home, what if something happened? Then it registered, Ariana had been standing around for about three minutes without as much as an acknowledgement. Quick, say something, anything, a grunt, an OK, something, anything,

    “Uh doahg fjhosogh,” CRAP! Stupid, what was that? Gibberish? Great now she thinks I am fat and stupid, Rion said in his head. He was now, frantically trying to find something, more human-like to say. Say something Ariana, please. It was what Rion always feared, an awkward silence,

    “So, uh, your sisters are really cute, Rion. I love hanging out with them. Oh, you are probably wondering why I’m even here, well--”

    “I know, you volunteer here right? And Olette is your cousin,” Rion finished.

    He had to tough it out and subtly let her know that he wasn’t as much of an idiot as he came across to be. He needed to say something smart. Something to let her know that he was interested enough to care but not too interested to make her feel as if he was a creepy stocker.

    In Rion’s opinion, he handled his self extremely well, thinking about it on the long walk home from school. During that huge thing with Ariana, he had forgotten that the bus left promptly 15 minutes after school ended. He was now forced to walk home, one twin in each hand, blabbering on about their day at the daycare center and about Ari and Olette and forcing Rion to recount for his first day at school. He was glad that the twins weren’t disliked or feared as Rion was at school. He was also thankful that they had friends, got along with everyone and were not interrogated at every chance their classmates got. After 45 minutes of shuffling his feet and hearing about the twin’s awesome day in the hot, 30 degree weather, they had finally reached what was, unfortunately, their permanent home, the Felicity Manor. The three children entered the house without a knock, kicked off their shoes at the door and slammed it shut behind them, signalling the witch herself to come running to the door.

    “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!!!? YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE HOME AN HOUR AGO!!!” Felicity’s anger shot through the house, echoing down the many empty corridors,

    “Were sorry but,” Ryllee was cut off by a silencing sputter,

    “No buts about it, you were supposed to be home right at 3:30pm and it is now quarter to five, I expect you to be home when I tell you to and so from now on, my chauffeur will pick you up from school so you can be here to start your chores on time so that they will be done for dinner. Because of your tardiness I am forced to make you do your chores straight through supper this evening, I don’t want to hear another word from any of your mouths, here is your list, there are 40 chores for you to do each, and they are set matching your physical strengths, now off you go!” Felicity threw their chore charts at the children and trudged off into the study to finish reading her romantic drama novel. Rion, Lee-lee and Luna examined their chores and mouths opened wide when they saw what the evil witch was going to make them do. Rylune’s first chore was to scrub the toilets which were scattered throughout the gigantic mansion not to mention gross. Ryllee had to do dishes, which between the 20 butlers, chauffeurs and Felicity were towered in the kitchen. Rion had to clean the basement, the dusty, old, spooky basement. He had to organize boxes, vacuum and clean cobwebs from corners of the room which obviously hadn’t been touched since the 18th century. How was this fair? Felicity had many butlers. Why couldn’t any others do this job or at least offer help.

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

    It was about nine at night before they had completed their chores. All were tired and it seemed as if every bone in their bodies was about to cave in and leave them in a heap on the floor. Rion carried the twins from one of the many second floor bathrooms, up the ladder to their comfy open suitcases in the attic. He placed them carefully into their beds and tucked them in before collapsing himself. He didn’t know how much more of this abuse he could take, or put his sisters through. Enough was enough.


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

    “What’s shaken SPAZ?!” a raspy voice teased. Xigbar laughed at the long haired, young man sitting across from him in their all-too-familiar haven. The Organization throne room sparkled with pearly white walls and chairs that seemed to be suspended on the walls. 17 chairs lined the walls, 16 dark figures, all cloaked, except for their grins.

    “Xigbar you clown. If you call me a spaz one more time I will rip your head off!” Saïx laughed psychotically but was joined by another, more psychotic giggle. A slim, black haired member lowered her hood. Zedexari pulled her meter long low pigtails out from in her hood. Her violet eyes twinkled in the dim light of the room. She scanned the room, examining all the other members who now had lowered their hoods. Xemnas was the boss, in charge of all of the Organization’s affairs. Next was Xigbar who had fine skin, dark eyes and long black and slightly gray hair tied back. After him sat a young man by the name of Ferrex. His hair was in a crest shape with random pieces hanging out at the sides. He wasn’t smart at all, though he did make it a point to be that way. He had ginger hair and deep green eyes. Beside him were Vexen; long blonde hair and large spectacles covering his large green eyes. Next was Jexellei, batting her enormous eyes at Ferrex. She was very optimistic, a nice comment to say about everyone and also very flirtatious. Her cotton candy pink eyes wandered over to Xemnas and back to Ferrex. Her hair was honey-brown; looking like a beach ball was melded into her head. She had a very unique style as well. Her cloak parted just above her knees so all of her knee-high, zips up, high-heel boots were visible. Zexion sat isolated to the rest of the group near the three empty chairs. He had grey hair, unusual for a young member, and a hair cut that blocked his relatively small eyes. Marjarax sat above him. He had a large build, black hair (just to the shoulders) with silver tips and large emerald green eyes. The last of them was Lexaeus. He was the biggest and arguably the most aggressive looking with spiky, fire-like hair, piercing blue eyes and permanent frown. They all sat mingling with one another, awaiting their next instructions (reeking havoc on the worlds, causing mischief and collecting new members).

    “Who’s next?” Lexaeus asked in a deep voice. They were all getting restless, even Jexellei (miss positively),

    “Ya there’s only so much of this lazy stuff a man can take ya know? I need to cause some trouble, show off these muscles of mine!” Ferrex said, flexing his almost none existent biceps,

    “Shhhh, ya right,” Jexellei giggled, “I don’t mean to be rude but your ‘muscles’ as you call them are not that big!” she winked.

    “I wouldn’t mind some ACTION!” Zedexari yelled, laughing like a hyena once again. Xemnas had enough. He whistled to silence the group,

    “You’ll get your action, all in good time.”

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Sorry about not posting for a while; my computer wasn't recognizing the network it was connected to, so no Internet.

    Chapter 10


    The instant the sun had risen high enough to peer through his pitiful little window, Malenion was awake, watching it complacently. He couldn’t risk Anna-Maria coming in and waking him herself. She could, in theory, but she hadn’t tried yet; she didn’t dare.

    Malenion had been giving her a rather hard time, if he did say so himself, and was pleased every minute of it. If she said to walk, he stood there stubbornly despite being dragged. If she asked a question, he babbled incoherently. If she said to be calm, he threw a fit the likes of which the Twilight Town Mental Institution had never seen, screaming and convulsing on the floor and making the biggest possible scene while she stood there, flabbergasted. He didn’t care that he looked like an idiot. After all, who was there to see? And the effect was so satisfying. It never occurred to the nursemaid to simply tell him to do the opposite of what she wanted. That would involve seeing him as a human, with independent thought and everything.

    Her behavior was hardly human itself, he thought. She was programmed to think about her patients a certain way, and now would not veer from that path if she saw the Grim Reaper staring her in the eye at the end of it. Very primeval, almost… animalistic. A very interesting potential case study, he considered absently. He had a desk, paper, and even some sort of absurdly thick crayons in an array of virulent colors that offended even his limited sensibilities. He supposed they were to be used for some sort of juvenile scribbling, but they could take scientific notes just as easily as far as he was concerned. Although, there was his other case to consider.

    He sauntered up to the door on cautious toes, and once he could see the outside of his room well enough to know that no one was immediately coming, the drawer of his wardrobe was removed and set on his massive, squishy mattress top. There in a corner, munching a tidbit in a fashion that made his small tufted shoulderblades wiggle comically, was Mus. He gave a high-pitched squeak at the sudden rush of light, but the fact that Malenion reached in and abruptly seized him around the middle didn’t seem to bother him.

    “Oh, you treacherous little beast,” he snarled threateningly as he shoved the rodent at the drawer’s walls. One was nearly eaten away, the wood so thinned that the light filtered through it minutely. The whole surface was covered in tiny tooth marks. “Do you suppose they won’t know there’s a rat in here when they see that? I’ll be lucky if they don’t find you without you leaving a perfect trail for them to follow!” Mus squirmed uncomfortably in his grip, flailing his forked tail like a whiplash, and he realized that the force with which he was holding the tiny animal would have been sufficient to hold a human child. Guiltily Malenion released him, and he flowed onto the bedsheets below, curiously staying in plain sight. “I can’t afford to lose you, you know,” he said, stroking the rat’s head with a thumb. “I’d go insane, I know it.”

    A flicker of movement by the door caught his eye, and suddenly he was very glad of the color scheme of his room. Anna-Maria was at the door, peering in seedily, no doubt on tiptoes despite those encumbering high heels, but Mus was so small and well camouflaged that she probably had no notion he was there. No reason to take a chance, though; resignedly he walked to his wardrobe and looked sullenly at the array of straightjackets neatly folded in its depths. He extracted one and, holding it as though it emitted vile radiation, brought it meekly to the door without comment of complaint. He had long since found that if he wanted to keep even this tiny corner of sanctuary to himself, he had to be the perfect patient until outside confines.

    “Ah, thank you, dearie,” the nursemaid breathed as he traipsed out into the hall, relief plain on her face. It could have a violent temper, this fictional alter ego of his, and had left her with more than one scarred mark on her plump, wrinkly hands. She had taken to wearing white surgical gloves to conceal the marks, which would have been more than sufficient to have her demoted to less difficult cases, but everyone seemed to know. Malenion’s displays were very public, and half the time ended with him ripping the gloves off anyway. “Come now.”

    He was trussed up in short order, and the lead that the woman had used since day one clipped on to it. His straitjackets had received an upgrade since his last tantrum, apparently. His hips were now bound tightly, and a good portion of thigh as well, reducing his mobility. He tried to move his right leg; it advanced only a centimeter or two, and no matter his efforts the other would not join it. But Anna-Maria was halfway down the hall already, and the leash’s length grew short. He was forced to hop-skip forward, and surrender his last semblance of control with gritted teeth.

    “Here we are,” she trilled joyously as they came to a door exactly identical to the one they’d just left. It was remarkable, the very idea that she could find her way around this place. He thought it might be the entrance to the bathroom, which was more than confusing, but it swung open to reveal the establishment’s cafeteria, to his great relief. He normally ate in his room, but perhaps they thought him civilized enough to eat with people at long last.

    It was quiet enough for a room so vast, even now when it was full to bursting with the oddest assortment of people. The predominant fashion was straightjackets, even more elaborately buckled than Malenion’s own in most cases, but one man’s neckline was stuffed indulgently full of fluffily synthetic yellow plumes. That one traipsed about with jerky, yet somehow fluid motions, mimicking a chicken with commendable results. A wild screech, startling at first but more and more grating when it came again and again, seeming not to want to leave the room, he traced to a young woman on the far side of the room. She sat stiffly on her seat, picking at her bonds with wide eyes and seeming almost normal until, inevitably, she threw her head back and the noise resurfaced again. Shouted protests of “I’m tired!” were a favorite too, from a seedy looking man at the back. And through it all, each had their very own attendant, valiantly clutching their leash.

