Chapter numero deux :P
So... erm, enjoy! :D
The young girl skipped down the forest trail, swinging her now empty wicker basket. It was nightfall, and she should have been home by sunset. but she hadn’t noticed the time when she had been sitting with her Grandma, and although a lot of local girls had been going missing in the Forest of Marbaden, she was not at all worried. Her mother had already assured her that as long as she stayed on the forest path and was home before it was dark then she would be fine.
And it wasn’t really too dark yet, the moon and stars were out... but hadn’t been for long, and she was almost home anyway. She could tell because the trees were thinning out signaling the edge of the forest was near.
As she skipped, she noticed a blackberry bush nearby. She paused to look at it, the berries were ripe and it was the best time of the year to pick them. She knew she could always return in the morning with her mother... but it wouldn’t take her long to pick some now, and then she could have some for breakfast the next morning. Besides, the bush wasn’t too far from the path - she would still be able to see the path very clearly if she went to get some berries.
'I'll only be a moment.'
She thought, and skipped over to the bush. Once she reached it she looked over her shoulder and smiled. There was the path, barely three feet away. She was hardly off the trail at all, there was nothing to worry about. And there was a gap in the canopy where the moonlight shone brightly down on her, allowing her to see easily.
Yes. She would only be a moment.
The girl hummed to herself as she picked the berries. She could hardly believe her luck, they were large and ripe and she was sure he mother would be most pleased when she returned with them. She wouldn’t even be punished for returning late now she had the berries with her. She could say that they were on the trail... her mother would have nothing to complain about.
The girl was so focused in picking the berries she didn’t notice the trees moving around her. The roots coming out of the ground and moving like spiders legs, shifting the trees and carrying them to a different spot. The trees didn’t travel far, but it was enough to rearrange the whole forest.
As the girl picked the berries she felt an odd sensation down her spine. A sort of tingling, and she looked up, even as she continuing picking. She felt as if she were being watched, and the silence around her suddenly seemed tense, as if it were about to break at any moment. She bit her lip, reaching out for another blackberry - accidentally grabbing a thorn instead. She gasped and drew her hand back sharply, looking down at the bead of blood on her fingertip.
Somewhere, a wolf howled.
The girl jumped and backed away from the bush, looking around her for the trail but she couldn’t see it through the trees... she had been sure it had been right there.
She began to hurry forward, putting her hurt finger into her mouth and sucking the blood away, her eyes darting around her for the trail and any sign of the wolf she had heard. Wolves were dangerous, they were faster than she could ever be, and probably capable of jumping quite high up a tree if she tried to climb one.
Frightened, the girl quickened her pace as a large gust of wind blew her red hood back from her face. Her long blonde hair fluttered behind her along with her red silk cape as the trees creaked and the wolf howled again, louder this time. The girl gasped and turned, trying to spot the creature, coming face to face with an old, dead tree. Its branches moved in the wind and then came down, scratching her arms as if trying to grab her.
Screaming, the girl turned and ran, not caring about the trail anymore. Something was not right and she knew she wouldn’t be able to find it even if she searched all night. But she didn’t have all night, the wolf sounded close and the trees looked as if they were moving, as if they were trying to catch her.
She was petrified, and her red hooded cape was coming loose - her mother had made it for her and she didn’t want to lose it, but she had no time to retie the lace.
She dodged through gaps in the trees and tripped over rocks and roots. She could hear twigs snapping as someone ran after her and tears brimmed in her eyes. She was lost and whoever or whatever was after her was too close for comfort.
But then a gap in the trees appeared and she could see a long stretch of grass through it. The field was dotted with rolls of hay and she could see the gatekeeper’s house, the town, safe and welcoming behind it.
With a gasp of joy she ran faster, her basket dropping from her hands in her haste. She was going to make it.
Her heart hammered as she tore out of the trees and into the field, the wind getting worse and the first bangs of thunder rolling through the sky. She reached the middle of the field and risked a glance behind her, screaming at what she saw. Her scream was heard by the gate keeper who shuffled out of his house with his walking stick, holding up a lantern. He was old and had poor eyesight, squinting he held the lantern up higher.
"Whose there?" He called.
The girl turned back to face the town and tripped on some raised ground, she fell to her knees and crawled over the grass as fast as she could, too afraid and tired to get to her feet.
"Hey! Can you hear me?" The old gate keeper called, squinting more through the darkness. He was sure he had heard someone.
The girl tried to scream to him but her breath came out in ragged bursts, her lungs aching from all the running. She turned onto her back to see if it was still there, its shadow falling over her as she used the last of her breath to give out a loud, tired scream.
