Entering the world under the land... the Underworld. (Has nothing to do with the Hell or where the dead go, though)
Not much was said as I was led to Gerard's house. I asked him once how far away it was, and he said the entrance was near. "It's here, in the cemetery." I looked at him puzzled, and opened my mouth to ask another question, but he quickly whispered, "We'll talk when we get there; it's not safe right now."
With a smirk, I started to tell him, "Man, I think you're taking this a bit too far, I mean, those guys aren't gonna-" but was silenced by the look on his face.
We walked over to the center of the gloomy graveyard, going around tombstones and enormous weeping willows, until reaching a large mausoleum.
Gerard opened the door and we both walked in. He walked over to one of the tombstones in the wall, and I read the name that had been graved in it out loud, "Helena Rothschild...? Who is-"
"Before we go in," he cut me off, "there's something I have to tell you. I don't live with just a few friends; there is a whole community of people like us down there. Not all of them are nice, so stay with me the whole time and don't look at anyone in the eye, got it?"
What the hell had I gotten myself into? I rubbed my head confused, "People like you...?"
"People that are rejected by the world, for one reason or another; freaks, weirdos or monsters, as the land people call us."
"Land people...? Look man, maybe it's not a good idea for me to go down or wherever we are going..."
Placing a consoling hand on my shoulder and smiling, Gerard said, "I'm not going to force you to do something you don't want to, but I think you'd hate yourself the rest of your life if you didn't at least check it out."
Only God knows why I nodded in agreement, why I thought I could trust him, why I did trust a weird guy I had just met an hour ago as if we had been best friends since we were 3. I don't know why, but if he had asked me to jump into a dark and bottomless pit with him, I probably would have. Go figure.
After giving me a pat on the back, Gerard turned back to the tombstone and did something that should have made me run away in fear, but instead amazed and mesmerized me. Lowering his head, he placed his right hand on the name engraved on the tombstone. I stood in silence, waiting for Gerard to do something else or for something to happen, when the edges of the tombstone suddenly began to glow as if someone were shinning a flashlight from the other side. A low rumbling sound started coming from the tombstone and the wall around it.
"Back up," Gerard ordered, placing the same hand he had on the tombstone on my chest, pushing me back gently.
Before I could utter a sound of surprise, the cement block that was the tombstone itself slowly lowered itself into the ground, as the wall around it began to fold onto itself little by little, forming a large doorway with an arch at the top.
The rumbling sound ending as the door finished forming itself, and I stood gaping at it, not being able to find the words to say."What... how did...?"
Without bothering to explain anything about the door, Gerard turned towards me and held me gently but firmly by the shoulders, looking me straight into the eye. "Remember; not everyone down there is nice. Do not make any eye contact with anyone unless I present them to you. Some of them have been down there for just two long... it can drive anyone crazy."
Letting go of my shoulders, he ruffled his already messed up hair. I studied him; he had a worried expression on face, as if he wasn't sure that bringing me down there was the best idea. With an air of obligation, he nodded, more to himself than to me, trying to convince himself of some internal battle that was going on.
"Put your hood over your head... its better if less people see you..."
I stared at him for half a second, thinking about what I was doing there. Something deep inside of me knew that no matter what, I could trust this guy, and that I had to go down there.
With both hands I quickly flipped the black hood over my head, covering most of my face. I turned my head slightly to be able to look up at him, waiting for the next instruction.
He offered me a quick reassuring smile and then took a first step towards the recently made doorway. "Stay with me, and remember, don't look at anyone," he told me over his shoulder.
I followed close behind as we made our way through the doorway and down a dark and damp tunnel. I heard the low rumbling sound again, and I looked back to see the door that had formed close itself, going back to its original state. After a few minutes, we made a left turn. Not long after that, I could see a dim light at the end of the tunnel; my nervousness increased with every approaching step.
"Remember," Gerard whispered simply, knowing that it wasn't necessary to repeat the rest again.
Stay close and don't look at anyone, I reminded myself.
