It's gonna get harder still,
before it gets easy.
You can't keep safe what wants to break.
Always be - Jimmy Eat World
The world is going to hell and nobody knows it.
Everything that's been happening has made me realize this. Tiny details around me show me it's true. An odd glance, the tension in the air, the stress, the way my heart felt as if it were being squeezed, making it hard for it to beat calmly. A secretive whisper, a nervous smile... all these things made it clear to me, to everyone that noticed them, that the world was, in fact, going to hell.
And the first to hit the boiling pit of fire on our way down would be us.
I wasn't just imagining all of this. I had an incredible feeling of doom and I had learned to trust my instincts. Something bad was up ahead. I just knew it.
I sat outside with Bob, Kat, Aileen and Ray at the table. I could even feel it there. Some of us were reading, some of us were listening to music, but two of us were exchanging apologetic and hurt glances. When Kat wasn't looking, Bob would look at her with sadness in his eyes. When Bob was looking at the floor or down at the table, Kat would throw ahurt glance his way, and then quickly tear her eyes away. I hadn't noticed it before yesterday, when Bob had freaked out about Kat hugging me, but I was sure of it now. He was totally and utterly in love with her. And she felt as if she had lost a friend.
You could say, oh, why doesn't he just tell her how he feels. It's quite simple, really. Bob is shy, keeps to himself, laughs at jokes but doesn't tell them. He's, like I've said before, a big teddy bear. Kat, on the other hand -on the way other hand - is a wild Kat. She's loud, speaks her mind, doesn't take crap from anyone - and I know that from experience. She's sarcastic, witty, friendly, open, and absolutely gorgeous. As I sat looking at Bob out of the corner of my eye, I could imagine him thinking, /she'd never go for someone like me/.
My train of thought stopped, and the books and mp3 players dropped to the table with a sneeze.
Kat sneezed and about 10 Kat's appeared around her. All of our jaws dropped to the ground, including Kat's (the main Kat). Bob jumped out of his seat from the scare and stared wide-eyed at the Kats in front of him. I thought for an odd second he would get a hard-on just from looking at them.
Each of the Kat's seemed to have a life of their own. One was straightening out her clothes, while another one laughed at her in her face. Another two were arguing about who had stolen whose outfit idea. Another one was simply screaming at the sight of other girls just like her. It was insanity at its best.
Kat got up from her seat and faced her newly found twins as three of them got into a fight and started pulling each others hair. As the screams got louder, and the girls wilder, Kat yelled, "Stop it!", making them all freeze in place.
"Kat, make them go back inside you," Ray told her calmly.
"I can't! I don't know how!" she cried out impatiently.
"Concentrate on what you want to do, and do it. It's that simple."
Putting her hands on her head, she gulped down air. "That's easy for you to say!"
"Kat, calm down," I said softly, putting ahand on her back.
She closed her eyes, trying to concentrate, but the twins continued to stand, sit or lay where they were. Some of them started laughing under their breath, mocking Kat.
"Let's go to the training room," Ray said, heading towards the entrance.
Kat followed him, stopped at the doorway to yell, "Come on, Copy Kats, let's go!", and continued forward. They all ran after her.
Aileen, Bob and I stood in our places watching them leave. It was a weird sight.
Turning to Bob, I said, "You should go with her. She'd like your support."
He shook his head slightly and smiled sadly. "She wouldn't want to see me..."
"Bob. Go with her."
He hesitated. After a curt nod, he jogged to the door and disappeared through it.
I took that moment as I good one to leave unnoticed... except by Aileen.
"I'll be back in a bit," I stated simply.
"You're not going outside, are you?"
"No, I'm not. I'm just going... for a walk."
"Aileen, I'll be back soon, okay? Don't worry about it." I turned around and walked away, leaving her frowning at my back. I hated leaving her in the dark, but it's the way it had to be for now.
I took quick steps through the main lane, heading towards the tent that I knew belonged to the crazy - or not so crazy -old lady. I took deep breaths of air on the way, trying to calm my nerves but only succeeding in filling my lungs with the awful rotting smell that always seemed to be abundant down here. Today, though, the stench didn't bother me at all. On the contrary, it seemed almost pleasant as I reached the old ladies house. This was due, of course, to the fact that I was on a mission; I was going to get some answers. Hopefully good ones.
As I reached my final destination, Istopped at the door, that was really just a long piece of cloth hanging down, and looked around. Nobody was watching; everyone seemed to busy with whatever they were doing to even notice where I was. The lack of a doorbell and the need to not draw attention to myself caused me to enter the tent without calling.