    “We’ll be trying something new today,” she muttered off-handedly as she picked her way across the floor. She had a spot already picked out, and swooped down on it like a vulture. Mercifully, she seemed not to be aiming to torture him. The table was nearly deserted. However, a quick glance around assured him that his nursemaid was as much a delegate of Satan as she had ever been. One of the few occupants was a slight young man, chestnut hair in virulent disarray, bent over his food in a way that suggested he had no spinal cord. His attendant was apparently dead-set on feeding him, from the way she scooped the salad furiously into his mouth, but it was an action very obviously in vain. His head lolled about, his tongue rolled slowly and methodically, but the only result appeared to be a sickly slimy mash of vegetable that oozed from the corners of his mouth. The sight turned Malenion’s stomach to the point of dry-heaving, and that sensation paled compared to what slapped him across the face like a whiplash when the vacant, staring eyes met his own. So this was to be his therapy, was it?

    It was time for a temper tantrum.

    ***

    Dark thoughts ran through Rion’s head with a vengeance, suggestions and mutterings that would have been appalling to him had he not just spent three hours in the screechy company of Felicity. Guests had been over, and it seemed that no matter her revulsion over children, they were most certainly a thing that guests would appreciate. So stuffed into the sitting room that had theretofore been forbidden on pain of death and force-fed honey-drenched tea and chalky crumpets until they were fit to burst out of their tiny hoopskirts were the twins, who had not yet lost the novelty of being small and sweet. They had scowled menacingly out from under teased ringlets the entire time, and being called pouty as a result had done nothing to improve their sourness. Felicity had given them an earful afterwards, and fear for their safety was the main reason they were out of the house just then. Rion, of course, was too big and brutish to be made a pet of, and so had been made a “serviceable butler” for the afternoon. His inability to bring the massive iced cake that towered over the wait staff in single-handedly had won him far worse reprimands than his sisters; actual death threats were pouring down on his head in torrents.

    The playground was a charming little place, very well kept up considering the lack of children in the area. Of course, being that the chauffeured trip to school and back was the only reason for which they were ever let out, there might be an underground child-city in the surrounding forest for all he knew. Whatever the reason, it was a marvelous coincidence that it existed just now. It was an ideal hideout, considering that the person being hidden from was unlikely to know of a place of such juvenile whimsy. The twins rushed laughing to the shiny metal carousel, their very favorite piece of equipment, the instant Rion let go of them. It was likely not going to have a desirable effect on their condition at that moment, brimming with food as they were, but their brother suspected any food Felicity provided would do more good as discarded sidewalk puke than digested nutrition. Rion himself headed for a bench. Sitting down would do him some good.

    Eventually the two girls bored of twirling round and round, and opted for the swing set. The afternoon sun had receded a bit, fading the pure light into vivid citrus glows. The sun was the purest orange right then, and Rion was captivated. It wasn’t such a horrible world after all, or at least it wouldn’t be when they finally disposed of their new caretaker. It wasn’t even that bad an area, with the huge flat expanse dotted with shrubs all alight with fire. There would always be beautiful things in the world, like this sunset, or the ocean, or- Rion drew in breath sharply as he realized just what it was he was looking at.

    Ariana was approaching him, waltzing forward as if from a dream. Her steps were so light, they didn’t displace a single blade of grass, but it seemed to part for her anyway. The whole world seemed to part, the trees lining the pathway suddenly becoming unmistakably heart-shaped overhead. He was on cloud nine, and that was all he needed to decide on a quick getaway.

    “Come on, we’ve got to go now,” he said anxiously to Ryllee, lumbering out onto the playground. She blinked at him questioningly, then seemed to disregard him and slid laughing down the metal slide. He snatched her up before her tiny green running shoes could hit the sand.

    “Why, Rion?” asked Rylune, poking her head out from the plastic dome at the summit. “It’s fun!”

    “I know why,” said Ryllee from under his arm. A sly grin painted her child’s face, and looked surprisingly right there. “There’s a girl coming!”

    “That’s not a girl,” answered her twin from her perch. “It’s Ari!”

    Delighted squeals erupted from the two girls, and Ryllee began flailing her limbs about as though she wanted to take off in flight. He had no choice but to let her go; Rylune was halfway to her, anyway. There could be no avoiding it. He would have to talk to her. Surely the night could not go any worse.

    At next glance Ariana had a twin dangling from each arm, holding her hands with very forward enthusiasm. She smiled sweetly down at them, putting up a good show if she did not really enjoy it, but Rion had no doubt that she did. Snatches of conversation were becoming clearer now. “…really great, Luna. I love dollies.” Her voice made him want to cry; it was the embodiment of everything good and pure. She knelt down, careless of the imminent grass stains on her white skirt, and following their orders gave them a huge hug. She was promptly dragged across the grounds again, coming closer and closer.

    “Ariana, look,” said Rylune with forced innocence.

    “It’s our brother!” finished Ryllee.

    “Talk to him!” they chimed together, and ran off screaming to greet the little boy that seemed to have appeared from thin air.

    They stood awkwardly for a few minutes, saying nothing. Ariana shifted a little, and then backed towards the bench as if to suggest sitting on it. There was a magnolia tree behind it that he hadn’t even noticed before, and the pink-hued blossoms leaned down to brush her head. Her hair was that perfect shade of nut-brown, so familiar, though he could not identify exactly why. He knew magnolias would always remind him of this, now.

    “They’re adorable, aren’t they?” she murmured vacantly, looking off to the distant form of the playground. The little boy seemed to have become properly acquainted with the twins now, dangling down the slide by ankles each clutched in a little girl’s fist. Without even thinking, he made a noise, one the twins would have recognized as disapproving. Her eyes snapped onto him, and he suddenly found himself wishing that he could run headlong into a brick wall.

    “I, I,” he stammered as words slipped out of his grasp. Her eyes were so beautifully gray-brown!

    “You know Rion, you’re strange.” He winced. That couldn’t be good. She adjusted her tone slightly. “It’s a battle to coax more than a word or two out of you, and the ones that do come out aren’t that impressive, to be honest.” She blinked her long lashes in sympathy. “But I can’t help but feel that there’s a lot more hidden inside.”

    He was alarmed, and the world was spinning, and he couldn’t possibly say anything. But it didn’t matter, because when the haze cleared, she was gone.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Chapter 11... I could've sworn I told NA to rework this. She hasn't, and Im somewhat tempted to do it for her, but I'm going to leave it be. Just note that it is cringe-worthy in some parts.

    Chapter 11 (by Namines_Angel)


    “Ri, how was it? What’d she say to you?” Ryllee stared up at her big brother with her glittering eyes. Rylune was tugging on his shirt from the other side, tugging Rion’s upper body down every time.

    “She thinks I’m a freak, Lee. Now will you stop? Both of you?” Rion took his sister’s hands off of his, extremely stretched t-shirt and continued to walk, tucking his large hands in his jean pockets as he went. Ryllee and Rylune paused for a brief moment in shock, looked at each other, grew excited again and raced after their brother.

    “She does not hate you Rion. She was flirting with you. That’s what girls do, your pathetic Ri,” they joked, speeding to keep up with Rion.

    “Since when did you guys become experts in girls huh?” he laughed.

    “Since we started hanging with Ari. She talks about you a lot you know,” Rylune said, in an excited tone,

    “No she doesn’t, you guys are full of it,” Rion mumbled as if he was thinking of something,

    “We know that face. Your thinking of Ari aren’t you? Huh? Huh?” Lee-lee and Luna asked in sync. Rion zoned out. He was thinking of Ariana’s hair against the flowers at the playground. He thought of her voice. The way she enunciated every word, the way she dotted her “I” s with little circles. He remembered every word they had said to each other. He remembered how beautiful she was, everything about her was beautiful, everything.

    By the time Rion had cleared his thoughts, the twins were sitting on the steps of the mansion, watching their brother pace up and down the walkway. He shook his head and watched as the twins tilted their heads cutely in confusion before finally taking them by the hand and walking inside. It had become dark outside by now. There were no lights on in the main section of the mansion either, making for a pitch-black hallway. Rion had decided to sneak some leftover dinner from the fridge for the three of them. The kitchen was deserted, the chefs gone home to their Felicity-free houses. The only person to worry about was the devil herself and she was happily singing in the second-floor shower. Rion opened the industrial-sized fridge and retrieved leftover Filet Mignon and fresh green beans. The twins ran off to get plates and returned with three plates, three forks and one knife (Rion was expected to cut up their meat for them),

    “Set the table please,” Rion asked, pointing to the large, dining table where the chefs usually ate in the next room. The twins obeyed, skipping with the utensils and plates to the table. They slid into their seats and tucked a cloth napkin into their shirts. Rion sped in minutes later with three slices of meat and a bowl of vegetables. He separated them into individual portions and they feasted as if they hadn’t been fed a decent meal in days,
    which was true. They had been too busy with chores to eat. Rion tasted the beans. He savored the taste for he knew that it would be a long time before he was going to get them again. The beans reminded him of his mom, a lot of things did. He remembered the last time he had eaten fresh green beans. Kalani used to cook them for the family after insisting that Rion go and pluck them from the small vegetable garden at the side of their house and then mashing them up for the twins to eat.

    After their meals were finished, they had to cover up their mess so that Felicity wouldn’t find out what they had done. She never ate the leftovers of her meals. She always wanted her meals to be fresh so that was easy enough to cover. They washed the dishes and put them away in the same place as they found them and threw their napkins into the bottom of the next load of laundry. They even wiped down the counters and table or else the devil would have them doing double chore duty for a month.

    Rion had carried the twins to bed safely without waking the, now snoring Felicity. Ryllee and Rylune were now snuggled up in their bed and Rion was lying on his bed, staring at the ceiling. What would he say to Ariana tomorrow? She called him weird but he couldn’t stay away, he just couldn’t.

    The next day at school, Rion dropped the twins off with the snaggle tooth lady at the daycare and proceeded to his locker to grab his books for his first class when he was stopped by Roxas,

    “Hey retard, let’s skip today. This school’s overrated. What-do-ya-say?” Roxas smiled widely, hoping that Rion would say yes, permitting him to miss a math test.

    “Wouldn’t your parents freak if they got a call saying that you missed class?” Rion wondered, hoping that he would agree and they would walk off to class and see Ariana.

    “No, ya kiddin? There never home, they wouldn’t care,” he replied, taking Rion’s textbooks from his hand and putting them back in his locker. The two boys slammed the door to Rion’s locker shut and retraced their steps out the door into the blazing, summer sun. The sidewalks were deserted and it took Rion a few minutes to figure out that he did not know where they were headed. He didn’t really care. Roxas was adventurous, but not stupid, Rion trusted him as long as they were back in time to pick up the girls from daycare and hopefully run into Ariana.

    Soon Rion and Roxas were in the Twilight Town square, a familiar place for Rion, considering that his former home was but a block from here. Malenion`s laboratory was close too. Rion hadn’t visited since his mother’s death. There was a clock tower that towered over the city and that could be seen miles away. There used to be a tenant of the tower but now it was deserted, except for a maintenance worker that keeps the tower in working order. Roxas tapped Rion on the shoulder, shaking him out of another trance to
    ask him if he wanted Sea Salt ice cream. Rion looked confused but nodded,

    “As long as it won’t make me sick,” he joked without making eye contact, focusing on the tower,

    “You read my mind,” Roxas said, after returning from an ice cream parlour at the end of the square,

    “We are gonna go up there?” he asked in shock,

    “Ya what-did-ya-think, are you chicken Ri?” Roxas asked, making the motion as he ran towards the opening. The tower was the farthest from a traditional looking tower. There were two clocks, a smaller one on the roof and the main one on the base. The tower was mostly beige with ornate designs and points to make it unique to Twilight Town. Travellers came from all around just to get a glimpse of this magnificent sight but Rion had bad feelings of doing the impossible, climbing to the top. There had been rumours that followed many school children, even at Rion’s old school about a ghost that haunted the tower. Now Rion, being the person that he was and knowing what he knew, wasn’t one that should be afraid of things like this but even still, he was scared to journey up there, into the unknown.