As we reached the end of the tunnel, I stopped and looked around, not being able to help myself. The first thing I thought as we entered the area was fuck; I wrinkled my nose in disgust as I breathed in the rotten smell that lingered there. The place was dark and damp just like the tunnel, but here there were torches along the walls, allowing some vision. The walls were all made of stone, which was logical, and there were a bunch of little paths going left and right from the big main area where we were. Along the walls, there were dozens and dozens of big dirty tents, where I supposed the people slept. There were people walking, mumbling things under their breath; others sat in front of their tents in chairs or on the floor, knitting or chatting with someone else, while the crazier ones rocked back and forth, laughing or talking to themselves softly.
I looked ahead, down the lane, and saw that Gerard hadn't stopped and was walking away, not realizing that I wasn't following. Just as I began to jog after him, an old lady appeared next to me and grabbed me by the arm. She was short and had long gray hair that hung around her wrinkled face in clumps. She was wearing a long light gray dress that was completely dirty and ripped in some places, and had a scarf of the same color over her head. As she gaped at me, I saw she was missing a few teeth.
"Scorpio, you've come at last!" She breathed out at me, gripping my arm tightly. I stared at her with my mouth open and an eyebrow raised, not knowing what to say or what she was talking about.
Before I could respond, Gerard appeared next to me. The old woman let go of me as she saw him, and a look of repulsion formed on her face. Gerard glared down at her, and then grabbed me by the arm, leading me further down the wide pathway.
"I know who you are! I know its you!" The old lady screamed after us. I turned my head to look back at her as Gerard dragged me away and saw her with a fist raised.
"Who is she? What is she talking about?" I asked Gerard, turning back toward him.
"I told you not to look at anyone."
I yanked my arm away from him. "I can walk fine, thanks," I said sarcastically. "And I didn't look at her. She just ran up to me."
We made a turn on the first pathway to the right and continued walking, taking another right afterwards.
"We're almost there."
Staring at the back of his head as we continued to walk, I said, "She called me Scorpio."
He stopped slightly and turned stiff. Turning back to me he said, "Don't say that here..." He looked around to see if anyone had heard.
"Why? What does it mean?"
"Nothing. Ignore it. She's just a crazy old lady."
I could tell he was nervous and stressed out. He kept running his hand through his hair and looking around as if someone was going to attack us any minute.
Not satisfied with the answer, I decided it was best to shut up for now. I'd get my answers later.
We were now going down a lane with no tents along the walls, just torches lighting the way. /First right, then second to the right/, I memorized, just in case.
As we continued to walk, I saw a few people at the end of the lane. The entire end appeared to be a giant tent that went from one side of the lane to the other. This was possible because it wasn't even half as wide as the main pathway we had been on before. This area was much more private, it was... hidden; I wondered why this was so but didn't dare to ask, not yet anyways. The enormous tent - if you could call it that, since it was just a large piece of cloth covering the dead end and hanging down in the front to form a kind of entrance to it, from what I could see - wasn't nearly as dirty as the other tents we had seen along the way, and this area didn't smell rotten and old.
Towards the left side of the tent was a big wooden table with chairs surrounding it. There were 3 people sitting there playing cards; two guys and a girl.
"Bullshit, Toro! You can't have three 2's when I have two of them myself!" the girl yelled across the table. The guy supposedly named Toro, stood up and threw his cards on the table, yelling something along the lines of "always lose," making the girl and other guy laugh out loud. The girl stood up and started playfully hitting Toro's arm, as the other joined in, all of them laughing and fooling around.
As we neared the table where they were, the blond guy saw us and stopped just as he was going to punch the other in the arm. I heard him whisper to the other two, "Look..."
Not knowing whether I could look at them or not, I kept my head down, leaving my face partially covered by the hood. We stopped in front of the small group of people.
"This is Bob, Ray, and Aileen. He's Frank," Gerard said, turning his head toward me.
I looked up and nodded a wave at each of them. Normally, I would have shook hands with them, since it's the thing to do when you meet people, but this didn't seem like a normal situation, so instead I looked at each of them. Bob was a pretty big guy, blond and with a short blond beard to match. Ray, or "Toro" as the girl had called him before, was tall and lean, with a big brown afro. The girl, on the other hand, was what people would call"petite." She was kind of short and skinny, with pale skin that contrasted with her shoulder length black hair. She had bangs that went straight across her forehead, hanging slightly over her eyebrows and marking her incredibly bright blue eyes. I looked at them all and then stopped on the girl; our eyes locked as the others talked about something.
