The meeting of the duo.
Chapter 16: A and B
My eyes darted across the room, too nervous and unsettled to remain landed on one spot. Was I scared, nervous?
Yes. Yes, I was. The apprehension within me wasn’t so weak as to let up in another five minutes- I could feel this apprehension course within me as it continued to eat away at my resolve.
“Mmm,” I mumbled, furrowing my brow in agitation. If only I could somehow sneak outside and see what Zine and Real were up to. I was so determined to find out what became of the two that I was starting to make myself feel sick and edgy.
“I shouldn’t have nodded,” I said to myself, smacking myself playfully on the cheek. Perhaps if I hadn’t nodded, Zine wouldn’t have put two and two together and he wouldn’t have even considered that Real was somehow involved with my injuries. “Yep, shouldn’t have nodded.”
And then a second dilemma popped itself into the jumbled mass that was my brain: why should I feel nervous for Real? He had some part in activating my fall from the roof, he hadn’t even visited me once while I was in the hospital, and he hadn’t even came to see if I was okay when I had fallen down on the porch steps just a few minutes ago. In fact, I should be shunning him by this point! I should have shunned him since that day he took me to the Anderson’s house, no, before that! I tilted my head downwards and breathed in low intakes of air, my brown hair cascading over my shoulders like some sick, muddy waterfall.
No, I should have shunned Real since the first time I laid eyes on him.
“Where’s Katie’s diary?!” I screeched, digging my nails into the soft fabric of my bed sheets. Who could have possibly taken it? It wasn’t as if the diary had somehow slipped into a worm hole hidden underneath my mahogany drawers, diaries didn’t just do that. Or if it had, I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened to connect to a white hole in Real’s house, where it would spit the diary out like unwanted matter straight into the hands of that sadistic psycho. Could Real even rig a black hole?
“Robin, what would you do?” I turned my head towards the small dresser that rested beside my bed. On top of the dresser stood a six inch Robin action figure, his arms poised and ready for battle. I had lost his amazing clip-on cape with built-in voice simulator months ago, and even his tiny communicator was lost to the clutter that made up my room. “But you’re still cool Robin.”
Even without the cape and handy dandy communicator, Robin still stood as my one and only idol- for a cartoon character that is. And what exactly would he do in a situation like this? I had three dilemmas to deal with: my broken arm and injuries, Katie’s missing diary, and Zine and Real’s confrontation (assuming that Zine had already confronted him). Which one was worse anyway? Sure, my arm felt horrible and the pain was sometimes too much to handle, but the pain would eventually fade, wouldn’t it? Hopefully?
“Oh no! What if Zine beats Real up!” I cried, raking my fingers through my hair. “Ah! What if Real beats me up! I told on him! Oh, oh, oh, oh!” I reached over my bed and yanked the Robin action figure off the dresser. I brought the figure close to my face, staring intently into it’s black and white mask.
“Robin, I don’t know what to do,” I said airily, trying to dismiss the fact that I was talking to an inanimate object. “Starfire isn’t here to help me with her Starbolts, Raven isn’t here to save me with her Azarath Metrion Zinthos…I don’t think I can defeat Slade on my own.”
I was truly and utterly clueless on how to handle both my problems with Real and my arm. What did Zine do to him, considering if he’s even done anything yet? Would Zine punch Real in the face? Did Zine have that type of nature? I couldn’t even imagine him picking a fight with somebody else, he was too happy and kind to do something like that.
As the minutes passed, with me squirming about my bed trying to figure out a plan to get out of all this mess, the night eventually drew on. I found that I couldn’t even keep my eyes from shutting close as my limbs began to relax into my mattress.
“PJs,” I hissed and sat myself up, my muscles aching in protest. I slowly scrambled from off my bed and made my way towards my closet, where I then grabbed a rather large neon-green T-shirt from off the hanger. Stripping off my play clothes and replacing them with the T-shirt, I shuffled my way towards the light switch and flicked it down. Darkness consumed the room and relaxed my eyes as I made my way towards the bed, collapsing down into it’s fluffiness with a weary sigh.
For now, I could forget about Real and everything unfortunate that seemed to surround him. Right now, all I had on my mind was sleep and its welcoming embrace.
“Goodnight Robin,” I whispered into my pillow, my eyes shutting close inch by inch. With my eyes now shut and my brain clicking off, I eased my muscles and floated off into ever welcoming sleep.
Wasn’t it a little too loud in here?
I sat up from my bed, images of my dream slipping away into sand. I had forgotten what I had dreamt exactly, but it wasn’t anything horrible- actually, it was a bit nice. But now, as I sat on my bed with droopy eyes and weary limbs, that wonderful feeling seemed to elude me. I was tired, exhausted, and peeved after waking up in the middle of the night to some strange noise echoing about my room.