    Rion followed Roxas into the tower (after deciding that this would be a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity) and started up one of about a million, chipped, concrete steps. Just for fun Roxas started to yell “echo” up the spiral staircase to hear the sound when his “echo” actually echoed. Rion followed along because it seemed that he was having fun. Before they knew it, they had reached the top of the staircase and were now looking out over Twilight Town in the middle of the day. Rion ran out to the balcony and gazed out at the world that he had only known from the ground up, not the “up” down. He looked up at two sets of golden bells that slightly swayed in the wind. Rion looked back at Roxas who was now standing near the edge with his eyes closed, allowing the breeze to run it’s fingers through his spiked, blonde hair. Rion smiled, truly for the first time in a long time then laughed at all the people that couldn’t see what he was. He felt safe up here, as if he was on top of the world and as if nothing could touch him. Roxas tapped him on his shoulder,

    “Hey, the fun hasn’t started yet. I heard of a place where we can sit and just hang our feet over the edge. Come on,” Roxas said before turning around and walking into a closed, wooden door. Rion followed after taking a final breath of the fresh air and finishing his Sea Salt ice cream.

    “This is where the old geezer lived, you know, the one that took care of this tower before he mysteriously died of a heart attack. People say his ghost haunts this tower but your not afraid are you?” he asked Rion raising an eyebrow. The two boys ventured into the abandoned suite. Everything was covered in cobwebs. The furniture was all knocked over and broken and the candles that had once held a flicker were burned out,

    “Wow, I can see why this guy died, this place is a dump. He was in serious need of some redecorating,” Roxas joked, kicking over the only remaining item. They reached another door. They only difference between doors was that this one was locked. Roxas had suggested that Rion break it so he looked around for something hard enough to bust the lock on the door with. Finally, he found an old candle holder and smacked the lock with the base, breaking it to pieces. Rion stepped through first this time on to a small ledge right below the smaller clock on the roof of the tower. Roxas went straight to the edge after congratulating Rion on a job well done. They sat at the end, dangling their legs over the edge,

    “I’m really glad you came today you know,” Roxas said in a hushed tone,

    “Not that I had a choice,” Rion added, still gazing out over the town,

    “ya,” he replied, “so if you don’t mind me asking, where did you come from? You knida just showed up without an explanation,” Roxas asked,

    “uh…” Rion paused. He didn’t know if he was ready to tell anyone about his past. Before now he didn’t know if he was ready to tell anyone, anything. He sat in silence for a minute or two, just staring over the scenery before finally coming to a decision,

    “well my family lived just over there,” Rion started, pointing to a small community in the mountains “and then my mother, Kalani had the twins and, well, she died of a disease that no one knew about and then my dad, Malenion, he uh went to a friend at the lab for help and he failed so my dad killed his assistant and went to a mental hospital for it, and then my sisters and I were sent to live with Felicity,” he trailed off after finishing his last sentence. Roxas now knew his weakness, his past. He knew the truth about Rion. Rion sat there waiting for Roxas to realize who he was sitting with as run away but he didn’t. Rion looked over at Roxas and noticed that Roxas had a look of sympathy on his face. This was the last thing Rion wanted, for someone to feel sorry for him.

    “Hey, don’t feel sorry for me okay. The damage is done but now you know. Anyway, what about your family?” Rion asked,

    “Well I have no siblings and my parents are workaholics, there never home and when they are, they don’t talk to me anyway,” he answered quickly. Rion smiled. He figured out that Roxas was almost the same as he was, both without parents, both alone.

    They sat in the same spot for hours, sometimes saying nothing at all. They talked, laughed and thought about everything. Rion told him stories about Ariana and Felicity. Roxas told him stories about the school before he arrived. They had fun and lost track of time. By now the sun was going down,

    “So I was wondering why you hadn’t asked Ariana out yet, why not, she so wants you,” Roxas said,

    “I know, well I, I don’t know, she’s just out of my league,” Rion lied, he knew why, he was scared and everytime he got close to asking, she would just blind-sight him and he would forget all train of thought. He didn’t want to tell Roxas the truth. He didn’t want Roxas to think that Rion was a coward,

    “Oh my god, what time is it?” Rion asked in a panic,

    “6:30,”Roxas replied,

    “WHAT?! I was supposed to pick up the twins three and a half hours ago, I have to go now, Felicity’s going to kill me, I’M LATE!” Rion yelled, jumping up from the ledge and running into the apartment, through the other door, down the stairs and into the streets. Rion ran all the way back to the school where three figures were sitting on the steps,

    “I am so sorry girls, me and Roxas lost track of time and we,” Rion paused to catch his breath. He didn’t realize that the third figure was Ariana,

    “They thought you had abandoned them Rion, I thought you were different, I thought you cared,” Ariana had tears pouring down her face, “Everyone knows you skipped class today to hang out with Roxas,”

    “I’m sorry, I, Ryllee, Rylune, I would never abandon you, you know that right? I wouldn’t,” Rion trailed off out of shame. He couldn’t believe he had let this get out of hand,

    “Rion I thought you were better than that, I guess I was wrong.” Ariana glared at Rion through her glazed eyes before helping the girls to there feet, “I waited out here all night because you couldn’t be bothered to look after your sisters,” she explained then stopped to wait for Rion`s reply,

    “Ariana, I never meant for this to happen. I like you a lot, probably more than you know and I know that you hate me which is why I should be going now before you get completely scared away,” Rion turned around and begun to walk away when Ariana caught up to him and stopped him,

    “Do you want to go out sometime?”

    “What? You want to… go out with… with me?” Rion asked, confusedly,

    “Ya why not? Are you a secret spy?” she joked,

    “no but,”

    “Shut up and say yes,” Ariana insisted,

    “Ya sure,” Rion answered with a smile, “But why?”

    “Cause I want to and you do too, even if you are a horrible brother,” Ariana giggled along with the twins in the background,

    “I forgive you,”

    “Thank you,” Rion replied, taking the twins by the hand and turning to leave. Ariana had turned Rion around,

    “Oh and one more thing,” Ariana added and she leaned in and kissed Rion on the cheek, “That’ll give you something else to think about.”

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Ack, I've gone a little off-track with my posting routine lately, haven't I? I blame the holidays. Well, at least this is a special chapter, to semi-make-up-for-it. Rion isn't even mentioned. And I adore the character that this chapter centers around instead. Oh, and I'm too lazy to go through each individual piece, but if you don't speak French and can't infer from the context what is being said, I obviously can translate, just ask.

    Chapter 12


    The threadbare sofa and cushions were already splattered with grisly red liquid, evermore accumulating from the twisting slashes being thrown through the air, but the cat nestled in a convenient dent didn’t twitch an ear. That sort of thing happened all the time, to be sure, and there was a plump sparrow caroling with merry abandon on the terrace railing. It took little time for it to flow lithely out of its place and out the glass doors, sauntering delicately around the many puddles.

    The girl watched her pet from her haphazard perch, but her eyes weren’t really taking in the scene. Earlier she had sworn that no more birds would be sacrificed to Minette’s cravings, but she was barely aware of the room, let alone the unknowing prey on her balcony. The grand canvas in front of her was building up paint in more colors than most people could imagine, but she had always had a knack for odd pigments. It had won her plenty of recognition in her art school before now. This particular piece was nothing but edgy, yet sweeping lines, only possible by very careful flinging of acrylics, but a cat’s face was peeking out of the mess in such a way that you couldn’t quite tell how you knew what it was. That was her trademark as well. Yet another that her teachers had raved over, it didn’t go over quite so well with her commissioners. People actually seemed insulted when she painted them that way, the real way, and not exaggeratedly attractive. Well, she would not cater to them, in any case. She could get by, even if her finances were as low as they currently were.

    Slowly the realization crept over her that she had lost her model. Minette was a fickle cat, but one of her favorites, a gorgeous, if slightly short-statured, cream-colored shorthair with markings that reminded her of war paint, all carefully placed short stripes. Well, one of the others would have to do, then. She called for Ciel, a still-young male that was close enough in body to Minette as to not make a difference, and he trotted up, licking his pointed teeth expectantly. Every feline knew what the reward for a well-behaved posing session would be.

    The girl opened her whitewashed cupboard with a grimace. As if the evidence of her skimming of the poverty line was not blatant enough all around her, the wood shelves held very little, and canned food, most of it. At least that box of cat treats at the back was almost full; any income she would be getting would be dependant on having those with her. She took a tiny rose-colored fish biscuit out of the pack and laid it on her palm, showing the salivating tomcat his prize. Instantly he pulled himself up onto his haunches like a begging dog, and promptly backflipped with graceful ease, landing on four paws as though nothing unusual had happened.

    She smiled and patted her pet’s head affectionately, but did not relinquish the treat yet. As much as she hated to admit that her foray into art was to be a failure, she needed a fallback. And it was about time these cats supported themselves a little, she thought. She was training them to perform tricks in the hopes of finding a comedy act or some such that would like it. Minette was a ballet dancer, and Pallette, wherever she was, had the same talent as her mistress. Nearly every other was an acrobat. She was beginning to find that there were personal benefits to their training as well; they could take on much more interesting poses for her to paint from. She whistled sharply, and Ciel sprang to attention, twisting sinuously into a new shape.

    ***

    The doorbell’s loud music heralded the arrival of someone about to regret paying a cordial visit to this particular apartment, and the girl set down her paintings supplies hastily. She was covered in the remnants, streaking her hair violently orange, but that could not be helped. It reflected her mood anyway; she was almost finished with her painting! To put it down now would mean losing that creative trance in which her best work was accomplished. Whoever the intruder was, she hoped that they were prepared to face the annoyance they had drudged up in her. She pushed back the covering on the slit under the peephole with slightly too much force, and it screeched a protest so sharp that it made her wince.

    “Hello, I’m looking for a Miss April Astine, is she in residence?” asked the squinting eyes on the other side. Their tone was more than slightly hesitant, and that thrilled her to no end.

    Oui, monsieur,” she answered, faking a conversational voice and playing up her accent with great panache. “C’est moi.”

    “Excuse me, miss?”

    Oh, les anglais. Ne pourraient-ils pas prendre une seule minute de leurs journées pour apprendre les plus simples des phrases?” she muttered, though she took care to make it audible. If he couldn’t understand her, all the better, but getting it out helped her mood. “Sir, I can comprendre English, but I do not converse très bien.”

    “So I hear. Well, we’ll get around it, but I need to speak to you, please.”

    She sighed and yanked the chain-lock out of its hold before opening the door in a way that made her feelings clear. Minette, back from hunting, jumped at the noise and unsheathed her claws with singularly feline quickness.

    “To what do I owe the plaisir?” she asked sardonically, leaning on the door frame. Her fluorescent teal hair and oversized denim blouse, both streaked liberally with paint, gave her youthful attitude even more poignancy.