"Frank, stay here a minute. I need to talk to them. Sit down," Gerard told me, pointing at a chair.
"Err... sure," I managed, and sat in the nearest chair.
They walked about a dozen feet away from me, but I could still here some of what they were saying.
"How do you know it's him, Gerard? We've been looking for him forever and you bring him in one day as if it were nothing!" Ray said a little too loudly. Gerard told him to shush, and looked back at me; I looked around as if I hadn't heard anything, but continued to strain to hear.
I couldn't hear anything Gerard was saying, but Aileen at one point looked at me and said, "It's him. I know it."
I stared back at her, wondering what all of this was about.
Bob let out a huge sigh in frustration and took quick steps over to me. I stood up alarmed, thinking he was going to hit me or something."Show me your neck."
Confused by the strange request, I simply looked at him.
Gerard walked over to us. "Take your hood off, Frank. Let them see your neck for a minute."
I listened to him and took my hood off. Gerard stood in front of me and held my face gently with both hands. Looking into my eyes and smiling lightly, trying to make me relax, he turned my head towards one side, making my heart beat even faster for some reason.
"Scorpio..." the short girl breathed out, her eyes wide in amazement, and I couldn't understand why everyone was gaping at me.
"Why does everyone keep saying that? It's just scorpion, for god's sake," I demanded, getting tired of all the mystery.
"Everyone? Who else has seen it?" Ray glared at me and Gerard.
Gerard quickly responded, "Nobody else has seen it. I said"Scorpio" when I saw the marking, too."
I glanced at Gerard, wondering why all the lying was needed. "What the fuck? What marking! It's just a fucking tattoo, for Christ's sake. It's just something I got years ago!"
Everyone then started yelling around, arguing with me over my tattoo, which to me was the most absurd thing on earth to argue about. Until Gerard spoke again.
Looking at me from a few feet away, he asked me calmly, already knowing the answer, "When did you get it, Frank?"
Everyone stopped talking as Gerard and I stared at each other. "I... when did I get what?" My heart was racing and I was getting increasingly nervous.
"Your tattoo, Frank, when did you get it?" His voice raised slightly with each sentence he added: "If it's just a tattoo, you should remember when you got it. Or where you got it done. Or the face of the guy that made it. Or the person that went with you. Something!"
I stared at him with my mouth open, trying to think of something to say. I tried to think, think hard, about when I had gotten the scorpion tattoo. But I couldn't remember one damned thing about it. Not one!
Not caring about the shock I was in, Gerard walked up to me, his face inches from mine, and continued, "Where did you get the rest of your so-called-tattoos, Frank? Because I'm sure your body is covered with them. Symbols and words of hope that mean so much more than you could imagine." He then smiled at me with what looked like enormous sadness, shaking his head slightly."Tell me you remember anything about how or where you got them, and you can end this hell right now."
I stared into his eyes as the green color that filled them seemed to swirl around.
As hard as I tried to remember, I couldn't. It was as if I had always had those tattoos. But how could that be?
I shook my head at Gerard, and he slowly nodded, finally looking away from me as if disappointed and sad at the same time.
At that point, I was scared shitless.
"I'm leaving," I stated. Ray and Bob began to yell around saying that I couldn't leave, while the girl looked at the ground in silence. Gerard simply nodded again, and started back down the lane we had come from.
Pulling my hood back over my head, I followed him.
The guys continued to argue, but Gerard shut them up with asimple yet firm wave of his hand, without even turning around.
We walked without saying a word. I had so many questions but was afraid of the answers. Ideas screamed through my head as I thought about what had happened, and what would happen in the future.
So... sorry for the long ass chapter, but I couldn't cut it off until the part I did. What is better... long chapters or short ones?
If you're confused about this story, I'm glad, because you should be. =) Don't worry though, everything will become clear as more chapters come out... after things get a bit more confusing though. Bleh. Life is tough. You can deal with it.
Review and let me know what you think about all of this... it's my oxygen, and you don't want to leave me without /that/, now do you?