‘Oh!’ I thought. ‘Weird noises…’ Could it be a ghost? I shivered at the thought, because even though I’ve never seen one, I still believed in them, and that thought alone caused me to always fear their nonexistent presence.
While pondering about ghosts and other creatures of that sort, I took the time to look around and examine my room. It was just the dark that happened to add that effect, but I couldn’t help but notice that my room looked eerie. Despite looking spooky, everything was as it should be. The closet was closed, my shoes were still strewn about the floor, my window was also closed…
I jerked my head back to the window, my eyes growing wide in alarm. Tiny pin-pricks of fright eased their way along both my arms. I felt like scratching them away, but I was afraid that if I did that, I’d hurt my already broken arm.
Well then, wasn’t the window open? I nodded my head, recalling that I was thankful for Mom having opened the windows so that the room wouldn’t be all stuffy. I hadn’t closed it, even after going downstairs to question her about Katie’s diary, or even before going to bed for that matter! What if--?
“Mmph!!” I tried to scream, but a cold hand clapped down onto my mouth, restricting me from further sounds. I writhed and squirmed atop the bed, but that only made things worse. Another hand slapped itself onto my stomach, adding pressure to my abdomen so that I collapsed back into the mattress.
“Mm!” I tried to shriek, the hand muffling my cries. I winced and closed my eyes tightly, a blistering pain shooting up the length of my left arm, the broken one. The pain was so immense that I almost knocked out for a moment or two, but I quickly regained my consciousness when the hand on my stomach pressed down even deeper.
I halted at the voice, too scared to move or speak. I knew who the voice belonged to, I knew it very well.
“I’ll get off of you if you promise not to scream.”
With my eyes still shut, I quickly nodded my head, my hair looping over my face like shoe-lace strings. At that moment, the hand removed itself from my mouth, along with the one on my stomach. With relief flooding through me like water from a broken dam, I turned my head away from the leering figure hovering over my bed. I quickly took in deep gusts of breath and tried to remain still so as to ease the pain currently absorbing my arm like hot, white fire.
However, the pain instantly rekindled when I felt the mattress move. I piqued my head and saw that Real was easing his way onto the bed, stealthily moving over my body to get to the vacant spot next to me. All the while, I was shaking my head in protest, the pain in my arm packing an o-mega punch every time Real made a movement.
‘Don’t move anymore! Don’t move anymore!’ I screamed within my mind. My left arm felt as if it were on fire, one of those intense fires that were usually caused by propane tank leaks. It hurt so bad, that after a while, I couldn’t even feel the pain anymore, it just felt like a…numbing hotness.
After Real had settled down into the empty spot beside me, I let out a long breath. Since there were no more movements, there were also no more triggers for pain. I let myself sink into the mattress, trying to keep my body still and straight. The pain was steadily fading away until only a regular numbness could be felt.
“Ha, ha. You look funny,” I heard him say from beside me, a playful tone to his voice. I quickly yanked my head around and shot a murderous glare at him, biting my lip until I tasted the metallic bitterness of blood.
He was laughing?! At my pain?! The blood within my veins boiled to the max, my face flushing in anger. If he thinks he could just lie there and laugh at my pain that he had a hand in causing, then by all means, he is dreadfully, dreadfully confused. A confused, sadist-worshipping, psycho of a boy.
“I hate you so much.”
And I didn’t even regret saying that, nope, not one bit. The atmosphere in the room suddenly turned bone-shattering cold. We were both silent, a silence so lengthy that its expanse sent my mind reeling in spirals.
“Someone’s in a pissy mood,” Real suddenly spoke up, a flat edge to his voice. I didn’t even bother screaming at him, if I had a knife, I would have surely stabbed him to death by now. Oh! But I wasn’t supposed to be thinking that, right? I didn’t want to turn out like him.
“Speaking of pissy moods, a little friend of yours happened to indulge himself today,” he continued on. I turned to him and watched as he lifted a finger to his lip and rubbed it. “Damn hurt too.”
“Hm?” I questioned, furrowing an eyebrow. Real looked at me for a second, squinting one eye in observation before scooting closer to me. I turned my head away from him, my face flushing from the close proximity.
“Look at me,” he whispered. I didn’t want to look at him, truly I didn’t (my stomach was starting to feel queasy), but when haven’t I listened to his commands? What would happen if I didn’t listen, what with him being so close. He could have some hidden weapon hidden in his hair or something and all he’d have to do is wait for the opportune moment to use it. I gave in and turned my head towards him, trying not to waver my glare. I had to size him up with my own glares too you know.
