With the help of Aileen, Frankie discovers what the Stone of Life is... sort of xD Happy New Year, btw.
Gerard stood in the entrance; I walked past him with a simple, "Goodbye, Gerard." It sounded like a last goodbye, and that was how I meant it.
"I'm sorry..."he whispered as I continued to walk. I stopped dead in my tracks and turned to him, angry once again.
"Sorry for what? For taking me to the freak show and making me realize that I have no fucking clue how I ended up covered with tattoos? Forget it, it's nice to know the truth," I said sarcastically. With that, I turned back around and walked quickly out of the mausoleum, ignoring him as he called after me.
I walked home in a fury, with my hands shoved deep into my pockets, ignoring the questioningly looks people shot at me as I passed by them. I didn't know what time it was, but it was late. The sky was pitch black and the sun had long ago gone to sleep.
Arriving at home, I took the spare house key out from under one of the plant pots beside the doorway, and opened the door quietly. I tiptoed into the living room and saw my mother sleeping peacefully on the sofa with the TV still on. I looked down at her, wondering why I had never thought about my tattoos before. If I really had had them since I was born, wouldn't my own mother tell me about it?I picked up the remote control from the floor that had fallen from her outstretched hand, and turned the TV off. After covering her with a blanket and placing a soft kiss on her forehead, I headed to my room.
Not bothering to change or anything, I jumped on my bed and laid staring at the ceiling with my hands behind my head.
I laid there for as long as I could stay awake concentrating and trying to remember at least one tiny detail about any of the tattoos I had on my body, but found nothing. As unbelievable as it sounds, I just never thought about them really, they had just always been there... it was scary.
As I slowly fell asleep, faces flashed through my mind... the old lady with missing teeth... Ray's angry face as he yelled for us to stay there... Bob's questioningly look... the pretty face of worry of Aileen... Gerard's heart-breaking face as I turned away from him and walked away...
"Shh, be quiet or they'll hear us!" Aileen had my hand and she was leading me as we ran inside the huge tent-like building that Gerard called home.
"Where are we going?" I asked her, but she simply shook her head and glanced back at me so I could see the single finger she had pressed against her full lips, and she continued to lead me.
Once inside, I realized the whole thing wasn't made out of cloth, after all, but stone. From outside, it seemed as though it was just an oversized tent, but it was really all made out of stone; the walls, the floor, the ceiling... everything except for the wooden doors. I wondered if the rest of the tents were built the same.
Aileen dragged me around the building and all I could do was follow and think about how enormous the place really was inside. We passed room after room, turned left and right so many times that it was impossible for me to keep track of where we were heading.
After some time, we reached a huge entrance with an arch. Aileen stopped in her tracks, causing me to crash into her. Just as I was going to shout out or ask her why we were stopping, the room caught my eye.
The "room,"if you could call it that, was huge. It wasn't made out of old and rugged stone like the rest of the building. The floor, walls and ceiling was made out a smooth white stone, giving it a more elegant look. There were torches hanging on the walls every few feet, offering some lighting. The ceiling was at least 30 feet high; it was impossible to know exactly how high it was because of the poor lighting. There were pillars made out of the same white stone every 5 feet stretched up into the darkness. It was really more of a huge hallway than a room, since it stretched out far in front of us.
"Come on,"she whispered, pulling me behind her again. We ran slightly crouched down the lane that was between the two rows of pillars along the hall.
As we neared the end, I could see a small red light shining. I squinted to try and see better, and realized it was coming from a small object that was resting on a red cushion on the floor. Finally reaching it, I crouched down to the floor to examine it better. At first glance it looked like a pretty normal object; a pale red stone about the size of my fist. But then I realized where the subtle light was coming from; in its interior, as unbelievable as it may seem, was a small flame.
A single thought screamed through my head: There is fire in the fucking stone!
It flickered as if there were wind in the stone; it was insane!
"Is that real fire in there? What is this?" I asked Aileen.
"It's not the fire you know. It's the soul. Everyone has a soul in the form of a small flame, and this is what represents it. It's what you could call the mother of all souls... this is the Stone of Life."
I tried to take in all the information, but found it impossible. I shook my head and looked at her helplessly as she crouched down next to me suddenly.
Holding both of my hands, she said to me, "Someone's coming! We have to go! Remember this place, remember what I've told you! Don't forget it! This isn't a dream!It isn't just a dream! It's not a dream...it's not..."
I slowly opened my eyes as those last words sounded in my head. Confused about where I was, I blinked a few times, looking around me until finally realizing I was in my bedroom.
I didn't understand... it had seemed so real. I could still feel Aileen's soft hand wrapped around my own, the coolness on my skin as we ran through the stone building... and yet, here I was in my bed, safely tucked away in my house. It had seemed so real! It couldn't have been just a dream, and yet, it had to be. I couldn't have magically transported myself or any shit like that. Or could I?
Without a second thought, I jumped out of bed, took a quick shower to wake me up more than anything else, and grabbed a bite to eat before heading out the doorway. Being a Saturday morning, my mom was still sleeping, catching up on the dreams she had missed during the week because of work.
I walked quickly through the crisp autumn air, avoiding leaves as they fell silently from the trees.
I entered the gates of the cemetery half-expecting to find the Ruins still waiting for Gerard to come out. I decided I had to ask him more about those guys... among other things.
