January 14, 2018 at 11:53 am #7415
A Cheery Tale for the Afterlife
Epic smashed through the Dual-bot, her hair flying behind her. The creature let out a gasp and fell to the ground. Epic landed beside it-not only was Epic, Delta Oreson, an excellent sword duelist; she could manipulate her psychic abilities in order to lessen the blow from any fall.
The ultimate warrior, Epic sprinted on towards a mass of the hybrid monsters stepping around a nearby rooftop. There was a short glance at their cool, slick metal bodies. You could see the parts where raw flesh had been mashed together with machine.
Or at least, where the make-up artists had gone out of their way to make the villain’s most dramatic feature more clear as opposed to using CGI. Clem would know, she had seen this film at least three times and watched the background reel twice. She wanted to be a film director when she was older-though she told her parents she wanted to be a scientist of some sort.
The summer day was surprisingly cool, and there had been a shower of rain the day before. This gave Clem the ability to petition her mother to let her watch a movie.
Clem thoroughly enjoyed the fictional world of Team Cyclone, even if it was a tad unrealistic. She would watch the movies in rapid succession, one after another, then comb over the bloopers. She would then tell herself it wasn’t an obsession, despite what her father said. He had insisted over the spring that she should start training for the cross-country season.
Clem shook her head as the movie reached its end. It was a cliff-hanger, and the movie franchise’s next film wouldn’t come out for 4 more months. Epic and several other heroes vanished in beams of light and the city returned to normal. It was like the scriptwriters were too lazy to think of an ending. Clem turned off the television.
An idea struck her-maybe she could be a scriptwriter. Sure! Clem had written some fanfiction a few years ago, so she could probably write a movie-how hard could it be? She grabbed her laptop, which was beside her at almost all times, and opened up a new Word document.
Let me see, she thought. It was a dark and stormy night… no… once upon a time… too fairy tale-ish… One hallows eve-absolutely not…
“Hey Clementine. Whatcha doin?”
Dad. “Working on your English summer homework?”
“Er-yeah, it’s coming pretty slowly.” She was thankful that her father hadn’t looked at her screen.
Clem’s father always called her by her full name-Clementine. She remembered where they got the name from, a song from some nursery rhyme. She had heard it once, but it wasn’t particularly memorable-something about a miner’s daughter dying. Truth be told, Clem didn’t like her full name much-she thought it made her sound snotty and it reminded her of a sour lime.
“I see. Word count?”
“Um, 310..” Usually essays were around 500 words, right?
“What’s it on?”
Clem had an actual subject that she was writing on for summer homework, of course. It was on the most boring topic imaginable-the rise of agriculture in Dutch colonies. Don’t you just love it when the English teacher starts to work with the History teacher?
“It’s this weird thing about Dutch farmers.”
“Yeah, it’s really… informative.”
“Not your area of interest, huh?”
Clem sighed. “No, not really.”
“Well, good luck.”
Clem breathed a tiny sigh of relief as her dad left the room, then closed her laptop lid. She had heard someone say that it usually took a few months before an author decided what to write, so Clem figured she would need to think about it for at least the rest of June. Besides, right now the internet was more important.
Anything to get her father off of her back. He was always so interested in what she was doing-it was a problem, actually. Didn’t he know that she could do things on her own? Just the other week when she had been reading online comics in her room, he had come in and read over her shoulder. Then he had started to talk about why he didn’t want her reading the comic-something about culture being obsessed with the criminal. Well, back to the old laptop.
Let’s see… hey, a news article on Micropachycephelosaurus. Clem suppressed a laugh whenever she heard that name-in the fourth grade, she had presented a slide show on dinosaurs to her class for a special project in science, and that had been her favorite. Science had always been fun for her, but paleontology wasn’t her favorite. Clem actually preferred physics.
A few hours later, Clem was forced off of the living room couch by basic human needs, A.K.A. supper. Her mother had made a comment about procrastination and reminded her that supper was on the table-15 minutes ago. Sluggishly, Clem stood up from the couch, but immediately got dizzy and fell back down.
“Finally! How long can it take one girl to get from the living room to the kitchen?” her mother chastised, but she was smiling.
“I wasn’t that long, was I?”
“You can heat up your food in the microwave if it’s too cold.”
The plate of meatloaf, while it wasn’t a masterpiece, looked like heaven to Clem. It was a bit less warm than she would’ve liked, but she couldn’t take the time to microwave it-instead, she sat down at their wooden table and gobbled it down.
Clem flopped onto her bed, throwing herself into the air and diving into her covers. Whenever she felt tired, this was what she did-Clem couldn’t just sleep like some people, but she could lie around and do nothing, and that was just what Clem felt like doing. Still, today Clem felt like closing her eyes.
It was a lazy day, sure, but she felt like she had accomplished something. She had made up her mind about what to do tomorrow. Honestly, though, Clem knew she was procrastinating, but she still had most of her summer to go. Why not do nothing for a day or two?