    “Not to seem rude, miss, but it seems that it should be fairly obvious to you,” the man commented, giving his briefcase a little shake. She finally got a proper look at him, and his staunchly pressed pinstripe suit made matters clear.

    “You are a tax collector,” she said.

    “Correct.”

    “I was told I ne devais pas payer taxes, as I have no income,” she retorted. “One of your people m’a dit that.”

    “If I can take that to mean that you thought you didn’t have to pay taxes, you’re mistaken. And one with such a sizable amount of money needn’t be collecting an income. Of course, there are technicalities to go through before it’s actually yours, but that doesn’t-“

    A high, mocking laugh cut him off, and he gave the young woman a most affronted look. But hadn’t she the right to laugh? A sizable amount of money! Unless he thought she chose to live this way. That thought elicited even more laughter, until she was fairly well shaking with it.

    “Miss Astine, I should inform you that I’m on the brink of leaving now, and should I do so, you’ll have to take up your inheritance claim with someone else, and settle your taxes on your own time.”

    She was used to taking him in stride at this point, so it took a minute for her to register the full meaning of the man’s words.

    “Inheritance?” she queried, a scared undertone running rampant in her voice. “Qui est mort?

    “Yes, inheritance. It doesn’t sound as if you knew. Your grandmother Ermengarde Tisanne seems to have left you a considerable amount-“

    Grand-maman?” she squeaked. Her thin hands clasped each other in a death embrace and flew to her mouth intertwined that way, covering the features that would have been the only merciful distraction from her swiftly watering eyes.

    “Oh, I’m… sorry… didn’t you know? It was all over the news, miss, you mustn’t blame me for not knowing…”

    Pourquoi are you still here? I will deal with you tomorrow! Va-t’en!” said April as she pushed him feebly, half-heartedly, out the door. He did not resist much. Immediately the tears spilled over her eyes, sizable flows for the grieving of a person only seen once a year at best. But Grand-maman Ermen, as she had insisted on being called, was the one she had stayed with when she had first crossed the ocean from France only three years previously, and an attachment had formed during that time. Ermengarde returned the sentiment, apparently, as all the girl ever heard about was how much she bragged about “young April’s” abilities to anyone she met. She would have had more visits with her, but the poor woman had an unfailing ability to forget any date they might manage to set up between both of their brimming schedules. The thought of never seeing her again, the simple shock of being told such an appalling thing when she expected it least, was too much for her eighteen-year-old heart. Funny, she thought, that she should suddenly lose control of herself like this, when she was so composed usually. Oh, what a horrible thought! Gaterie, the very fluffiest of Persian cats, flounced innocently past, and she snatched her up gratefully, ignoring her mewling.

    An intriguing thought occurred to her amid all the bleach-white fur that she hugged so enthusiastically to herself. Grand-maman Ermen was fairly young, for an old lady, and extremely healthy. There was no reason for her to have just died one day. And then, there was that comment that horrible man had made… all over the news, was it? She didn’t have a television anymore, or a phone line for that matter. Her only resource for keeping up with the goings-on of the world was the newspaper, and she rarely spared that a glance before putting that to its rightful use, covering for the only things she thought worth keeping clean from flung paint. That meant previous masterpieces, and nothing else. Guiltily she glanced at her back wall, hoping against reason that she would not see what she knew must be there.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    In your closet
    Posts
    349

    Default

    Hello. I've read this whole fic, and it has been awesome! Anyway, I don't see how you don't even have any reviewers. We have a Kingdom Hearts club here, and you don't see any of the members reviewing! Anyway, you earned yourself another reviewer. Grammar is ok, descripition well, and originality being very well! Remember to keep up the good work!

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoc15 View Post
    Hello. I've read this whole fic, and it has been awesome! Anyway, I don't see how you don't even have any reviewers. We have a Kingdom Hearts club here, and you don't see any of the members reviewing! Anyway, you earned yourself another reviewer. Grammar is ok, descripition well, and originality being very well! Remember to keep up the good work!
    Thank you!

    As for reviewers, so long as I have a few, I'm happy. I'm thrilled to have another one! Especially since I think Chaotic Tyrant is a little tied up at the moment. Is there really a KH club here, though? I might have to go look around there.

    Sorry about there not being a new chapter at the moment; I have all of them archived in my e-mail, but for some reason, 13 is missing. And since it's not my chapter but my co-author's, I have to wait for her to respond to my e-mail. I haven't had any contact with her for a week, and I have no idea what she's doing, but I imagine RE: Chain of Memories is involved. Yes, we are both KH dorks. ^^

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    NA finally responded, so here's Chapter 13. I have a sneaking suspicion she was inspired by an episode of Dawson's Creek or something.

    Chapter 13 (by Namines_Angel)


    Rion and his sisters walked to the bus stop, two with excitement and one with distress. Rion had chosen today to ask Ariana on a date. The signs all pointed this way. First the horoscope in Felicity’s “US weekly” magazine, then the couple that passed by the manor the day before and lastly, the bundle of roses that mysteriously found their way to Rion’s front door, conveniently delivered to the wrong house. It was set in stone in Rion’s mind, today was the day.

    Rion parted with the twins the second the bus arrived; they went to sit with Hannah and Rion to Roxas. Ariana sat next to her group of followers, at the back of the bus. Rion had butterflies in the pit of his stomach. Where would they go? What would happen next? Both of which Rion had no answers to. He figured that he would leave it up to her, that way nothing could possibly go wrong. He wanted everything to be perfect. Rion wanted to prove to Ariana that he wasn’t the freak she though he was.

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

    “Hi Rion. How are you?” Ariana asked sweetly before sitting down at the ridiculously crammed lunchroom table,

    “I’m, uh, I’m fine,” he replied before taking a large gulp of saliva. By now, beads of sweat trickled down his face, it was now or never.

    “Good, so, um, Roxas told me you had something to say to me. Oh, I hope I didn’t freak you out the other night, I’m sorry I did that I kind of just acted on instinct,” she panicked

    “No, actually Ari I, I,” Rion closed his eyes but the words still escaped him,

    “YES!” she screamed in excitement, “yes I’ll go out with you Ri, that’s what I was hinting at last night, I like you Rion, I like you a lot,”

    “What? I, I, uh,” Rion was confused, how did she know?

    “I know, lost for words, I tend to do that to people,” Ariana giggled and made Rion smile as well,

    “So that’s that, the bench, 6:00, be there,” Ariana said as she strutted down the isle in the cafeteria to where her group was waiting. Rion looked around to find the whole room looking back,

    “Nothing to see here. Go back to all those great conversations and get your noses out of this one,” Roxas yelled at the other eavesdropping students,

    “Thank you,” Rion said

    “Don’ mention it, Ri, now about the date.”

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

    After school arrived and Rion had decided to take Roxas’ advice. He was going to take Ariana on a sunset picnic at sunset hill. The problem was getting enough food for the twins, Rion and Ariana and, on top of that, where the Twins were going to stay while he was gone.

    Felicity was, yet again, watching her soap operas in her bedroom and the children were, yet again, gulping down that nights leftovers. When they were done, Rion had figured that the twins would be fine at home with Felicity. He figured that she probably wouldn’t even notice their existence anyway, which left them to a night in the attic, playing dress-up with the antiques. Rion packed some snacks into a compact picnic kit and kissed the twins goodbye in the attic,

    “Remember not to leave this room, I don’t care what you want, but girls this is important okay, be safe, got it?” he instructed,

    “Yes sir,” Ryllee replied,

    “Ya, we promise Ri, but you gotta promise that you will have fun too, you got it Ri?” Luna asked, poking at his bicep. Rion laughed before climbing down the ladder and towards the front door. He had a bad feeling about leaving his sisters alone, but it was clouded by the excitement that filled his body as he approached the park and the meeting place for Rion’s first date. Ariana was wearing a simple black dress, down to her knees with her curls tied back in a low ponytail, and tied together by a black satin ribbon. Her eyes sparkled in the lowering sun just as they did in any light and as his met hers; they connected, in a way that had never happened before.

    Sunset hill was the highest point in Twilight Town, besides the tower. It was a small area that stood over top of the trains that were station-bound. Rion opened his kit and laid the blanket on the ground. He then sat and motioned for Ariana to join him. She sat in silence for a moment before she placed her hand on his. Rion jerked but didn’t pull away. She kissed him on the cheek again and she jumped to her feet, twisting her hair in her scrawny fingers,

    “What’s next?” she asked

    “Uh, I actually wanted to take you to a place in the centre of town. I figured we could take a trolley to the tower,”

    “Oh, ya cool, alright,” she winked. The sun was now completely down and the many lampposts lit the sky in Twilight Town. The trolley dinged as it approached the stop where Ariana and Rion were standing. Rion hopped on and grabbed Ariana’s hand to help her up. The inside was crowded so they stood in the back and watched as the place where they previously stood faded away. The light breeze grew stronger as the trolley picked up speed. They looked at each other for a brief moment and then looked away. So far so good.

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

    Ryllee and Rylune sat twiddling their thumbs on the makeshift bed they constructed out of an old suitcase and some pillows,

    “Im so bored,” Luna stated, now curling a loose string around her index finger,

    “Ya, me too,” Lee-lee said as she mimicked her sister. The attic was now in a worsened state than the one that Rion had left. There were pieces of clothing and old hats that were scattered across the creaky planks of wood that assembled their attic and dust that was shot up from the constant twirling of elegant dresses that occurred.

    “Still bored Lee, what do we do now?” Rylune said, still twirling the same piece of string around her finger.

    “Well, we could clean up the mess we made so that Rion doesn’t get mad at us,” Ryllee stated, exploring their options, “Or,” she continued, “Or we can go see what Felicity is up to,” she giggled,

    “I like the way you think sis,” Rylune replied, jumping up from her place on her bed and joining her sister at the ladder. They quickly figured out how to open the latch that released the ladder and quietly climbed down to the all-too-familiar second floor hallway. Felicity was now sitting in the study with her red-rimmed glasses, reading the new edition of US Weekly. The twins tiptoed past the study to the master bedroom and into Felicity’s bathroom. The bathroom was still steamed-filled from her shower. Ryllee and Rylune looked at each other with a devious smirk on their faces, it was time to have some fun. Because of Malenion and his many experiments, the twins had learned from a very young age how to concoct chemical mixtures. They hopped on to the edge of the bathtub and reached on to the top shelf to get down her dandruff shampoo and Silk and Shine conditioner. Then they went into the bottom cabinet and pulled out some bleach and blue food coloring. They mixed the shampoo and conditioner with the coloring and bleach with a somewhat evil laugh,

    “This will teach her to not treat us like garbage,” Ryllee said as she finished pouring the bleach into the conditioner container. Now it was time for her face cream. Rylune reached up for the famous green, monster cream as they called it. The cream was applied every night before going to bed by the monster herself. They grabbed the foot cream and the small ant-killer trap that was found in the back of the bottom cabinet and mixed them together, this was going to ruin her appearance for sure, perfect payback.

    After an hour or so of laughing by the twins, back in the attic, they heard a noise, Felicity was now turning on the tap for her nightly shower. The twins smiled, yet again at each other, victory was finally theirs.