After taking one step inside the place, Iimmediately regretted doing so. If I had complained about the awful smell of the entire underworld, the stench inside here was beyond comparison. I saw adead rat on the floor, as half a dozen flies swarmed over its carcass, claiming it as their own. A variation of insects had opened the body of the rat, displaying its bloody insides. The mixture of these elements caused me to gag, nearly vomiting. I regained control of myself, scrunching my nose in distaste and covering it slightly my hand. Squinting, as if that would help make the horrible stench a little bit more bearable, I walked into what looked like what must have been, at one point in time, the living room. There was a couch, alright, but it was all torn up; the stuffing overflowed out of the cuts much like blood would flow out of an open wound. There was a coffee table in front of it. The wood was dark brown, and must have been shinny when new, but was now dull and cracked. The floor was littered with scraps of paper, couch stuffing, random pieces of wood, and many other unidentified objects. Flies seemed to have claimed the room as well as the rat. The sound of them all buzzing around made my skin crawl.
Removing my hand from my face, I called out to the old lady. Since I didn't know her name - assuming she still remembered it herself - I settled for a simple yet adequate, "Hello?", which I repeated several times.
As I turned around slowly, looking around the room, I noticed a door cut in the cloth that formed the room. I reached my hand out towards it, just as the old lady appeared on the other side, quickly throwing the cloth to one side as she entered the living room. I took a step back nervously, and fell over a carton box that laid on the floor. I looked at the old lady from the floor.
She smiled at me, not worried about me at all. "There are far more other things you should fear more than the sight of alittle old lady like me, Scorpio."
Getting off the floor, which was made of dirt, I asked, "The ruins?"
She laughed. "Them too, of course. Them always." She hobbled over to the remains of her couch and sat down. Still smiling at me, she patted the space next to her, inviting me to sit.
I accepted, and sat next to her.
"You've come which many interrogation marks, boy, with hopes of receiving answers to erase them and clear your head. I must tell you now that many cannot be answered... for one reason or another."
"Any answers are needed... there's so much Idon't know."
"Ahh," she said, shaking a finger at me knowingly, "how very right you are."
"I need to know for sure... is Alyssa after the Stone of Life?" I was breathing heavily from expectation.
"The witch... she's after what gives and takes life away, yes... but not for her own use."
"She's... working for the Ruins?"
"I'd hardly use the word "work" since no money is exchanged here... but she helps them, yes... not so much "them", but the leader."
I struggled to remember his name. "Muri...?"
"Mauritius. He has a desperate need for the Stone, but nobody knows exactly why..."
"But then... Mikey supposedly had a vision that Alyssa was killed by the Ruins. Does that mean he's not on our side, or did he just misunderstand the vision?" I hoped for everyone's good the second option was the correct one.
"Everything isn't black or white; gray is also a possibility. But about his vision... I don't know what he saw, but visions are often difficult to understand and very confusing."
"How do you know all of this you're telling me?"
She laughed, a wheezy laugh that made me feel a pang of pity for her. "Everyone knows the leader of the Ruins wants nothing more than the Stone of life. What is unknown is its true power... you see, the stone can cause devastation as much as it can cause miracles. The true and complete powers remain unknown to everyone... but that will change one day."
My heart picked up speed even more. "When?"
"Oh, I don't know the exact day, my boy, but soon... hopefully soon."
"But... what will happen?"
"Only one person in the world can understand the true meaning of the Stone, one person will know its true powers, what its true purpose really is. That person... is alive now, and will soon discover his destiny." She stared at me with such intensity, it was impossible to look away.
Suddenly, she looked nervous. Standing up from the couch, with a bit of trouble, she said hurriedly, "Quick now, you mustn't stay any longer. I'm not looked well upon, as you know..."
She grasped my hand and tugged. I stood up, a bit disorientated by the sudden change. Stopping in my tracks and making it impossible for her to move me, I stared at her and asked sullenly, "Why... does Gerard... feel that way about you?" I didn't want to directly ask why he hated her, but she understood easily.
The old lady let out a short sarcastic laugh. "My dear boy, he hates me for the same reason many others hate me; because of one of my visions. They always come true, and then people seem to like to blame me for them..."
She tugged my arm once more, making me walk a few steps towards the door, where I stopped again, wanting one final answer before leaving. "What vision did you have of Gerard?" I asked, fearful of her answer. I found myself crouching down slightly towards her, waiting for her to speak.
Smiling sadly, she let go of me and let her arms drop to her sides. "I told him nothing but the truth, a little over three months ago, before the war... I told him he would lose what he most valued; the person whom he loved more than anything else in the world would change into someone he couldn't recognize; he would be left with a broken heart, and his beloved would be as good as dead."