Unless, of course, her mother made her get up and do something. In that case, she didn’t have a choice. Clem’s mother was a kind woman, with long black hair and a slightly-too-wide smile. Her face had more wrinkles on it than you would think for a woman of 38.
Despite her kind nature, Clem knew her mother could be as tough as a nail when it came to teaching her daughter virtues. A few months ago, Clem had been made to do some small community service. It was easier than Clem had originally thought-instead of cleaning up bits and pieces of trash in the park for a whole day, all she had to do was visit a retirement home.
The people running the home of course were happy to see a young person taking interest in the elderly. They gave Clem a room number, and asked her to just go in and talk. Apparently there was an older man living in the room, whose wife had passed away. He didn’t have any kids to visit him, so the people at the desk-particularly the one woman, who chewed her lip while talking-figured that he could use a little company.
Robert E. Gillings had a face like a dried prune, and he talked with a slight lisp. His back seemed permanently hunched. His eyes were a strange mix of a sad light blue color and brown that seemed to convey heaviness and sorrow, but the man himself acted the exact opposite at times.
Once, Clem had come into his room, and he had been trying to tap-dance. Failing, of course, but still trying. Despite the shocking things he did sometimes, Robert was a very kind older man. He enjoyed telling Clem stories, and while Clem initially wasn’t thrilled about the idea of listening to an elderly man talk about his golden days, she gradually found herself enjoying her visits.
Mr. GIllings had a way of telling his stories that caught Clem’s interest. He had also been involved in the later years of WWII, which he didn’t like to talk about but came up on occasion.
Clem smiled. Her next visit would be on Friday. The temperature was kept far too warm at the retirement home, but Clem liked going.
She would’ve gone on thinking like this for some time, had she not slipped off of her bed. Correcting herself and lying on her bed, she realized how late it really was-near nine already. Tomorrow, she would definitely be more energetic. Today, though, she would get to bed early. Her eyes closed, Clem began to drift off.
Something was moving. It was weird. She could see the figure even with her eyes closed. When she was asleep. It was making no noise, but it was quite clear in Clem’s subconscious. Oh! It was a dream. Clem remembered something about controlling your dreams she had read online-was it lucid…? Yeah, lucid dreaming! That’s right. Maybe that was what she was experiencing now.
But then the shadow crawled closer.
A clear hand was hovering over Claire’s head now. Clem tried to gasp, but no sound came out. She tried to move, but she couldn’t. The only noise she did really make was a muffled scream when the hand landed on her mouth.
The figure held a finger up to shush her. Now that she could see her visitor more clearly, it was obvious that he was male. The man reached upward, grabbing what looked like the top of his head, and pulling it off.
Of course he had been wearing a ski mask. It was 2 in the morning in the middle of summer; Clem would’ve been able to see his face. But immediately, she noted that he didn’t look the villainous part.
The man’s eyes looked like ponds in the darkness, a bright blue with shadows looming over them. Something was odd-he didn’t look like a murderer, or a thief, or a kidnapper would look in Clem’s imagination. He looked like a kid.
Apparently regaining her senses, Clem folded her legs to her stomach, and then kicked her captor off of her. The trespasser stumbled back a few steps, just enough for Clem to get to her feet.
She was about to run out of her door, when she saw the boy make a hand gesture. His hands were held up in the air, a clear sign of surrender. It didn’t matter, Clem told herself, she would still call the police, but something in her-dumb curiosity, probably-told her to stop.
“Who are you and what are you doing in my room?”
The boy composed himself, and she saw that he was standing straight now.
“I’m the savior.”
“That’s one answer, I asked for two. What are you doing in my room?”
“I’m here to kill you.”
Clem took a step back. Well, more like five steps back. To the point where she was outside her room.
Suddenly aware of the fact that she didn’t have a weapon, Clem reached to grab something-a strange fish-shaped battery-powered lamp she had gotten for Christmas last year.
A passing vehicle made a slight window of light pass through her room, and a light flickered in front of Clem. It was metal. A straight piece of metal. If only for an instant, Clem had seen it. Her attacker was holding a knife. His face now looked psychotic and delusional. It seemed the face of a man who simply didn’t care.
Lunging out, the man came close to drawing blood. Clem stepped backwards into her hallway, barely recognizing what she was doing. Her heart thumped-there was a murderer in her house. Why would anybody want to kill her?
“Oh, you’re a boring one. So typical, to think I’m some run-of-the-mill murderer. Say, do you really think I’m here to kill some random school girl? As if I’m a serial killer.” The man chuckled at this. His face was now barely visible.
“Why would you kill me then?” Clem cautiously inquired. “If you’re not a serial killer, why are you here?” She brandished the lamp like a sword, suddenly thankful that her grandparents had thought to give her such an odd gift.
“Because of who I am I must kill you,” he said, a smile growing on his face.
Definitely a serial killer.
“I am the Protesavior, tiny Diversi, and you are poison. Do not question me!” he added, confusing Clem.
“Look man, just get out of my room, ok?!”
Another fierce slash with the knife, this time nicking across the glass of the lamp. Clem now had no doubt that this guy could murder her.
And then there was a crack in his smile. It was subtle-nothing too large, he clearly didn’t want to give anything away-but something in Clem’s attacker’s attitude had changed. He didn’t seem as sure any more, Not as cunning and ruthless. Now he seemed… confused?
“Oh, she’s an odd one, she is, a true diversi, huh?” he rambled to seemingly no one. “But she couldn’t be that-it’s ridiculous, she’s nowhere near-she doesn’t even know about diversia-she can’t…”
“I can’t do what?” Clem interrupted.
The man jumped at the sound of her voice, apparently terrified. “You stay away from me little one, you stay away… “
Clem gasped. Something red tinged her field of view. Over the boy’s left shoulder crept a small line of orange and red. The boy violently flew his opposite hand to the line, but the line had already spread. The attacker began to scream in agony, as the line of orange-now a flame-like color-expanded to his thigh. Clem then noticed more of the auburn color growing around the boy’s neck, his limbs, and now reaching out over his entire body.
“YOU WILL PAY FOR THIS!” the boy screamed, suddenly swinging his knife arm over his head. His face was slowly melting into what Clem decided to call fire. It didn’t have the same texture of fire, but still produced warmth. There wasn’t enough time to study it extensively, though, because the boy was charging at Clem even as his face disappeared. The blade swung, nicking the lamp several more times as Clem wildly ducked behind it.
He was just screaming now, an unintelligible, horrific sound. The noise made Clem cringe, even as she hid behind her lamp. Suddenly, the screaming ended.
She looked up, and the boy was gone. It was like he had evaporated. He was gone. Clem breathed a sigh of relief, seeing his knife on the ground, then felt guilty-had she just killed the boy? No, if she had killed him there would be a body… right?
Suddenly an awful thought racked Clem’s brain-her parents hadn’t come. She had screamed multiple times. They would’ve heard her at least once. Were they… They couldn’t be….
In a weird instinctive manner, Clem grabbed her necklace from her bedside table. It was a dull necklace-the crappy plastic kind you may find at a gas station or a drug store. The back of it would snap in place. For as awful-looking as it was, Clem clutched it tightly. She couldn’t remember getting this necklace, but it was very important to her.
The necklace had belonged to Clem all of her life. Well, obviously it hadn’t come out of the womb with her, but it was still valuable to her. The little trinket was a gift from her mother. She had gotten it when she was two years old-it was a good deal too small now, and would make a better bracelet-and kept it her entire life.
Clutching it, Clem walked out her door slowly, as if there were more attackers down the hallway. She started to creep down her stairs, being mindful of the fact that they may creak. What was she afraid of? No, she was taking her time, because she didn’t want to know if… well, if her parents were…
This was pathetic. Stop stuttering, Clem, and get to the point, she told herself. She still moved slowly, but at least she was going forward.
There wasn’t a noise when she reached her kitchen-not a light was turned on, making Clem wonder how the murderer had gotten into her room. Based off of the light, something supernatural was definitely at play, so nothing could be assumed… the reality that something supernatural had happened dawned on Clem with unease. Despite being highly attached to fantasy, she believed that everything must have a logical explanation.
Something tapped her lightly on the shoulder. Clem let out a gasp.
Whipping her hair around, she saw nothing. Just darkness. Just darkness and the foreign shape of her kitchen at night. And a strange mass of shadows, standing in the corner.
“Hello?” Clem cautioned. The figure moved something-maybe it was an arm, maybe it was a neck, it was impossible to tell.
“What was that? Hello? I can see you,” Clem said to the shadow. It was now gesturing furiously-Clem wasn’t totally sure what to. Reaching over, she flipped on the light.
For a moment, she was in shock. Then she remembered that a magical serial killer who called himself some Latin word had just broken into her room and attempted murder. And she had defended herself with a fish lantern-which she still clutched in her hand.
She wondered who they were. The two people she was looking at. One was a guy. He was a fairly average height (at least compared to Clem, who considered her short). The other was a skinny girl with a streak of her raven hair died green.
Both were staring directly at Clem. Clem met their gaze, trying to remain calm. She couldn’t let her guard down. The girl’s eyes, she noticed were slightly darker than the streak of hair. The boy had a buzz cut and a serious expression on his face.
The boy’s finger was at his lips, gesturing for her to be quiet. Now his expression was changing… fear? This will be an interesting story, Clem thought. The story of how three people broke into my house, and I ended up dead. What a cheery tale for the afterlife.
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