“Do you see it?” he asked slowly, his lips curving into a wicked green. I nodded softly, staring at the beige colored band-aid pasted haphazardly to the left corner of his lip. I really didn’t know what to say to that, so I didn’t. I just continued to stare at the band-aid with no intent on questioning how he got it.
“Peel it off, it’s a surprise,” he egged on cheerfully. I continued to stare at his lip, all the while hesitating on whether I should do as he had said.
“You won’t bite me?” I asked cautiously, fixing him a warning glare. “If you do, I’ll scream!” Real shook his head no, his grin spreading even wider. I continued to stare at him wearily, gulping a wad of spit that seemed to have trouble sliding down my throat.
“Okay,” I breathed. I raised my right hand (my good one) and moved it towards his face, where it halted and hovered over his lips. I took a moment to look him in the eyes, marveling at the way his black orbs glittered against the darkness of my room. The only thing that I could see clearly was his bleached fringe, which swept across his face like a delicate veil, a bleached one at that.
Without thinking, I peeled off the band-aid in one fell swoop, casting it aside like a trivial speck of dust.
“Ouch,” I said under my breath. There was a red patch of blood near the corner of his mouth, the tissue cracked, frayed, and vermilion. I made a disgusted face at him as I watched the blood pool within the wound before it leaked down his chin and onto the bed.
“Ow, you reopened it,” he said dismally. I continued to stare at his bloodied lip, all the while making a grimace. And then a thought suddenly hit me like a fully loaded freight train. Had he gotten that injury from--?
“The pizza-man decked me one today,” Real drawled on lazily, pressing his head into a nearby pillow. Despite the wicked glint in his eyes, he smiled at me playfully. “Then he drove away in his getaway car. I didn’t even pay him either.”
As he stared at me, I began to fidget. I knew Zine would have done something to Real, but I wasn’t expecting a punch. At least it wasn’t something more terrible, like a knife or a gun or something like that. I could imagine Zine looking like an undercover hit-man, but I couldn’t imagine him actually being one.
“The pizza fell on me too,” he continued, capturing my eyes and locking onto them. “Even the cap on the soda whizzed off.” At this, he darkened his eyes and I could feel the malicious aura surrounding them. I shivered and tried to hold that glare, but the fear within me was steadily getting stronger. “I was drenched with soda.”
‘Oh! I’m dead!’ I screamed within my mind. I felt nervous and scared as Real’s aura continued to grow bigger and darker, but at the same time, I was marveling at Zine’s capabilities. How could he have managed to punch Real and cover him with pizza and soda at the same time, truly amazing! I shook my head and tried to remain focused on the situation at hand. There was a sadistic boy lying not a few inches away, and to top it all off, he was looking especially demented and demonic at the moment.
“Happened to mention you as well, but I can’t recall,” he hissed, his grin growing wider than ever before. The cut on his lip began to spread and tear open, the blood seeping through the cracked tissue. If he continued to grin even more, my bed would be soaked!
“Ah, please stop bleeding! If you don’t, then Mom’s gonna’ have to go to the store to buy those cotton rags with wings!” I begged him. “I’m sorry Zine punched you, just stop bleeding!”
Real gave me a bewildered stare for a moment, but it was quickly replaced by his prior intent of maliciousness.
“This is no one else’s business, just yours and mine,” he hissed, his face inches away from mine. “If you don’t stop talking, then I’m going to have to shut you up myself.” I wanted to cry, the way he was talking to me scared the heck out of me. It looked as if he truly wanted to kill me at the moment.
“But I didn’t say anything!” I protested, my voice starting to quiver and quake. He continued to glare at me, obviously not buying it. “I didn’t, I swear!” It was true too- I hadn’t said anything to Zine, I had just nodded to him, that’s all.
“I didn’t say anything, please believe me. I didn’t!” I nearly shouted, trying desperately to convince him. Why was I so scared anyway? Oh, never mind, I knew the answer to that already. His glare was so menacing that my arm was starting to throb. I looked over at my arm and widened my eyes, my mouth opening in a silent gasp. No wonder it had been hurting, his index finger was pushing into the upper part of my arm where the flesh was exposed.
“Ahh--Mmph!!” I managed to scream, but his other hand quickly clamped down over my mouth. As his index finger continued to push into my broken arm, I began to wail and scream into his hand, my body squirming and convulsing atop the bed. The pain- the pain was unbearable, as if someone had sat on top of my broken arm and flattened it.
