Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Home Sweet Home and The Day I Disappeared

     The hotel was too small for three people. Period. I felt like I wanted to punch out the walls every day. We all had to share one tiny bathroom, and I swear Eden spent half his time with us on the toilet. I even thought I heard him talking to himself once.

     Turns out his parents are filthy rich and own a huge mansion house, although they're barely around with their business trips and whatnot, according to Eden. He suggested we move in there. "My parents are gone for a month on a trip to China, and I'm sure they wouldn't mind you guys staying over for a while," he said. So we all packed our things and he drove us there. The place was cloud nine. The whole time Kieth was grinning at me with his bright anime eyes while Eden showed us our rooms. Mine was three times the size of our hotel room, with paintings hung on almost every wall and a king sized bed between two regal-looking windows. Kieth's was just as magnificent. The best part was we both got our own bathrooms. "I sleep downstairs in the basement, door's always locked. If you want me, ring the top bell." He pointed to a row of buttons on both our walls before walking out.

     It didn't take long to get cozy. The mattress felt like it was made of clouds and the whole place smelled of vanilla home-baked cookies. Maybe it was a little girly for me, with the daisy wallpaper and pink curtains, but at least I didn't have to share a bed with the creepy necrophiliac anymore. I was just settling in when our host called us down for dinner. That was quick, I thought.

     The dining room was even more lovely than the bedrooms. The table in the center of the room stretched across the entire floor, with eight chairs on each side and two at the very end. An intricate centerpiece, a giant vase overflowing with exotic flowers I can't even name, sat at the middle of the table while Kieth stared at it, almost in a trance. "Shrimp scampi for dinner! My best recipe. Mama taught me." We sat ourselves down while the boy set out large plates of food in front of us, steaming and spewing it's deliciousness in our faces. I've gotta meal of my life. I never thought I would say it, but it was almost better than chocolate ice creams.

     When we finished, Eden cleaned up both Kieth's plates and mine, which still had half the meal on it. "You weren't hungry?" he asked, looking kind of disappointed. "Heck no, I was starving," I laughed, "but you put enough noodles on there for an elephant." I smiled and gave him a pat on the back. For the first time, I felt like maybe we could be friends after all.

     The next morning, just like at dinner, Eden served us a breakfast of french toast and scrambled eggs in the living room. Kieth had Adventure Time playing, smiling up at me and giving me a quick kiss when I came by and sat on the couch with him. Things were going so well, almost feeling normal. I felt like I had when I first ran away with my brother, met my Ladies, felt like I belonged. Kieth still had to go to work though, and once he was gone, I stood in the doorway while Eden pulled on his work uniform and turned to me. "You sure you'll be alright while I'm out?" I nodded. "I could take off a day and stay if you want..."

     "I've killed a man, Eden, I think I'll be okay for a few hours," I said, grinning, as he let out a little chuckle too. "Alright, call me if you need me, hun." With that, he gave me a little high-five and drove out into the street.

     The mansion felt empty with just me in it. To keep myself busy, I went wandering in all the rooms I hadn't yet seen, mostly curious about Eden's. Like he said, he kept it locked, so I went back upstairs and sat on my bed, taking out my laptop and browsing around for nothing in particular. I got a new email.

Hey. ---- told me about you. I'm a friend of his, Ryan. I've been having a problem of my own, a Proxy who calls himself Ren. He's been leaving riddles and threats on our doorstep, even broke in once but didn't seem to take anything. Mostly I'm worried for my daughter's safety. She's only nine. Please contact me back and we can work out a price. Thanks.

     He got online only about fifteen minutes later, and we spent an hour working out a price and choosing a time to meet. He already knew about my age, but it wasn't much of a problem this time. "There aren't many people like you...I don't know any other runners and I'm not good with guns. I'm desperate for help," he said. When we met later that day, his daughter opened the door for me. I wasn't exactly sure how to greet her, if she knew what her dad was dealing with or not. "Daddy, it's Nameless." So she knew who I was, at least. Ryan came to the door, shaking my hand. Normal people, when they first meet me, tend to act awkwardly, less professional than they would with an adult. With this man it wasn't a problem.