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

    The Twilight Town Tower was glowing in the night. Rion and Ariana stood at the foot, staring for a moment at their future adventure. Rion had recently been taking their lunch hours to visit the tower with his new best friend, Roxas and here, is where he suggested they visit on their “Special night” as he called it. Rion grabbed her by the hand and gestured her forward towards the great, wooden door that led to the long, winding staircase. Rion opened the first door and he motioned for her to walk through into the old keeper’s apartment and then pulled open the door to where the ledge was. They sat down in silence for ten minutes, watching the people down below and the light show that was occurring from the flickering lanterns of the streets.

    “This is beautiful Ri, thank you,” Ariana said in a hushed tone,

    “Ya I come up here a lot, sometimes just to think,” he replied. It was approaching 10 o’clock and Rion knew that it was time to leave. He was eager to hear about the twin’s night. Rion and Ariana took the trolley to the Sunset hill station and then walked back to the park bench that they had met at previously that evening. Ariana fiddled with her ribbon before finally leaning in to kiss her new boyfriend. Rion was stunned. He was not prepared for this. Their relationship was real, it was official, Ariana was Rion’s girlfriend.

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

    “BRATS, YOU FOUL, EVIL LITTLE COCKROACHES, GET YOUR STUPID BUTTS DOWN HERE THIS INSTANT,” Felicity yelled,

    “Uh-oh,” the twins said in unison. Felicity had figured it out, they were goners.

    “COME ON, I KNOW YOUR IN THERE,” she yelled, knocking at the hatch to the attic. The twins opened the hatch and released the ladder. The girls lowered themselves down the ladder but didn’t touch down on the ground. Felicity had ripped them down and threw them on the floor. The twins instantly started crying. They knew that their brother wouldn’t be there to save them this time.

    “LOOK AT MY FACE, YOU MAD ME UGLY,” she screeched, as she held Ryllee and Rylune’s head up to hers. She kicked them in the ribs twice and taunted them to get up. They were helpless. They were three years old. Felicity showed no mercy. She lifted them up and nearly threw them down the spiral staircase to the first floor. All the twins could do was wait and hope that Rion would walk into the door and see this first hand. Felicity kicked them again, sending pain through their bodies and blood to the surface of their skin. She picked them up and slapped them in the face, twice each. Just as they hit the ground, Rion stepped into the doorway. He was in shock, his mouth wide open. He knew she was mean and cruel, but he never thought she would go this low. He looked down at the twins, bruises all over, lips bleeding and crying their eyes out. Felicity backed off; she knew what was coming.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Chapter 14


    The room was in a state of suspended animation, motion of any kind halted in breathless anticipation for Rion to club Felicity so hard that she would fall through the creaking wood floorboards. His face was contorted, eyes burning, and such was the disfiguration that he bore almost no resemblance to a person. He was a hulking mass of muscle, and for the first time Felicity realized what it was to fear for her life. She glanced frantically at her valet and the doorman, both in attendance, but they stood stiff as posts, as if they thought that perhaps they could be mistaken for statues if only they were still enough. Statues with faces that exhibited determined ignorance of their mistress like an open book, no less. She was completely on her own, and suddenly her fear accelerated so much that she whimpered. This led her to tug violently at the lace trim on her gloves, for she submitted to no one, much less this child supposedly under her control. Nevertheless, she did not interfere when the boy took first one girl, then the other, up into his arms. Even the brats seemed uncertain as to what was going on, and their round eyes still dripping tears. All the better, she thought wickedly, but before she realized it, all three of them were gone.

    Rion wasn’t quite sure how he got there, though his sisters would later tell him he alternately walked and ran, burdened as he was with two toddlers. All he cared about was reaching the telephone in the hospital lobby, after the twins were checked in and had begun being tested for serious injury. It was not far from their room, and he could hear them squalling as the doctors prodded their bruised sides. His teeth grated as the phone trilled in his ear.

    “Hello?”

    “Hi Ari, it’s Rion.”

    She didn’t say anything right away, but her voice changed subtly and he could tell that she was smiling. “Hi Ri! Are we going out again?”

    “Of course,” he answered, and somewhere below the blanket of subdued rage he had begun to glow with pride, “really soon, I hope, but not now. I have to tell you something.”

    On the other side of the conversation, Ariana chewed her lip in vexation. She didn’t know Rion all that well just yet, but she suspected much, and suspicion told her that his life was far from perfect. She wouldn’t shy away from him for it, but the thought of him possibly pushing a problem on her so soon was frustrating. “What’s the matter?”

    “Ryllee and Rylune are in the hospital right now,” he said, and Ariana uttered a strange whimper-gasp. “They- fell down.” He lied somewhat hesitantly, but his peripheral vision had caught the attending doctor, round-bellied and graying, standing patiently in the threshold of the twin’s room, and the story had to stay consistent.

    “That’s awful!” she cried, sounding very distressed. Well, she would, he thought, being with them every spare minute of her day until four at that daycare. He was starting to regret having told her anything, especially when what he was going to do was borderline using her. She would have come either way, he thought, but that was little comfort. “I’m coming right over there; it’s the town hospital, right?”

    Rion made an acknowledging noise, and with a quick goodbye the line went dead. She would be there in a few minutes, he knew, and he could put his plan into motion. At the moment, however, the attendant seemed dead-set on having a word with him, so he followed the swishing wake of the man’s lab coat into the hallway without complaint.

    “Now Rion, I have to ask you some questions. You might not like them, and you might not like to answer them, but you have to tell the truth, okay? You’re under law to, now.”

    He nodded quickly; he was ready for this.

    “How did your sisters come upon these injuries?”

    “Well, sir, they were playing on the swingset at the park, and they weren’t very safe about it. They stood right up on the seats and started rocking around, and even though Cousin Felicity told them not to, they kept doing it, and they fell off.”

    “Are you telling me they got as bruised and battered as they are by falling onto playground sand?”

    “Why, are they badly hurt?”

    “No, nothing internal. But I’m not going to lie, son; the flesh injuries are quite horrific.”

    “Well, they didn’t fall right on the sand, sir, they sort of got caught on the supports and knocked into each other a lot, too, and when they tried to get up again they were so winded they collapsed.”

    The doctor hummed in apparent consideration, his wrinkled eyes obviously seeking signs of deceit, but Rion was practiced at that sport. Rather too often it had won him ways out of schoolwork which, but for his meager talent with sciences, he would have renounced altogether, for he had never been good at it. His face stayed poker-straight.

    “Your guardian was at the park with you, was she? Where has she gone now, then?”

    Rion’s insides jolted, but, praise God, he was fairly certain he didn’t show that outwardly. However, the longer-than-normal pause before he answered could be conspicuous. No, he couldn’t afford to think like that! Wasting time worrying would only worsen the problem. A tiny slip in his plan, that was all it was. Even if he had stopped breathing for a moment.

    “She had stuff to do.”

    “Stuff.”

    “Yeah… her mom’s dying.” The very idea of using that particular situation made him wince, but it was all he could think of, and he had to say something.

    “That’s very interesting timing, isn’t it?” said the attendant wryly, peering over his spectacles.

    “Certainly sir, but that’s life, isn’t it?”

    “Indeed,” he muttered, not sounding entirely convinced.

    “Her dad called her cell phone while we were at the park, actually, and she just had to go. She left before the accident happened, and she said that her servants would take care of us for a few weeks. She probably hadn’t gotten far when it happened, but I didn’t think they were too badly hurt, so I figured I’d just bring them here myself. She’s really worried about her mom, and she’s always been so nice to us.” Lies, lies, lies that burned his tongue and scorched his soul even as he spoke them, but he had never shirked from what was necessary.

    “Always nice? Never-“

    “No,” Rion affirmed, and his eyes had that dangerous cast again, harder and grayer than stones, “Always nice.”

    “Well, son, you’ve saved me a-“

    It was evident that there was little point in his continuing when Ariana, brown ringlets flying every which way, burst in and ran to Rion with speed enough to impress an Olympic sprinter. Her eyes were wide and watery, her lips trembled dangerously, and it was the most trusted of instincts that made him hold her gently, and whisper that they were safe. The attendant sighed pointedly, but he turned and waddled back to his office with no further comment.

    “They’re just fine, really,” Rion was explaining, hoping to stem some of the frantic babbling that bubbled out of her. “I thought something might be wrong, but nothing is, really.”

    She lifted her head and perused him mildly through her lashes, but whatever the gentility in her face, he felt like he was being interrogated for murder. “Are you sure?” He nodded hastily. “Well then, this is an interesting situation. You know Rion, I’m not sure whether I want to kill you for worrying me like that, or be so happy I could burst into song right now that you didn’t keep this from me.”

    It scared him to think of how quickly he gave into it, but his first impulse was to kiss her. It seemed to work, for when they broke apart a smile danced merrily across her lips and all the coolness had fled her eyes. He did it again, and she outright grinned at him, but he didn’t try again. It had dawned on him that they were in a public waiting room and that, given that any consoling had already taken place, behavior such as this was inappropriate. Of course, he would not have caught on to this breach of etiquette on his own, but the old lady glaring at them through slit-narrowed eyes and gripping her walker as if she would very much like to heave it at the young couple told him as much. Swiftly he took Ariana’s sleeve and guided her to his sisters’ room.

    Children were apparently rare visitors to the Twilight Town Hospital, for everyone not busy, nurses and physicians alike, seemed crammed into the room, standing on the sidelines or seated on the far bed that Rylune had disdained occupying. Never in her life had she slept apart from her sister when it could be helped, and the plastic catheters that were attached to both weren’t good enough reason. They did, however, prevent her from getting farther than the edge of the mattress, and about to tug the tubing out of her arm at that. After all the fuss about the needle that had gotten it in, the nurses looked loath to let her stay there, but they also seemed not to have the heart to remove her. Both she and Ryllee were grinning from ear to ear, delighting at having an audience.

    “… and then she kicked us down the stairs! Isn’t that mean? She’s always like that, she-“

    Ariana’s hand twitched in his, and suddenly he was aware that his grip must be hurting her. He dropped it as though it had burned him. Horror had stolen through him and left little room for anything else, control of his physical strength least of all. He thought he felt eyes on him, but his vision blurred in panic. He wanted to shake his head, shake it off, but he felt quite strongly that he shouldn’t even blink, as if an impossible multitude of knives were resting their sharp points on his skin. Equally numerous were the fearful questions and worrisome suppositions that buzzed around his head, a swarm of insects carrying deadly poison. Most concerned variations of being taken from Felicity and thrown into a foster care system where the twins might even be separated from each other, never mind he from them. And scariest of all, he realized abruptly that he was thinking in metaphors!

    “Rion!” they chorused happily, having just noticed his presence in the room. “Yay!”

    “We’re sorry, everybody, but you’ve gotta go away now,” announced Rylune lightly, waving her hand like a small empress commanding her people. “Our big brother is gonna take us home now!” Like obedient followers, the hospital staff filed neatly out of the ward, chuckling all the way.

    “We can’t go just yet,” Rion replied when everyone was a sizable length of hallway away. “What have you been telling them?”

    “What happened, of course!” Ryllee answered patiently, arms crossed in defense against her brother’s tone. “Hi Ari!”

    Rion slapped a hand to his forehead in disbelief. So much for them being clever enough to hide their ordeal. Very likely they had exaggerated it enough to have made it far worse, for sheer love of the drama that would ensue. He was half aware that Ariana had come out from behind him, where she had hidden herself in face of so many strangers, and then she seated herself next to Rylune. Now all three were in line, a jury putting him to question.

    “What is going on, Ri?” she demanded firmly, but he ignored her.