I walked over to the mausoleum that held in its interior the entrance to the underworld. I had been inside it a few times, but never had I thought it had a doorway to a hidden world. Standing in front of the tombstone that I knew would open up to form the entrance, it seemed obvious now that it was different from the others. The stone walls of the mausoleum were covered with tombstones, probably all belonging to the same family, but this particular tombstone seemed to stand alone, slightly apart from the others.
Taking in a deep breath, I stopped in front of the familiar tombstone. "Hello again, Helena," I whispered. Not expecting it to work, I placed my right hand over the woman's name and lowered my head, as Gerard had done.
I concentrated hard, trying with all my might to get the entrance to construct itself like Iknew it could. Just as I was about to give up, I heard the low rumble. Amazed, my eyes flew open; I backed a few steps away, allowing room.
In a few seconds, the doorway with the big arch had appeared in front of my very eyes again. Pleased and amazed with myself, I entered the tunnel, making sure my head was well covered with my hood.
Entering the underworld, the unpleasant odor of rotting hit me like a slap on the face. I lowered my head and walked quickly to my destination. First right, then second right, I reminded myself.
As I made my way down the lane that would end in the building I was looking for, I saw that there was nobody outside. Where they all inside or had they gone up to the Land World, as they called it?
Having arrived at the table outside the building that was supposed to look like an over-sized tent, I stopped and looked around. "Hello...?" I called, barely above a whisper, afraid to call the attention of people I shouldn't.
I heard someone gasp, and turned to the entrance to see who it was. Aileen came running over to me, looking over her shoulder worriedly. "What are you doing here? I expected you to come but... so soon?"
As she continued to glance around, keeping an eye out in case of intruders, I stared at her in wonder. "It really wasn't a dream... was it?"
She looked up at me, worry on her pale face. "I thought you had to know, Frank; it's important that you know what they're after. You, of all people, should know... but don't tell anyone-"
She cut herself short when she saw me quickly look up at the person that appeared in the doorway. "Frank," the dark-haired man stated.
I simply stared at him, my expression hard.
Giving me one last helpless glance, Aileen ran back into the building slightly crouching as she entered to be able to pass Gerard. We both ignored her, our eye contact never breaking.
"We have to talk, Gerard. There are things I have to know. A lot of things."
With a smirk, he took a few steps towards me where I stood next to the big wooden table."What is it you want to know that can be explained in words?"
"Be careful what you wish for, Frank, you just might get it." I squinted as I studied his face; his eyes looked sad and tired.
"You brought me into this world; I think I have the right to know a few things."
"How old are you, Frank?" He asked out of no where.
"What the fuck does that have to do with anything?"
"Nothing... everything in the world."
I studied his face again before answering. "16."
His eyes widened slightly. "When is your birthday?" he asked quickly.
"On Tuesday. October 31st."
"Halloween..."he whispered as his eyes widened even more. "We have no time at all... it wasn't supposed to be this way..." It seemed as if he was talking to himself more than to me.
"Time for what?"
"Time for you to accept who you really are," a strange voice said, from the doorway. I looked up and saw a tall skinny man standing there, with brown hair sticking in every direction and glasses on the tip of his nose. Gerard let out a disgusted grunt as he saw the man, and looked at the floor, trying to avoid eye contact with the new man.
I didn't say a word, but simply waited for this man to continue talking. "Allow me to introduce myself. I am known as Mikey, by all, and that is what you will know me by. I knew you would come again."
"I didn't see you here yesterday, what do you mean "again"?"
"Ahh, but I saw you. Just as I saw you today, before you even arrived here. I knew you would come before you even knew it. I saw it in my vision."
"What, you have a crystal ball or something?" I joked without smiling.
"I have no need for those silly items. I have real visions about things that happen in the future. I've had them ever since I was a child but never knew how to control it until a few years ago. We all have powers here... and when I saw here, I mean in this tent. Most of the people of the other tents have either lost their powers or never really had them to begin with. It's quite sad, actually."
I glanced at Gerard, who was rubbing his forehead. He looked like he was disgusted by this guy, but didn't want to say anything to him.
"What powers are you talking about? That's just a bunch of bullshit."
"Frank, I really think its time you began believing in magical stories, because you're in one, even though it may not be as pretty as you'd like... or as any one of us would like."
Holding one hand up, Gerard finally cut in, "Okay, quit the bullshit already. Simply stating things isn't going to help anything. You'll just scare him away. I'll handle it." Placing a hand on my back, he turned me towards the lane, to exit the area.
"Just like you handled /her/, right Gerard? You were always good at handling people, indeed..."
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Gerard's face change into an expression of pure hatred. He closed his fists so tight his knuckles were white, letting out a short breath of air, trying to control himself as we made our way down the lane and out of the underworld.
What was all that shit about visions and powers? And who was that guy talking about: "her"?One way or another, I would get my answers.
Okay, so not many answers are given in this chapter... things are still confusing. But remember, this story is in Frank's point of view, and he is confused as hell too. We'll understand things when he does... we'll all learn together, now won't that be fun =)
For all you silent readers, I'm asking you to please comment, even if it's just to say you've read the story. It gives me inspiration and that's exactly what I need with this story... it's pretty hard to write. Thanks to those of you that have reviewed so far!
I hope you all stick with me... I really do have an interesting idea for this story, I just have to get it out. I'll get these first chapters out quickly so the plot can be set up. Hope you all enjoy it xD