"Where are you!?" Cried the gatekeeper. All he could see was the hay on the field, and the trees in the distance, swaying violently in the wind. And he was sure... though he couldn’t be certain with his eyes... that there was a bright red cape, caught on one of the higher branches. Fluttering like a flag.
"Yes, we stuck together!" Mikey said loudly, slamming his tankard onto the wooden bar table. The Mayor was sat beside him, drinking heavily from his own tankard, the Miller stood by, laughing nervously as he nodded his head.
"And you!" Mikey cried, turning to point at the Miller. "You were very brave weren’t you?" He slurred, getting to his feet as the Miller blushed and grinned, Mikeys hand coming down onto his shoulder more for support than for affection.
"Who’s a brave Miller? You are!" He slurred, in the same tone one usually reserved when talking to small children or puppies.
The Tavern was filled with people, the whole town seemed to have settled inside it, to dance to the fevered playing of the violinists and drink in celebration on the Brothers Way - the heroes of the evening.
Fires crackled in the grates, two on either side of the room, the floor was covered in hay to soak up any drink, vomit or blood that may be spilt. Chickens wandered round the feet of the many towns’ people. Hot and drunk, enjoying the evening.
Gerard was stone cold sober however, which was not a common occurrence during the times he and Mikey were praised for 'banishing' monsters. Usually. he was the drunken one, and Mikey was sober. Sat in a corner, writing or observing quietly. The tables hadn’t quite completely turned, since Gerard was not at all interested in writing in a corner. He was however, sober for once. But he didn’t know where Mikey was, or if he had chosen to drink that night.
Gerard wandered slowly through the bodies of people dancing until he spotted what he was looking for. Pretty girls. Two of them, sat on either side of a fat, drunk man. They were both blonde, in blue dresses with matching bonnets. But he wasn’t interested in their clothes, the sooner they were off the better.
He looked about, spotting a young boy of about ten, jumping up and down to the beat with an equally young girl. Possibly his sister. Gerard patted the boys shoulder and handed him his full tankard, having no need for it himself.
"Drink up." He encouraged as the boy gave the girl an excited grin and scurried away with the tankard. Gerard smirked and then sauntered over to the two women, who looked up as he approached. The man between them was too drunk to notice.
"Gerard Way." He announced loudly, standing up straight and proud. "Shall we?" He asked with a killer smile, bowing a little and holding out his hand. The two girls looked at each other. uncertain as to who the invitation was for. When he grinned at them both, they both seized the chance - along with his hand, and giggled madly as he pulled them to their feet and onto the dance floor.
"Nothing comes between us brothers!" Mikey slurred, still walking with the Miller. They faced each other, the Miller having to walk backwards, but they were both too drunk to care. They passed long tables of people and large barrels of ale, the Miller still grinning madly. Slightly star struck and immensely pleased that one of the Brothers was giving him attention.
"Not wicked witches -" Mikey cried, and he and the Miller clashed tankards as they both shouted "Nooo!"
"And not... vicious beasts in the sky!" Mikey cried, even louder, and they clashed tankards again. "Nooo!" Giggling a little.
"And not murderous Queens!" Mikey practically growled, drawing at the word 'queens' as the Miller laughed and nodded, their tankards clashing again, ale spilling over their hands. "Nooo!"
"And not even..." Mikey looked around, before grabbing a playing card off a nearby table. "- God father death -" He licked the card and slapped it onto his forehead, the Joker sticking to it as the Miller laughed drunkenly, Mikey continuing, waving his tankard around, shouting out to anyone who would listen.
"Because only the truest of truthful love could ever beat the GRIM REAPER!" He threw his arms in the air as the Miller slung an arm over his shoulders. "I'nt that right Gee!?" Mikey called, and Gerard - who was dancing with the two women, looked over his shoulder to call back 'Absolutely' before applying his focus back to the two girls.
Mikey gave a loud cackle, dancing around with the equally drunk Miller and shouting 'the grim reaper' over and over again.
He suddenly released the Miller and jumped onto a table, waving his arms around.
"I've got a story, I've got a story! Shh shh!" He slurred loudly. No one paid him any attention except the star struck Miller, who looked up at him still grinning madly. Mikey didn’t seem to notice that the music was still playing, and people were still dancing, because he continued anyway.
"Once upon time -" He called, pushing his glasses up his nose. "There was an Imp, whose name we had to guess. We had to ride down to the flaming underbelly of hell to find out but we did it!" He cried, Gerard frowning and watching him even as he continued dancing.