“Mmmphhfff!!” I continued to shriek, my voice lost to the palm of his hand. I didn’t know when I started to cry, but I could feel the stinging wet tears trail down my cheeks like waterfalls, staining the bed with their moistness. “Mmmmppphhhh!!”
I could feel the bed shaking, due to my enraged squirming. With every ounce of energy that I had, I managed to open my eyes, and what I saw made me cry even more.
He was staring down into my face, a wicked grin plastered upon his lips. His black orbs were shining, from what, I didn’t know, but it looked pretty much like sick fascination. As his index finger pressed down even further, I began to claw at his hand that was still clamped over my mouth. I dug my nails into his skin, scratching at it until I was sure that I felt blood. I was doing everything and anything in my power to get his finger off my skin and for the pain to stop. How much longer could I take?
“Hmph,” he breathed, his finger retreating from my arm. I gasped in relief as the pain began to dull into nothing but an irritating throb. I bit my lower lip and brought my other hand to one of my eyes, rubbing my knuckles over my closed eyelids to quell the tears away.
“Mm,” I sobbed to myself, turning my head side to side. I could feel the strands of hair around my ears cling to my wet cheeks, making me feel uncomfortable and uneasy.
“Do you see this?”
I opened my eyes and moved my hand away from my face, staring up at him with red rimmed eyes. I parted my lips as I saw Katie’s diary held firmly within his hand, his black nailed fingers drumming over the fuzzy cover.
“This is mine,” he began, waving the diary in the air. “It’s none of your business what the hell she writes, you won’t understand it anyway.” He lowered the diary and tilted his head, his glare becoming a stagnant glower. “I want you to promise me that you’ll never steal from me again.”
I stared up at him in perpetual shock, my tongue quivering but never moving to make a sound. My mouth felt dry and hot, as if a desert was somehow located in there. I hadn’t thought that the diary had been stolen, I merely thought that I had somehow misplaced it. So it hadn’t been Mom who had opened my window, it was Real- to steal the diary back. I hiccupped at the sudden realization.
“Say it,” I heard him growl. I gulped and ripped my eyes away from the diary to his face.
“I promise,” I whispered lifelessly, too afraid to say anything else. In that instant, Real snapped away from me and gracefully got off the bed, Katie’s diary in tow. He walked over towards my opened window and halted, his head peering over his shoulder.
“I’ll see to that then,” he said wryly, slanting his eyes. “Don’t think that I’m going to go soft on you just because you’re a little girl, remember that next time.” And with that, he bound out my open window.
With a shuttering breath and a barely audible gasp of relief, I brought my hand to my chest and cupped the area over my heart- it was beating rather fast. I had to be careful next time; should I lock my windows now? I suppose I couldn’t confide in Zine anymore, since he’d make matters only worse. I knew he was only trying to help, but at the risk of my physical torture? No.
I stared up at my ceiling, my breathing beginning to grow shallow and relaxed. I could still stop him, I really could, I would just have to try harder now. The loss of Katie’s diary was a big let down, but I could still think up of something to aid me, right?
With a still aching left arm, my eyes drifted close and my mind began to slowly shut down. With a weary sigh, I let a weighted sleep descend upon me without falter.
My cheeks tinged pink at the multiple stares currently being stabbed into my broken arm- I could practically feel them. Suddenly, my cast felt too big and too heavy and I wanted it off, if it only spared me from the embarrassing stares that I was receiving.
As my eyes scanned the length of the classroom, the embarrassment suddenly left me and relief perked up instead. Chin-Mae was sitting quietly in a two-seater desk towards the back of the room, his hands folded into his lip. He must have seen me, for his eyes suddenly grew wide and his lips parted open.
I eagerly walked over to him and took a seat beside him, throwing my backpack haphazardly to the ground. I flashed him a genuine smile, now at ease at having my foreign friend beside me again.
“What happened to your arm?” he asked in sketchy English, his eyes still wide and speculative. I grinned at him, too eager to tell my story.
“I fell off a roof,” I explained, pointing an index finger towards my cast.
“Roof?” he asked quizzically.
“You know, a roof, a really high one.”
He shook his head in confusion. I took the opportunity to raise my arms over my head (I winced as a dull pain shot up my broken arm) and made a triangle above my head, resembling the roof of a house.
“The top part of a house, a roof,” I explained happily, bringing my arms down.
“Oh,” he simply said, still staring at my cast. “Did it hurt lots?”
“Hurt so much that I had to go to the hospital,” I replied, leaning back into my chair.
“Is that why you were not here for a very long time?”
A momentary silence passed while I turned in my seat, tapping my fingers along the wooden surface of my desk. I bet I would have a lot of homework to make up because of my one week absence, that I wasn’t looking forward to, but I was glad that I was able to see Chin-Mae again. I was always happy when I was around him, he was my school buddy.