    “Why would you do that? Don’t you know what’ll happen?” His voice was raising itself, with no conscious thought of his own.

    Ryllee leapt to her small feet, somewhat hindered by the bandage around her right leg. “No, and it’s a good story!” Her bottom lip stuck out in a pout.
    Rion didn’t waste a second in snatching her up and sitting her back on the bed. “You’ll hurt yourself, Lee-Lee. Don’t do that,” he said. “And it’s not a good story, it’s a horrible thing that happened. It isn’t a little fairytale where everything will work out right.”

    “Rion-“ Ariana began weakly, a faint note of fear in her voice, but the siblings’ exchange continued at lightning speed.

    “I know that,” she said exasperatedly. “It’d be fun to be in a book! But I don’t think they believed us.”

    Rion froze mid-thought, stunned that he hadn’t realized that. Of course, it was such a far-fetched story! Any other time, he might have questioned how easily he accepted the small girl’s assumptions, but it was so very convenient! He would simply tell the hospital staff that the twins had been telling tales, inspired by Felicity’s nightly ritual of Cinderella-like story readings. Such a perfectly simple way around disaster.

    “Rion, I don’t enjoy being ignored,” said Ariana, laying a hand on his arm. It would be a much more agreeable gesture if she had not followed it by pressing her fingernails savagely into his flesh. He knew he deserved no better, but he still flinched.

    “I know,” he said. “Come over here.”

    With that, the boy strode over to the farthest corner he could reach and, in the most discreet of whispers, communicated his plan.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Chapter 15 (by Namines_Angel)


    “Great news,” Felicity mocked as she pounded her lace covered fists on the entrance to the attic as if nothing had happened “the realtor just called, your precious home is going to be cleaned out and sold off to the highest bidder… and I get all the profit,” she giggled, trying not to expose her trembling fingers. She knew that she had to play her cards right, or else. Rion should have been devastated by this information, but instead was overjoyed; his evil cousin had just filled the impossible hole in his plan. Now there was a way out.

    Rion had communicated his plan to Ariana the night before, before leaving her with the twins at the Twilight Town General Hospital. It was just Rion now, it was now or never. His plan was to lour Felicity back to the house with the false idea of valuable gems in the house cellar, ones that were supposedly collected by his temporarily insane father, and ones that could only be retrieved with the secret code that Rion had been keeping from his diamond-hungry cousin. Next, he would lock her in an oversized cage, used for Malenion’s attempts to enlarge his pet rat Mus and leave her to herself until Rion decided her fate.

    Now Rion had to act, something that he wasn’t particularly good at. He had taken acting classes, by force in elementary school and had no idea when he would need to use them, as with a lot of other subjects, until now. Felicity’s perfect teeth were visible through her forced grin,

    “I got the call this morning, now you can move on in your life, I’ll just get my butlers to go and clear out all that junk for you. I’m sure you don’t want to go back there after what happened.” Felicity was acting too. She was trying to push an act of sympathy behind Rion; of course he got his bad acting from somewhere.

    “Oh well how nice of you to think of me like that but I’m worried you see. The butlers don’t know about the deposit box in the basement with all of my mom’s old jewelry. It’s worth millions you know and I’d hate to see the house sold off without getting it out,” Rion bluffed. Felicity’s vision was suddenly clouded by the images of sparkling diamonds and gold. She bought it, every word, “and of course I am the only one who know of these jewels and the password except my deceased mother, mangled sisters and loony father, but if you ask them I’m sure they’ll point you in the right direction, especially my mother,” Rion sarcastically stated, suppressing a laugh,

    “Uh huh, of course, we shall go right away this afternoon. Be ready to depart at noon,” she said as she smoothed out her silk cream colored dress and retreated to her study to watch The Young and the Restless.

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

    The sun was warm and streets covered in small children, innocent and without a care in the world. The windows of Felicity’s limo were untouched, no smudge marks in sight. Rion watched as the houses on his street became blurs. He counted the minutes until he had to carryout the remainder of his plan; five, four, three, two and one. Just seeing his old house brought back painful memories, ones that he tried so hard to bury, going inside would pose more of a problem than he imagined, but he had no choice. Felicity followed him in, put her parasol in the dust covered umbrella stand and removed her gloves. Rion took off his skater shoes and paused to look around,

    “There is no time to dillydally, where are these precious jewels. Quick boy, in the basement you said?” Felicity turned the stiff doorknob that led to the basement that had been neglected for so long. Rion took a large gulp and pushed. Felicity let out a small scream. She fell down twelve steep stairs and hit the concrete floor hard. Rion hoped that she wasn’t dead. He had to improvise, he had no choice. Rion jumped down the stairs and checked a pulse. She was still alive. She grunted, sending a chill down Rion’s spine. He lifted her bruised head and dragged her into the steel cage. She wasn’t bleeding, not that Rion could see anyway. He had no remorse though because she had gotten what was coming, revenge from hospitalizing his little sisters and evicting them from a house and life that Rion loved. The lock on the cage clicked, confirming that it had locked with Felicity inside. Rion sighed with relief and turned to exit. He looked at his watch; it was now 2:00 in the afternoon. Ryllee and Rylune were to be released at 5 so he had time. The butler was still outside in his limousine. He had decided to tell the driver that Felicity had decided to stay for longer on account of some other valuable objects in the house and that she wanted him to leave or else he was fired. The unnamed butler agreed and pulled out of the driveway, leaving Rion, an unconscious Felicity and empty house filled with unexplored memories.

    He traveled to the upstairs first, the spot with the happiest memories. The master bedroom was at the end of a short hallway, the door open just a crack. Rion wondered. The last person to touch the doorknob to this room was either his mother or father. Rion couldn’t go into this room before now. He tried but only got as far as the door because fear wouldn’t let him go further. Now was different. He pushed open the door and stepped into the bedroom of Malenion and Kalani. The heaps of laundered clothes covered the bed spread and the large antique dressers. The closet was filled with old belts, ties and not-so-white lab coats that belonged to his father. Tears begun to run down Rion’s cheeks. There was nothing that Rion wanted to keep in this room. As far as he was concerned his father died when his mom did. He threw all the clothes except for his and the twin’s in bags and one-by-one threw them on the side of the street for garbage collection.

    Next was the twin’s room. Their room was decorated with periwinkle blue walls and sprinkled with a thousand small stuffed animals. He picked up all of them and placed them neatly on shelves, made their beds and vacuumed the carpet. Then he exited the girl’s room and moved into his own. Soon everything was either put away or thrown out except for the only room that mattered, the kitchen, the beginning of the end of Kalani Gray. The kitchen hadn’t been touched since the day they were taken from their home and forced to live an alternate lifestyle. Rion did not want to venture into the place where the mood traveled from ecstatic to devastating in a matter of minutes, but he had to, it was the only room left to clean. He sighed again and took the first step to defeat his fears. The tile was cold on his socked feet. He looked around at the unwashed dishes from the night when his mom fainted and the small shards of glass that he didn’t pick up from the dish she dropped. He reached under the sink to get some cleaning products to wash the dishes but decided to throw out everything that was in the sink. He didn’t want to wash these dishes, there was no point. He loaded them into many garbage bags and tossed them out on the street with the other five that had been collected from the other rooms in the house. It was now after five. The twins, after talking to Ariana on their cell phones, were at Ariana’s house and they had already made plans to meat at the park at 8:30. Felicity’s limousine had returned at the time that it was supposed to and Rion had already figured out a way to get rid of it. He forged a letter from Felicity telling the driver that he was fired on account of the fact that he was 5 minutes late to pick her up. The driver let out a loud whale and abided. He was going to have to live a lie from now on but as long as Felicity was not in the picture it was alright for him.

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

    Rion and the twins were back at the large empty mansion after meeting at the park. Ryllee and Rylune didn’t even notice that the presence of their most hated relative was gone until bedtime when they would normally sneak by the bathroom to hear her ridiculous attempts to sing. Rion knew that they would get suspicious at some point but he would tell them when it was appropriate. He had something else on his mind though. All the memories that were dug up today reminded him that the twins and he had never been to their mom’s grave. There were no flowers to say that she was loved by someone. Rion decided that they were going to go to the cemetery the next day to get closure and prove that she wasn’t alone.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Chapter 16


    “Yes, that’s right, I kept them home. They were showing signs of psychological damage, finally. Goodbye.”

    Only when the phone once again rested in its cradle did Rion resume breathing. He had known from the start that three days of absences was going to attract notice, anticipated this call, but actually receiving it gave him a whole new sense of how delicate their situation was.

    “Do you think they noticed anything?” asked Ariana nervously, in her normal voice now. Pretending to be Felicity had required an even higher than normal pitch for her, and truth be told it had sounded more like a three-year-old than his devious guardian. “I tried, but-“ without warning her words transformed into a rasp, and she coughed delicately, trying to clear her throat. “I’ve read too many stories to your sisters, I guess,” she managed before Rion took hold of her shoulder.

    “Stop,” he commanded. “Go home. Look at you! You’re making yourself sick, and what’s worse, you haven’t been to school in three days. Do your parents even know you’ve been coming here?”

    Ariana glanced guiltily at the floor, then at him, a resentful look in her eyes.

    “Lee-Lee and Luna still can’t walk very well, and you need help. Anyway, you haven’t set foot in a classroom either,” she shot back, avoiding the last question. “You probably need it more than I do, too.”

    “I’ve seen your math mark,” he said, his tone more cold than stern as he had meant. “If you don’t get back there tomorrow you’ll never be able to pass.”

    She frowned at him, but it didn’t seem to concern his tone. “How did you know about my math mark? Does everyone?”

    “No,” he answered slowly. He’d revealed more than he realized.

    “You were looking over my shoulder, weren’t you?”

    “Maybe.”

    The warmth in her expression as she gazed up at him through her eyelashes was incomprehensible to him, having been expecting a full-armed slap, but he had a feeling that questioning it would cause it to dissipate. So he just enjoyed himself as she drew herself closer, as close as she could get. One of her tightly spooled curls spilled onto his arm and he barely repressed a shiver. Sometimes he felt he would never get used to this physical contact, certainly never be able to initiate it, but there was an indescribable thrill to it beyond the awkwardness. She snuggled herself into his shoulder comfortably.

    “Well, I don’t care what you know,” she murmured lazily, sounding only half awake. “I’m not going back until you do. Everybody knows what your marks are like, and I won’t have you failing.”

    “That won’t be a problem,” said Rion ambiguously.

    “What do you mean?” She had not moved, but he felt her tighten tensely, and suddenly she felt like a lead weight attached to his arm.

    “I’m not going back.”

    “You can’t mean you’re dropping out.” She seemed to be pointedly avoiding his gaze now, still hanging on as she was.

    “That’s exactly what I mean,” he continued. “And it makes sense too- ouch!” He shook her off like a viper, for she had again raked him with her insensibly long fingernails. She had become fond of doing that.

    “How does that make any sense?” she said, stressing each word. The pained, disbelieving look in her brown eyes was enough to make him wish he had kept the whole thing secret. “What kind of a job do you expect to get if you just… drop school?”

    “The kind that pays now, when I need it. My parents had savings, I think, but even if I can find out how to use that, it’ll run out eventually. Quickly, probably. Besides,” he said with a rueful smile, “I was no good at it anyway. Now don’t-“ he couldn’t finish his monologue, because Ariana’s eyes were steadily tearing.