"WE DID IT!" Mikey shouted again proudly, raising his hands to his face in a thoughtful expression as he grinned drunkenly. "And I'll tell you something else, this business is quite a rich one if you know what I mean." He grinned cheekily, raising his fingers to the side of his glasses and pushing them up sloppily as Gerard stopped dancing to gape at him.
"There is quite a lot of money to be made in Witches." Mikey continued, unaware of Gerard storming over until he was dragged off the table, almost falling over in his drunkenness. Gerard steadied him and gave him a hard glare.
"Mikey!" He hissed, glancing around. He noticed some people watching and grinned widely, jabbing a thumb at Mikey. "He cant hold his ale!" He called, laughing falsely as Mikey threw up his arms and tipped his head back, shouting to the heavens.
"I CANT HOLD ME ALE!" He joined the whole room in a loud cheer as people laughed and held up their own tankards. But the cheering soon ceased, along with the music as French soldier stormed into the tavern. They whipped off their outdoor capes and removed their hats, barging past people even though everyone except the most drunk had pressed themselves out of the way against the walls.
The soldiers walked across the room, hitting people’s drinks off the table and hissing insults to whoever they passed - just because they could. Mikey, who had been pressed into a corner by Gerard, suddenly lunged forward behind the soldier and giggled behind his hand as he pointed at their backs. Leaning forward to talk to the people on one of the tables.
"Lookie Francs." He hissed, getting louder as he spoke, his words badly slurred. "Hey, kiss a froggie a -" He hiccoughed and then continued. "And it turns into a prince." He giggled madly and the soldiers paused, the one closest to Mikey turned around along with the others with an annoyed expression. Gerard seized Mikeys shoulder and spun him round.
"Mikey - stop it!" He hissed, pushing his brother to the back of the room before turning face a table as the soldiers began a slow, menacing walk towards him.
He bit his lip and looked around, spotting a bottle of wine he seized it and turned to face the soldiers, grinning widely - showing his white teeth and trying to seem normal.
"Hello!" He cried brightly. "Bonjeur." He added with a mischievous grin as the soldiers looked confused at the greeting. "Something full blooded!" Gerard held up the bottle and quickly scanned the label, frowning at the word but trying to pronounce it anyway.
"Perhaps a gorgeous Chataniftycan." Gerard was fairly certain he had just said something that wasn’t even a word, and by the looks on the soldier’s faces he was probably right. He only hoped they believed it was a fancy term for a wine that only Gerard knew because he was an expert. To keep with this theme, he slung his arm around the nearest soldier and began casually walking them up the bar away from Mikey.
"Come. 1792... very good year." He said softly, pushing Mikey down onto a seat as he walked by. "Think of the revolution." He said, trying his best to keep the soldiers distracted. One of the younger ones seized the bottle of wine and used his teeth to pull out the cork. Gerard rolled up as his sleeves as he turned to face him.
"Ah - don’t be so hasty my friend. Better to let something like that breathe." He said smoothly, continuing to talk utter nonsense which he hoped the soldiers believed as he looked around to see Mikey grinning as he spoke to the barman.
Eventually, the Soldiers were sufficiently distracted and they strolled away, taking the wine with them - forgetting about the drunk man who had called them frogs. Gerard however, had not forgotten, and he stomped over to Mikey, seizing him by the ear and dragging him across the dance floor. Mikey hissed with pain and twisted out of Gerard’s grip as they reached the two women Gerard had been dancing with earlier. He switched his glare swiftly into an easy smile and rubbed his hands.
"So ladies, since the music appears to have turned horribly French - why don’t we continue our physiological conversation upstairs." He suggested, causing the women to giggle and look at each other. Gerard grinned, forgetting his anger and turning to Mikey though he kept his eyes on the women.
"What do you say Mikey? A little tit a little tat." He chuckled, winking at the women. Mikey rolled his eyes and stumbled away.
"A little huff a little puff." He slurred, going over to one of the fireplaces and leaning his hands on the wall. The girls looked offended and Gerard grabbed their hands, pulling them into his arms so that they smiled again.
"Don’t worry... mythical damsels and princesses are all he's really concerned with -" He went to say their names... keep things intimate. But he had forgotten them, so he hesitated a moment, squeezed their shoulders and then turned them round towards the stair case, grinning as casually as ever.
"Well then - the magic awaits." He finished instead, leading them to the stairs. As they ran up them, giggling he laughed and said "I know, we can play my favorite game - whose the fairest of them all?" The girls giggled some more, hurrying up the stairs, giving Gerard time to lean over the banister and call to Mikey.