I walked back to what I was beginning to consider my home with quick steps. The things the old lady had told me ran through my head over and over again as I tried to register them all. I wiped the sweat off my forehead with the back of my hand; I was nervous. My breathing was heavy and my entire body was wet from perspiration from the feeling something big was going to happen. Probably not today, and maybe not tomorrow; but soon. Also, I was taking tiny steps towards proving Alyssa was a fake.
I thought about what the lady had said about Gerard and others hating her because of her visions. She had told Gerard the person he most loved would change completely, and she was right. It was obvious then that Alyssa had been good until the Ruins had taken her and corrupted her. Alyssa had said the kidnapping had been a plan, but she never said it was a plan she had taken a part in. They had taken her, tortured her until she changed completely, leaving Gerard, as the lady had said, with nothing but a broken heart.
I entered the stone building. My plan was to head over to my room, lie on the single bed and think about my next move. How could I make Alyssa confess and prove she was no longer the sweet girl they thought her to be? Just as I was walking to my room, I saw Alyssa running down the hallway; her dark hair flew behind her as she turned at a corner. Speak of the devil. Inclining my head slightly towards one side like a confused puppy, I picked up my pace to a jog and went after her.
I turned the same corner she had, breathing heavily, more because of my nerves than because I was tired. I heard voices, one female and one male, talking heatedly about something. It sounded as if they were arguing, but I couldn't make out the words. I tried to control my breathing so as to not make a sound and be able to hear better, but with no results. I took small, silent steps, inching forward as I tried to figure out what room the voices were coming from. Finally reaching that room, I pressed my ear against the door. Most of the conversation was muffled, but I could make out the bits that were said a little more loudly.
"...I know it'll work, just give me achance!" Alyssa said, urgently.
The other voice mumbled something Icouldn't hear.
"But if I could just-"
"No! It won't work, they're not idiots!Just drop it. Find another way!" I recognized the second voice as Mikey's. Iheard footsteps coming towards the door, and had just enough time to back up and make it look as though I were merely passing by there.
Mikey yanked open the door with a frown. He froze in place when he saw me, and I did the same. Alyssa passed by him, shot me a silent glare and walked back in the direction we had both came from with her head held high. Just as Mikey was about to leave without a word, I stopped him.
"Making plans with Alyssa, Michael?" I asked with an insolent tone.
He huffed at me. "Do not call me Michael; Ihate it. And you should know it's not very polite to go around listening to other people's conversations."
I took the two steps that separated us, and asked confidentially, "The vision you had the day Alyssa was supposedly killed, did you make it up, or were you just confused?"
"There's so much you don't understand, Frank..."
"Cut the bullshit," I growled, "I've already heard that story before. Just tell me whose side you're on, Michael."
"Call me Mikey," he demanded, narrowing his eyes.
His request struck me as ridiculous and made me laugh. "Sorry, but we don't have that much confidence yet."
"You mean like the confidence you have with my dear brother?"
That caught me off guard and made me drop my smile. "How do you...?"
"Visions, Frank! Besides, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize how you two feel about each other." Grabbing me by the arm, he leaned in so his face was only inches from mine, as he whispered urgently, "But they don't know about it yet. If they knew... it would be terrible. You have to stop this now."
I looked at him, studying his face to see if he was serious or not. His expression had lost its usual cocky state and had transformed into a mask of desperation. His eyes stared into mine, begging for me to listen to him.
I shook my head in disbelief. "Who are you talking about? What's the big deal about Gerard and I being...?"
Grabbing both shoulders, he said, "They mustn't know. You weren't made for this. It's a matter of life or death, Frank. Understand that your relationship with him, could cause Gerard to lose his life."
Ok, first of all I have to say something very important. From this chapter you can get a lot of ideas of what will happen in the future and ideas about things that have been said in the past... for the sake of the other readers, I'm asking you all to NOT post anything in your reviews about what you think will happen in future chapters. It could ruin the suspense for the others, and we all hate when that happens. If you have acrazy idea and must tell me about it, I'd love to hear it. Send it to me in amessage or email. I won't tell you if you're wrong or right, of course, but it'll be fun for me to read ;)
So, again, Gerard doesn't show up in this chapter. Never fear, my loves, he's in the next one.
Sorry for putting up lyrics from Jimmy Eat World again, but these fit so well... this chapter is like the point of no return. From now on, things are going to go a bit downhill. I'm excited about it. Haha
Oh and sorry for any mistakes you may find... its 3am and I'm a bit tired. So... yeah.
Review, rate and all that jazz. It'll make me post the next chapter faster. Haha I know its evil to say that but hey, Alyssa is a bad influence ;) (I'm talking about the fake Alyssa invented by me, not the reader called Alyssa. She's a total sweetheart ;) )
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