Continuing on with the web series that my friend Kim and I started…presenting Chapter Four. Kim is writing Blades side of the story and I’m writing Viola’s.
She’s waiting for answers, but I have no idea how much I should actually tell her. I take a huge bite of my burger to buy myself some time. Hon, you should probably know everything from witches to ghosts and fairies exists. There is a crazy amount of power coming from you. I can sense it and I’m pretty sure everyone in the vicinity can, too. I’m guessing once you turn eighteen it’s going to pour from you. The world could explode or you can read minds or you’ll turn people into toadstools or nothing will change. I’m not exactly sure what will happen. Yeah, that probably wouldn’t go over too well. While sugarcoating ain’t my style, the poor girl looks skittish enough as it is. I don’t think I can do that to her. And I’m dying to know what she’s aware of. Does she know about the massive energy leak coming from her?
Chewing slowly, I can’t help but think about the trail of energy that practically oozes out of her pores. While I was studying (playing with) the sword in Lost in Time, I knew she was already in the shop. Hell, all the artifacts in place wouldn’t shut up about it. There was a hum of chatter norms would have been unable to hear. The sword itself vibrated. Artemis’s bust was giving her the evil eye. Huh, a long turned stone goddess can be jealous. Interesting. I wonder what it means.
Mr. O’ Hara had entered the shop from wherever he hides when there are no customers and everything in the store quieted. It took a lot of energy to keep my jaw from hitting the floor. I knew he wasn’t as frail as he appeared, but this show of omnipotence was fascinating. It took a lot of mojo to shut up the mystical. I don’t recall ever giving him my name during my previous visits, but I wasn’t all that shocked that he seemed to know both of us, but the job thing had surprised me a little. I hadn’t been looking for a job, but anything that gave me an opportunity to be close to Vi and keep an eye on her worked for me.
“Well, I honestly don’t know how much to tell you. This town is rife with…different activity.” I say after swallowing the last of my burger.
Eyes wide, she asks, “Different how?”
I decide to test her. “What do you feel when you go through town?”
Her brows scrunch in confusion. “Feel? Nervous, but that’s normal. I’m new here. Everyone gets nervous in new places.”
“That’s true to an extent. Do you feel you’re being watched? Are there specific things that make you more uncomfortable than others?” I watch her closely.
“Hello—new girl here. Of course, I’m being watched. Everyone is curious about the new girl for a few days at least. Especially when she makes an ass of herself on her first day!”
Ah, she’s showing spunk. That’s a relief. It may be buried inside her, but she’s no weakling.
Pretending to change the subject, I ask, “What do you think of those statues on top of all the buildings?”
She takes a moment to think as pokes her pot pie distractedly with her fork. “The gargoyles? They’re odd, but I’ve seen similar ones in most of the towns we’ve lived in. I never realized how popular those are in America.”
I stare at her poor decimated pot pie as I speak. “People believe they bring protection to the buildings and surrounding areas. They’re really pretty common. Do you feel anything from them?”
Sometimes I forget that not everyone was raised like I was and that things I’ve grown up being normal aren’t common knowledge to them. I’ve probably known about gargoyles before I was a gleam in my father’s eye. Ewww…I’ve got to remember to never think that thought again.
The gargoyles perched above the town serve dual purposes: Protection and their own entertainment. I’ve had my run-ins with the Freds after dark, in this town and others. Yes, all of their names are Fred. While it’s easy to remember, it makes it more than a little difficult to distinguish who’s who and they love to talk, usually at the same time. I’ve contemplated putting colored ribbons on them to differentiate. “Red Fred, you may speak now. Green Fred, you wait your turn.” For some reason, I don’t think I could get away with that without anyone noticing and when they’re chattering in my head, it wouldn’t make a difference anyway.
From a distance they’re scary with their demonic resemblance. Up close, they remind me more of what may happen if a cat and a monkey mated, with a dash of bat thrown into the mix. So ugly, they’re actually kind of cute. They’re little boogers, but highly entertaining. I’m not sure I should tell Vi any of this. I don’t want to freak her out more than she already is.
She crosses her eyes before she responds. I don’t think she’s taking me seriously. “Well, maybe a little. I thought one waved at me once, but it was raining, so I may have imagined it.”
I smirk. “Probably not. They are pretty friendly as long as they don’t see you as a threat.”
Her fork clatters on the plate as she stares at me wide eyed. “What are you talking about? They’re friggin statues! They don’t move.”
“I’m sorry to tell you, but they do. They’re pretty funny, too.”
She looks as though she’s about to hyperventilate. “Crap, Vi, calm down. It’s not a big deal. We’re different than a lot of other people. Actually, most of the people here are different than the folks in other towns.”
Now her eyes shoot daggars at me. “You keep saying ‘different’, but you’re not telling me shit! If you’re going to talk in vague circles, I’m leaving. I already told you I need to get home.”
As she gets up to leave, I grab her hand. “Stop. Sit. NOW.”
Daggars are still pointing in my direction, but she does as I say.
I’m trying not to yell, so in a harsh whisper I ask, “You want to know what’s going on? Why don’t you start listening to what’s going on around you? Stop explaining things away and pay attention. Maybe you’ll learn a few things that don’t include hiding.”
“You don’t know a damn thing about me, so why don’t you keep your opinions to yourself?” She left off ‘asshole’, but I feel like it was implied.
When she gets up to leave this time, I let her. I need to rethink my approach because I’m definitely sucking right now. I can’t stop the cheerful “See you tomorrow, Vi!” from coming out of my mouth. Her shoulders slump in defeat momentarily before she rushes from the diner.
I pay our bill and head out. Well that was a dismal failure.
Nice going, Bladey Boy!
You made her run away!
Did you remember to chew with your mouth closed?
You didn’t plan this out very well, did you?
What did ya eat? Did you save me some?
Damn Freds. I look up to the rooftops. During the day they can project their voices to anyone with the ability of hearing them. I think back at them so I don’t look crazy yelling up to them, I know I messed up! It’s not like I knew about her when I woke up this morning. You guys didn’t care to share with me.
Not our fault you screwed the pooch on this.
I tried, Bladey, but they wouldn’t let me! *snicker* He’s lying.
You’re lying, shut up.
If you’re going to keep an eye on her, maybe you should do a better job. In case you didn’t know, she’s gone and doesn’t seem to like you much. You should probably find a way to talk to her without making her mad. She could explode you, like no problem. You want us to talk to her? We have a better chance of getting it right. The pretty ladies love us. We also hold up better when it comes to not exploding.
I glare at the Fred on top of the diner, taking a guess as to which is talking. Shut it! I can do it myself. It won’t be better coming from you. She’ll think she’s going crazy if she starts hearing voices in her head. Wait, she can blow me up?
Oh, crap. I need to find a way to make nice.
I hear the echoes of laughter as I get to my car.
In my bed, I realize this has been the longest day ever. I have more questions than answers. I now have a job that I wasn’t looking for, a new friend that doesn’t like me, and homework I have no intention of doing. I can’t talk to my parents about this. Hell, I don’t even know where they are. They weren’t here when I got home.
Vi has to be the reason we came here. The Freds were no help, other than telling me I want to be on her good side and that the ladies apparently love them. How the hell do I get on her good side after mucking it up so badly today? I’ve got to figure it out. Maybe I should do what I didn’t do earlier: Use my words. I hop my butt back out of bed and pull out a pen and paper at my desk.
Things didn’t go well earlier. I’m sorry about that. I’m not used to dealing with girls (please don’t blow me up) and using my words.
The truth is honestly that I don’t know what’s going on here. My parents haven’t explained to me (I’ll explain to you if you ever talk to me again). I just know there are odd things about this town. People have gone missing. Weird occurrences happen. I looked for mermaids in the river, but didn’t see them. Maybe they’re inland. (No, I’m not crazy.) The people of the town have done a really good job of covering up whatever is going on here.
Mr. O’Hara at Lost in Time has never really spoken to me before, so his giving us both jobs was a head-scratcher as well.
The gargoyles in town are named Fred. Actually, they’re all named Fred. Don’t ask me, you’ll have to talk to them about it. They think you’re pretty, by the way, and think you have the ability to blow me up. (I really am not crazy.) Would you happen to know anything about this?
I’m used to having answers, but right now everything just adds another question to my Pisa of a pile. Nothing is as it seems here and for once, I’m in the dark as well. I know you have secrets, but how ‘bout a little game of I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours?
Please don’t blow me up.
Blade Derringer (the guy who likes being in one piece)