"Beans Mikey - Beans!" His younger brother turned to look at him, swaying in his drunkenness and Gerard tapped the side of his head. "Beans!" He repeated. Mikey tried to contort his face into a confused expression and Gerard snarled, waving his hands.
"Your an idiot!" He snapped, before racing up the stairs after the girls.
Mikey sighed, even in his drunken state he knew he had once again annoyed his brother somehow. He was slightly confused... Gerard always complained he never 'let his hair down' or had 'any fun' - so he had drank himself into a stupor to try and please him yet it had backfired - just like usual.
Mikey groaned and leaned his hands back on the wall, feeling dizzy and lightheaded.
From beside the stair case, a man watched him.
"Uhmm... Beans!...uh, magic..." Mikey rolled around in his bed, hugging the pillow and slurring his words still, but from sleep instead of drink this time. In the double bed against the wall, Gerard was sleeping, wearing one of the women’s bonnets, the two of them curled up on either side of him, their hair loose around their shoulders. A long black shadow fell over them, the man turning his head to glance at Mikey who continued to fidget in his tiny camp bed.
"Umm... trolls... Giants that'll... rip out your heart..." He moaned.
The man turned his face back to the double bed and looked at the women surrounding Gerard. He touched them both and their eyes shot open, the two of them letting out blood curdling screams at the same time. Gerard hushed them and patted their shoulder, his eyes still closed - thinking they had woken from Mikeys sleep talking.
"Goodnight... Way..." The mans accent was strongly French and Gerard’s eyes open, he saw the stranger leaning over him and let a scream that sounded even girlier than the women’s. The man seized him by the collar of his full length pajamas and dragged him out of the bed.
Gerard had time only to see a mane of auburn curls before the man turned and shouted at Mikey, who continuing mumbling in his sleep. Snarling, the man leaned down and grabbed Mikey, pulling him to his feet and wrenching the balls of cotton out of his ears - something Mikey used when Gerard had girls round.
"What’s going on?" Mikey yawned, still hugging his pillow as the man threw the balls of cotton in his face.
"Ugh! How canna you speak in zis language?" He asked in his French drawl. Turning towards the still screaming girls, clinging to each other in the bed. "Everybody isa like an executioner." He brushed his leather gloved hand over the girl’s mouths and they stopped screaming instantly, too afraid to open their mouths. He chuckled darkly to himself and swept across the room towards the window. He wore a long black cape and black tunic, a black hat squeezed down over his curls.
"Your horses are a ready." He rolled his R's slightly and Gerard frowned in confusion, Mikey still yawning. "Avante!" The man cried and two men stood outside the Tavern below the window, set fire to the Brothers horses’ tails. The animals whinnied in fear and began running through the streets, their tails ablaze. The French men laughed and jeered as Gerard stared in horror.
The man with the curls turned to grin at them, sneering at the sight. They both wore faded white 'Long johns', Gerard still wearing the bonnet, and Mikey practically asleep on his feet, hugging his pillow to his chest.
"Ugh Gee, yagoshroponyufort" He yawned and Gerard glanced at him with a frown.
"What?" He snapped.
"You got rope on your foot." Mikey repeated, and Gerard looked down to see that he did indeed, have rope on his foot. The French man grinned and waggled his gloved fingers at the brothers.
"Chow." He laughed, and the rope was suddenly pulled taught, knotting about both Brothers ankles and dragging them onto their buttocks before pulling them across the floor. Both Gerard and Mikey cried out, the bonnet falling from Gerard’s head and the pillow from Mikeys hands. They flailed their arms and legs and they were pulled painfully down the stairs and across the now empty bar. Mikey reached out and tried to grab one of the ale barrels, but he caught the cork instead and it popped free, spraying ale over them both.
Infront of them two French men were waiting with swords, and the Brothers screamed, holding up their arms in defense of an expected attack, but instead the French men merely cut the ropes, bringing them to a stop. But in their panic, Mikey kicked out and Gerard slammed his fists down over one of the men’s heads. The man yelled in pain and Gerard jumped to his feet as the other man pinned Mikey to the floor.
"GEE!" Mikey screeched as Gerard raced from the tavern, slipping through a puddle of mud before running down the street, stumbling and looking over his shoulder.
"Never fear Mikey - for I shall return for you!" He cried, falling flat on his face as a rock pelted him in the back of the head.
The man with mane of curls laughed from the bedroom window and leaned out into the night.
"Nice try." He cackled.