    “You’re good at science,” she squeaked, and the sound seemed to have cost a lot of effort. “Professor Sigil loves you, and he thinks you have potential. And you’re going to throw it away.”

    “It’s not really my choice,” he answered, shrugging. Of course, in his own mind, there was nothing to throw away, whatever he chose to do. He was at a loss as to what to do next, but Ariana took the choice out of his hands. Suddenly in high gear, she pounced into his arms for an unexpected embrace that nearly crushed his ribs and promptly turned on her heel, scurrying out the door with barely a pause taken to open it. Absently he wondered if he should be going after her, but his focus was on the tray he was readying for the twins’ lunch. They had been calling helplessly for throughout the entire exchange, and a feeling of guilty neglect was creeping over him. He didn’t enjoy it.

    * * *

    The atmosphere in the stately marble throne room was oddly formal as the Organization assembled inside it. Over a dozen swirling vortexes opened sequentially as the call for a meeting reached more and more members. Xemnas looked on approvingly from his towering perch, the high back of his own throne and a mark of his top rank. Although some seemed puzzled as to why there were such gaps between arrivals, he knew where some of his subordinates were coming from, and if the signal transmitted that quickly, he owed Vexen more gratitude than he had thought. His communicators functioned more than satisfactorily.

    Finally each seat was filled, and he took his own, leaping gracefully down onto the marble.

    “My fellow Nobodies,” he began. His voice was softer than befit a leader, but the emptiness of the chamber magnified it for all to hear. “We are here to discuss the future of all our kind. It is evident that our numbers are dwindling. In the past, we were a great society. Secret, to be sure, but well feared. Hundreds of us would inspire the same, I’m sure. But we stand at seventeen members as of now. This is fewer than has ever been seen in recorded history.”

    The first wave of upset stirred the other occupants of the room. Most adopted a stricken look, and as well they should. Some, like Thyxier, had more severe reactions. He had been pleased with the girl for a time, as she seemed to have finally cast aside her favorite plaything. Now, however, she was furiously scratching at her sketchbook with an eraser, and the back of her high seat began to fade away. So she had merely drawn up an extra thin backing to hide the fool thing behind, had she? As soon as the ball was within reach, she snatched it and wrapped her arms around it, squeezing as though she would like to pop the thin film covering the amorphous gel inside. Geregox, of whom the filling was courtesy, looked over at her with concern. For all he tormented the other members with various practical jokes, he had a certain delicate understanding of his friend, the only one in present company that did.

    “It should also be noted that the number of Keybladers is in similar decline. Both examples are the elite of their race, the strongest of heart available. From this we can conclude that we are absolutely correct in the reasoning upon which we built this Organization; as time trickles on, human hearts lose their potency rather quickly.

    “The relationship between the two is undeniable. Our kind cannot be allowed to phase itself out, and of course, we want our righteous friends to harvest hearts for us, do we not? The project can never be completed, otherwise. The balance of the world demands an equal share of dark and light to exist at one time. Therefore, the solution I propose is to reintroduce ourselves to the world; if we can create more like us, there will be more Keybladers spat out someplace, and surely the right kind of people exist out there. We simply haven’t come across them.”

    The glances exchanged around the room were skeptical at best.

    “I believe that may contradict the entire purpose of the Organization, Xemnas,” drawled Xaldin snidely, flipping long black braids out of his eyes. “We are outcasts of society. Once we are restored, it will be different, but as it stands, I seem to recall that they find us quite repulsive.”

    “And rightly,” said their leader, “for we are by no means whole. I am not suggesting we live among them, friends. No, only spend some time in their midst, in the most remote of positions. Bankers, city shop clerks, those sorts of people. People to which no one gives a second glance, and conveniently exposed to many as well. It will all be over and done with before you even become comfortable with the idea.”

    “And as far as our interesting coloring goes, Xemnas? Bankers aren’t generally blue-haired or pink-eyed, and wouldn’t Elosix be a sight behind a counter!”

    The girl in question, Elosix, was young enough to have little grip on her skills, and the sudden roar of thunder that exploded overhead startled even her. She gave a deep, invested breath and seemed to quell her emotions, though the stormy blue-grey tone her eyes had taken on and the glare directed at Xaldin spoke of lingering bad feeling. Rather than lash out, she calmly took hold of her spray of rainbow hair and suggestively tugged back more tightly.

    “It saddens me to see that you spend so little time with your fellows now,” Xemnas replied curtly. “It would, of course, be Zedexari’s duty to disguise us during this endeavor.” He rolled his gaze to her, a girl little older than Elosix if at all, who sat primly across the room.

    “You ask quite a bit of me.”

    “Surely it’s not beyond you.”

    Young or not, she seemed to understand the implication of weakness, and her eyes flashed violent purple. A blush grew on her pointed face as light enveloped her superior, then receded to reveal that he had completely changed in appearance. A squat little man now stood before them, his head squashed-looking, eyes more than slightly vapid, and what little hair he had seemed to be concentrated in his ears rather than on his scalp. An unflattering image, one that coaxed several giggles from the others and a self-satisfied smirk from Zedexari, but the transformed Xemnas only smiled.

    “You see, Zedexari, you are more capable than you think yourself. All I ask is about thirteen more of these weaves, maintained for hours on end.” She paled slightly, but he pressed on. “Now release this.”

    He waited calmly, stout hands on stouter hips, but from the expression on the girl’s face, she had no intention of obeying.

    “Very well then,” he sighed in a self-sacrificing manner. “I will be one of those on this assignment. Xigbar, I entrust those I leave to your command. Do not fail me.”

    The scarred face of his second-in-command held a comical mixture of surprise, pleasure, and apprehension, for the course he was cautioned against would surely cost him his high rank. Noticing that he was being observed, though, made him scowl sulkily and summon up his dartguns, as if to reaffirm his authority.

    “Of course not, boss. They’ll behave.” He gave one of those sardonic laughs, and suddenly was back in control again, looking over his fellows as if considering what sort of disciplines he could get away with imposing, and how a small a misdemeanor he could excuse them with.

    “Then if I may be so bold, would you come to the centre, Zedexari? And Ferrex, Geregox, Xaldin, Casadix, Thyxier…”

    As he continued to list the names the high horizon of the throne chairs progressively emptied, and soon there was a bare handful remaining seated. The rest thronged together in a sizable group in the middle, looking for all the world as though about to be sentenced to some grim fate. Evidently the general feeling towards this undertaking was still not good.

    “Lighten up, guys!” trilled Jexellei, coral-colored eyes lit up with excitement. The group rolled their eyes in perfect synchronism; it did not say much of that plan that she was so enthused about it, for Jexellei would have been enthusiastic if a trip to a garbage dump had been announced. She was a good bit older than some in the Organization, but thanks to her perpetual sunny chatter, and most especially her inhumanly massive pink eyes, she seemed by far the youngest. “It’ll be fun! Aren’t you sick of seeing white, all the time? Outside there’re green things, blue skies! I bet some of you don’t even rem-“

    Abruptly, although her lips still moved in a rapid babble, no noise was produced. Jexellei didn’t seem so much surprised as annoyed when she realized, and even though there was no way to truly tell the one responsible, she scowled at the back of a flaming ginger crest of hair. And though its owner should not have been able to know what had been done, Ferrex turned around quickly enough to stick his tongue out in Jexellei’s infuriated face. She began to quibble again in spite of having no volume to her words, and he countered by miming her perfectly.

    “I’ve a question,” said Saix coolly, completely ignoring them. Very few of the other members had any reaction beyond mild amusement towards the spectacle taking place. “If and when we find these desirables… what is to be our course of action?”

    “From you, Saix, I don’t expect this, but I should like the rest of you to attempt to persuade them into joining our fellowship, rather than commit an outright hostile murder. They seem to lose strength if it’s not entirely their own prerogative. Both ways will work, as it’s only the mindset that we need to put in place; if they are terrorized sufficiently, they will cede. The darkness can creep over a person extraordinarily quickly.”

    “So we needn’t shy away from violence?” The pale-haired man’s face was eerily divided by the sadistic grin that had grown on his lips.
    “Have we ever? I think we’ve wasted enough time on foolishness. Zedexari will only wait so long.” Xemnas turned his transmogrified body towards her, and she flushed again.

    “Indeed I will, but I should tell you… their disguises won’t be as complete as yours. My ability’s going to be spread almost too thin for me to control, and I’ll assume you’d rather have a little bit of assured disguise than an elaborate cloaking that could die out at the wrong moment.”

    With an appraising nod, her leader gave his consent, and the girl, flipping her long black pigtails behind her, conjured a tiny glowing sphere in front of her eyes. As she stared at it, she seemed to be trying to drill a hole in it through sheer intensity of gaze, but far from losing mass it swelled steadily. With barely a waver, the thing had grown larger than its creator, and she seemed to strain herself more now. At last, when it was in danger of exploding from the look of things, she gave a short, sharp twist of her neck, and the ball of light struck the congregation. The maelstrom of light was at once both beautiful and ominous, for within its depths hunters were being created; hunters which would soon be unleashed on the unsuspecting world.

  24. #24

    Default

    I would like to say more about these chapters, but I have to say, I'm having trouble taking in all of what happened in these last few chapters I haven't been able to read until now. I'm seeing Rion's character devolepment reaching its peak, as well as the full plot begining to unfold. It's began obvious that this story's plot will be much more intricate and 'full' than your Shades Of Gray's. I'm glad to see the Orginization starting to rear their heads, and the characters you added seem to flow well together. There's not much more I can say than that, though I'm quite glad that the story is begining to unfold a bit more.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    ...
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Yay, my reviewer's back! ^^

    Yep, we're getting to the relevant portion of the story now, and it's much better isn't it? Shades of Gray was so linear, even if I didn't realize it at the time; I guess that accounts for why many of the chapters were excruciatingly boring to write. I don't think a single chapter has actually done that this time around. Some I like less than others (*coughRion/Arianashippingcough*), but...

    As for not entirely following what's going at this point, you're not supposed to. There are plenty of pieces missing from the puzzle that we've left out, although some of them aren't too hard to guess. There's still time for it to come together.

    Chapter 17


    However much distress Ariana had shown when Rion informed her of his plan, it was a minimal amount compared to what it multiplied into when she allowed it to fester over the hours. She was an empathetic person by nature, and though she laughed at herself for it, sometimes, her boyfriend of only a few weeks was capable of stirring grand sentiment in her teenage heart. Her more reasonable self wanted to stay by him, if only to remind him of how singularly impractical his decision would prove to be. And yet, shamefully and more than a little strangely, the diminutive part of her ruled by aforementioned sentiment admired his courage. And than there was the little voice in her head, a peculiarly active presence in her, that said she had no right to judge Rion’s choices even if he were to choose to throw himself off a bridge.

    Having walked a relatively straight path all her life, Ariana had never experienced conflict in any capacity as far as her own decisions; there was a right thing and a wrong thing to do in every situation, and only one of them had ever been for her. Now that her neat little path had suddenly sprouted a few forks, she had been shaken enough to freeze in her confidant walk through life. She was ashamed of that now. Rion’s paths must have doubled over on themselves in their complexity, and he never faltered.
    Subconsciously, that was the very nature of her attraction to him, as he was strong, blunt and steadfast enough to match her own convictions. Though she didn’t recognize this, she did grasp enough of it to feel that she owed it to him to not to spiral into an emotional wreck, and from then on committed to doing exactly that.