“I’m happy you are back,” he whispered suddenly. He turned to me and pushed his glasses up, smiling a pleasant smile.
“I’m happy too,” I whispered back, giving him a thumbs up. “Were you lonely here?”
“Mmhm,” he answered, nodding his head subtly.
“Did anyone pick on you?”
“No,” he replied hesitantly.
“’Cause I’ll sock them for you if they did, just tell me, I really will--.”
“Ah, Rachel, you’re finally back!” Mr. Woody’s voice boomed above me, nearly scaring the farts out of me.
“It’s Rey!” I corrected him, tilting my chin up and sticking my nose into the air. How many times was I going to have to tell this guy?
“Why don’t you like Rachel, it’s a nice name,” Mr. Woody asked, furrowing an eyebrow. I glared up at him, licking my lips.
“It sounds like roaches and churros,” I explained indignantly.
“Hmm…anyway, here’s your homework packet,” he chirped, placing a neatly stapled pack of papers onto my desk. “It’s mostly cursive exercises, so it shouldn’t be too hard, but there’s also a couple of pages on long division. You can ask Chin-Mae to help you with that, he seems to have it down pretty nicely.”
With that, the bell rang, and Mr. Woody quickly retreated from my desk to stand in front of his own. Looking to Chin-Mae and giving him another thumbs up, I prepared myself for the regular boring school day.
“Bye bye, Chin-Mae! I’ll see you tomorrow!” I hollered, watching as Chin-Mae steadily got into the back seat of his silver car. He waved at me and shut the door, the car driving off at a reasonable speed.
Immediately, I spun myself around and began to jog towards home, not turning around to see if Real was standing outside his school or not. I didn’t feel like talking to him or seeing him at all- I just wanted to go home without any more predicaments happening.
When I walked a considerable distance, I began to calm down and slow my pace. I was now walking at a comfortable speed without the usual tension that usually followed. Maybe if I started avoiding Real at all costs, my life would be less painful, however, would that really help me in stopping him from going on to torturing more defenseless girls? I shook my head; no, it wouldn’t.
As I continued to walk down the sidewalk, my mind was growing more and more restless. With my backpack steadily thumping into my back, I raised my good arm and raked my fingers through my hair, wincing as they got stuck in the tiny tangles that were there.
What was I supposed to do? How was I going to go about stopping him? It wasn’t as if I could just go up to him and scold him, like a mother would do- it wouldn’t work on him anyway. I wrinkled my nose as I passed by a nearby bus stop, the bus halting in front of its designated area to let off its passengers. The exhaust fumes quickly filtered through my nostrils and sent me sputtering, like soda usually did when you took your first sip.
“Hurry the hell up Becca, the bus isn’t going to wait for you.”
I immediately halted.
“Uh-uh, I don’t feel comfortable. The bus is too far away from the curb, I could fall.”
My fingers were jittering at their sides, my broken arm suddenly starting to throb.
“Hurry up, girl, I’m on a schedule,” a gruff voice growled (probably the bus driver’s).
“See, what did I tell you. Hurry up!”
“No, no! I can’t Anne, I just can’t, not right now. Wait a few seconds.”
“Oh my freaking Jesus!”
Was my heart even beating as I listened to these two female voices, their names ringing murder bells in my mind? Anne and Becca, Anne and Becca…was it really them, the Anne and Becca?
I spun myself around, my jaw falling open at the pair. The tall one, Becca was it, was still inside the bus, biting her lip in cowardice. The short one, Anne, was outside, her shoulders hunched and her face fuming. Remembering Katie’s journal description, Anne was the dark tempered one and Becca was the weirdo. They looked different from what I had seen on the picture, but not too different. Anne’s hair was cropped to her shoulders, but it still hung in her face like a spider web.
“Get. Off. Now.!” Anne bellowed, making fists with her fingers. “If you don’t get out right now, so help me God, Becca, I’ll rip you away from there.”
“Okay, okay, I’ll get off.!” Becca said quickly. I watched as she slowly climbed down the bus steps and hastily jumped over the gap to the curb. Then for some reason, her jaw dropped. “Oh crap, oh no.”
I was frozen in my place, as if my feet were glued to the cement- it was because she was staring right at me. Anne followed Becca’s gaze, her head slowly turning around. As soon as her brown eyes landed on me, her gaze darkened and a nasty glare soon replaced it. I gulped in fear, the pain in my arm doubling ten-fold.
“Oh, it’s the current victim.”
Hah, another chapter completed- I feel good now. Freaking Mother of Christ, the duo appears.