     The house was somewhat small. Maybe I'd just gotten used to the mansion and felt weird inside such a tiny building. I sat myself down on the couch while Ryan took out some papers, Mary sitting down beside him. Her eyes were locked on me...she was too demonic for a little girl. "Here," Ryan said, breaking through my thoughts. "These are notes Ren left inside the day he broke in." He handed me the crinkled little papers and watched eagerly as I read. This Proxy was nothing compared to some others I'd seen. I gave the father back the notes and leaned against the couch. "He'll be an easy one to take care of. At least, from what I see here," I said. Ryan and I stood and walked to the door, his daughter scampering off to her room to give us some privacy. We stepped outside, staying silent for a minute until I pointed off towards the forest in their backyard. "He hangs around there?"

     "Yeah, sometimes Mary says she sees him outside her window at night."
     "I think he wants to play," I said, tightening my grip around the switchblade in my pocket.
     Ryan looked at me funny and asked, "You see him?"
     "No, but I have a feeling he knows. He wants us to chase him..."
     "Us?" He said, giving me another look. "I thought I hired you to get rid of him."

     Walking towards the forest, I sighed, getting frustrated. "Or, he may just want me gone, leaving you and your precious baby girl home alone. It'd give him an advantage. Kill you real easy, real fast." I could tell without looking that I'd convinced him. "Honey, Daddy will be back home soon, alright? If anything happens, call me!" With that, we both headed off into the woods.

     I gave Ryan my knife and kept the gun for myself, stepping quietly over piles of dead leaves and new snow, just starting to drift down from the sky. "What if something happens at the house?" Ryan asked before I harshly shushed him. The rest of the way we continued in silence, until I saw the man pointing to the left with a wide-eyed expression. "Saw him?" He nodded, holding the switchblade out in front of him. I pulled out the handgun and moved behind a tree, turning to peek around the trunk. Suddenly I heard running footsteps, my body whirling around just as Ryan tripped back, Ren landing atop him. I lunged as fast as I could towards them, but the Proxy shoved himself off and stumbled back, Ryan waving his flimsy weapon around at nothing. I regret it, but I couldn't help standing and staring at the two complete idiots. Either one could have died so easily; both were undefended and out in the open.

     Hesitating like that made me lose my opportunity. Ren had regained his balance and gone clambering up a tree when a branch snapped under his foot and slammed right down on my chest, knocking me to the ground. I struggled to push it off, feeling something slide out from underneath me. I turned in time to see Ryan holding my gun in bloody hands. "No! Give it to me!" I shouted, scrambling along the cold dirt. I could see how far off his aim was, then noticed Ren falling down, snapping branches until he came plummeting towards me. I hesitated, panicking, saw the barrel of the gun pointed towards me, and I screamed. Ryan raised the weapon just an inch as he fired. Then I felt a pain right near my left socket. I lifted a hand to my face as Ren fell on top of me but slowly lifted himself up; the fabric of the eye patch was ripped and so was my skin. I felt woozy as I stared at the blood on my hand that touched the wound. The weight on my back lifted, I heard faint footsteps fleeing, and my vision started to clear up again.

     "Oh God, Nameless, I swear...That was an accident...I meant to get Ren's chest, but he was falling too fast. I still got his arm. Nameless, I swear, I didn't mean to hit you!" Ryan pleaded, even falling onto his knees as I stood and stepped towards him. It was like gravity insisted on tugging me down. Balance was unknown to me. My eye was locked onto the gun. Once I had it in my hand again I reached Ryan, his eyes red and wet, and helped him up with my free hand. For a while we stood without talking, then Ryan wiped his eyelids and chuckled a bit. "I actually though you were going to shoot me or something," he laughed, leaning against the tree. For a minute, I let out a little giggle as well. We both stood there, laughing, until I raised the gun and grinned. "Learn to follow your instincts next time. Hehehehe!"

     I enjoyed pulling the trigger. I enjoyed watching the bullet dig itself into his skull. The way his face changed when I laughed, the gun in my hand. How I left his body in the woods, let Ren run from the fight. How I left Mary without a father. It was all so...magnificent. The best moments of my life. And...And I don't regret it. Maybe now I do, maybe a little. But at times, when I feel sad, I think about that day and I smile to myself. I've changed so much, but I can't decide: for better or for worse?


  1. 71c10u5 6nd pr3c153, 6n 6d3qu6t3 r35p0n53. Y0u c0u1d 373n c0n51d3r 1t 6n 6ct 0f MERCY.

  2. Mercy? I don't know. It was just the Rage that took over. I could hear the Voice in my head, almost like static.