    Still unsure of how able to keep her resolution she would be if she entered her boyfriend’s presence, she didn’t go back to him. Instead, she found her paintbrush and a stunningly white canvas to be a great comfort, and devoted herself to the effigy of a fragile blue bird which her distracted hand sketched out. It turned up in her work with clockwork regularity when she felt upset, as if ultramarine feathers were a chosen remedy for any ills. Thankfully it was also quite conducive to thought, and by the end of the three-hour session, she had some notion of what to do. Though she found the exquisitely shaded bird to be far from her best work, she kissed the handle of her brush and touched it to the image with lips that trembled in their satisfaction.

    Ariana loved her canvas and brushes, and would as soon have given them up as ripped off her arm. But though she dabbled in it on occasion, her skill was somewhat diminished in the area of computer artistry, and so vital to her plan was this that she found herself wishing to be able to upgrade her old-fashioned style. The document had to look convincing, but whichever way she arranged the print, however many boxes she imposed on the separate paragraphs, the thing simply refused to look as she thought it should. An example to copy from could perhaps be found online, but Ariana, still a very docile girl at heart, shuddered to think of the limitless disapproval her parents were bound to feel, should they check her search history. Finally she tired of experimenting, and printed it out with a sigh. “It only has to stand up to a little scrutiny, anyway. No one who sees it is going to know what they’re supposed to be looking at.”

    After hiding the sheet of paper in a folder placed in a binder shoved into her art portfolio under her bed, the girl finally felt somewhat safe, enough to lie on her frilly bed with eyes as wide as a bush baby’s. The voice told her that she was being silly, that nobody who happened across it could ever know what it was or what she planned to do with it, but she could not repress the unpleasant feeling that she was sleeping over a ticking time bomb. She wanted it out of the house, but it was far too late to think about delivering it now. She wanted the blame away from her. A wave of disgust rolled over her when she realized that even when she was in the clear, all she would have done would be to pass the blame to Rion.

    Rion. She thought she had a note he’d written her someplace. She began to grope about wildly in the darkness, desperate for it beyond reason. Finally her fingertip brushed the edge of a torn page, and she grabbed at it. It was ludicrous to think that she could read it in the pitch darkness around her, but Ariana fancied she could, at least a little. In truth, she had memorized it.

    Thanks for coming over again, Ari, and helping me out again. Luna and Lee-Lee are grateful, and so am I. Life’s a little difficult for me now. No parents, no school, no security. Everything’s been turned around, but I know you’ll stay on my side, where I need you. Knowing that is what keeps getting me through the day.

    Rion

    Written in blocky, non-descript print, the note, a surprise stealthily inserted into her math textbook some four days earlier, had lost none of the poignancy that had very nearly caused her to cry when she had received it. It held a message her bashful boyfriend, however unafraid of petting and praising her, would never vocally express, but she thought she liked it better written down. This way it was a physical reminder of her motives just then. She held it to herself a moment, glad of the darkness, then tucked it under her pillow, leaving only the corner exposed. Though Ariana was a notoriously violent sleeper when distressed, the note budged not a centimeter. It stayed stoically in place all night, a looseleaf talisman that got her through the night.

    ***

    Setting out the following morning was nowhere near as trying as the girl might have anticipated it to be. The calm from the past night seemed to have seeped into her very bones, and she trotted past her parents and straight out into the street with the sheet in plain view. Few enough people wandered the sandstone streets of her district at such an early hour, so she was free to skip and hum and generally make the walk to Rion’s house a far more pleasant affair than it had a right to be. The only place that she feared to tread was the square, where people woke at the crack of dawn, and so a detour around the clock tower was promptly taken. She ran her hand delicately across the stonework with no small fondness, remembering the time Rion had taken her to the very top. Perhaps he’d like to go back, she thought with a smile. If she hadn’t been set on completing her mission, she would have hurried up the steps in a trice, very eager for a lark in the midmorning sun.

    Though she was no burglar, she found the quiet, cat-like movements to come quite naturally to her when she entered Rion’s home. She had never before used the convenient side door, and though she thought she knew where it led, the tunnel-like structure of the hall was perplexing. It was a cramped and confined little space, shaped in stone that looked to have been literally chiseled into obedience. She was wary to shut the door behind her, but as if on cue some strange light flickered into being overhead, bars of neon, yet unstable light. The small luminance was only enough to see that she had a long trek before her, but she plowed bravely on, feeling like the heroine of a movie. A few times she felt paranoia grip her, a sickly combination of the rushing sensation of oxygen lessening in presence and dizziness brought about by the tunnel’s roundabout ways. It seemed to twist and turn more than it ran straight, unnecessarily in most cases, as if designed by a child. Finally a square of gloomy grey light alerted her to the fact that the ordeal was nearing its end, and her hands scrabbled across the surface in search of the doorknob that absolutely had to be there. In her franticness she tripped on a crevice and fell against the door, and it swung open complacently, leaving her staring at a row of prison bars.

    Her first reaction was to scream, but she suppressed it. Slowly her senses filtered back into her and she began recognizing the room outside of her confines. After a respectable few seconds it occurred to her that she hadn’t left Rion’s house. As she turned, her thoughts were confirmed for her by the shape that stood ominously in the single beam of sunlight, features cast in darkness. All of a sudden she felt like an intruder in the kennel of a hostile dog, and the lack of bait-meat was conspicuous.

    “I wasn’t expecting that,” laughed Felicity, though there was no merriment in it. “Surely I haven’t been here long enough to find a blessed trap door.”

    Ariana was tense, but became a little less so when she realized that there was little the woman could do to her. She was still conscious of the fact that the escape route for her prison lay behind her, and consequently pulled one of the wooden crates lying about the fringes of the room up in front of the opening.

    “You won’t get to use it,” she said defiantly, flopping onto her seat.

    “No? Well, there’s always tomorrow.” She punctuated that with a cackle that would have put Snow White’s evil queen to shame. Ariana winced.

    “How has it been, living here?” the girl asked.

    With startling abandon the older woman flung herself against a heap of boxes draped in an old burgundy blanket, which miraculously did not tumble atop her head. The dust that flew about in a frenzy was thick enough to severely impair her vision, and when Ariana next looked over she saw that Felicity had settled into a cross-legged position on the floor, not directly facing her. The sun fell partially on her, and finally something of her face could be seen. It was more bedraggled than the girl would have thought possible, given her relatively short stay thus far. The brown curls tumbled untidily over one another and around her flesh, revoltingly greasy from more than a week’s worth of neglect. The once-immaculate skin was striped with dusty streaks, and even the tailored white dress appeared to fit more loosely now, creasing all over where it never had before. She was in a sad state, but what most alarmed Ariana was the lack of spirit in her eyes, which she expected much more of in a woman so free with her tyranny. She thought it must have been there before, for nobody came by such eyes naturally, so devoid of anything but a glimmer of desperation that frightened more than she thought it ought to.

    “You don’t seem to be taking it well,” Ariana continued when it became clear that she would receive no response.

    “Taking it well?” Felicity’s voice roamed through a dozen pitches as she spoke. “And I suppose you would take it stoically, like a good girl should. He is making an animal out of me, and now you’ve come to observe his progress. Well, tell me; has he done it yet?”

    “Rion wouldn’t do that,” she answered testily, gripping the sides of the box a little tighter.

    “Wouldn’t he, though? I don’t know what else you could call this. I wouldn’t have believed it of him myself, the way he is with those girls, but then I suppose that’s why he did it. Oh, I still remember how displeased he was with my ways of disciplining his sisters; I don’t believe I’ll ever forget it, not in years anyway. He can be very intense when he wants to be, can’t he?” She glanced over at Ariana, and appeared pleased with the expression of revulsion that she wore plainly. “I know you agree with him, girl, and I must say I’m glad. The world needs a counterpoint to cynical people like myself.

    “For all I hate children, and those two worst of any of them, even I regret my actions slightly. I could have handled it better, but what was I to do? They were forced upon me, all three of them, and no matter how I resisted it, it never seemed to make a difference. It’s astounding how little thought the government gives to the placing of children, seeing as how I made it plain that I would mistreat them. They ignored me, so to show them up I made good on my threats. Never any more than that. I simply can’t bring myself to care about these children, and granted I would not have considered it the greatest misfortune had one of them fallen out a window and died, but I never laid a hand on them until I lost my temper with their foolish jokes! And somehow all this has earned me a surefire trip to Hades, apparently, for the boy doesn’t trust me not to repeat it!”

    There was an unspoken plea in Felicity’s voice for some assurance that indeed, she did not, but Ariana did not venture to give it. She was absorbed in noticing something; some of the dullness had been wiped clear of the woman’s green eyes. Her voice, though threatening to tread those waters again in the last few sentences, had found a steady tone, and she held herself more loosely, no longer looking as though someone held her at the edge of a sheer cliff with a knife to her back.

    “This is good for you,” she said in wonder. “Talking, I mean.” The woman looked back at her with a confusion that was very nearly sassy, and Ariana felt excitement building in her in spite herself. It was against every moral she had ever believed in, every impulse she had ever felt, but the rejuvenation of a spirit so broken only minutes ago made her heart rejoice in an incomprehensible way. As her grin began to grow, so, too, did Felicity mellow out, seeming to have noticed that what she said was true, and an idea came to her.

    “I came here to get something from you, but you’ve gotten something from me. It wasn’t a huge thing, but I’m willing to add to it to equal the value of what I want. Rion’s going to have to drop out of school soon if he doesn’t get some money soon, and the police will start investigating this eventually, when you aren’t heard from ever again.”

    “And you expect me to be sorry? I should love to see him go to prison. I wonder how many years-“Felicity paused in her thoughts as she noticed the girl’s frown, and to Ariana’s wonderment she did not continue to abuse her boyfriend.

    “Whatever you think, I won’t have it,” she said resolutely. “So what I need from you is-“ she paused to thrust the slim folder she had been carrying, pen dangling from the string glued down the spine, at the woman.

    “My signature,” she finished, having swiftly flipped it open. There was expectable bitterness in her voice, but also a note of amusement which Ariana did not entirely like, as though she intended to watch the children struggle with as much cool satisfaction as she did her detective programs. “Is this a real house deed?”

    “No,” said Ariana, figuring it couldn’t hurt to tell someone whose only exposure to sunshine was that which filtered through the glass of her cell window. “I made it.”

    “It’s a fair enough replica, you know,” she commented, having gained some new respect for the girl who had some clear talent in an area in which she herself also dabbled.

    “We can talk about it later, because that’s how I’m going to pay you back. At least once a week, I’ll come down here and sit with you. You can talk about anything you like, and I’ll just listen. It’s pretty clear to me you need to do that. But this has to happen right now, it’s an emergency, and Rion is on the verge of doing something incredibly stupid.”

    Felicity smiled thoughtfully at that last, recalling her own experiences with stupid men, and suddenly a pang of longing to leave this cell came back to her. They had mercifully stayed away in Ariana’s presence thus far, and that fact alone compelled her to snatch the pen up so vigorously she snapped it from the folder.

    “Don’t forget a few dozen copies on the blank sheets at the back. Just in case.”

    As the woman signed her name in stately eighteenth-century script, Ariana felt the satisfaction of achieving far more than one could possibly have hoped for flow powerfully through her, and wondered if she would ever come to feel so fulfilled again.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •