Novel Soul Cry

Discussion in 'Writer's Cafe' started by Moe, May 27, 2016.

  1. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    For those of you from A4, you've seen my work, this one in particular which I finished the first draft some time ago. Since then I have been hard at work on the second draft. Many things have chanced, such as taking out all narration; introducing characters sooner so not having them appear for a short time; name changes, and so on.

    Summary:
    Moving from her Hawaiian home, Naomi now lives in an Funeral Home with four other "students" under the training of a vicious old woman who only goes by "Mistress" they will become trained with how to deal with people's sanity--what makes them loose control of who they are. And how to lead them to peace before their regrets eats their souls and manifests into black amoeba like beings called Husks.

    Not the best summary, I'm working on it.

    [​IMG]

    This is what I have done so far...
    Introductory Arc

    Depending on feedback I'll post more or not, we'll see.
    regardless I'll probably post all of it.

     
  2. Ravok

    Ravok ~Hoping he will get a reply soon

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    Welcome back mo :D.
    And hey, you arent the only writer here ;-; Dont take all that credit jk jk :p
     
  3. Alca

    Alca Composer
    Bronze Founder

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    I only have time to read the first part right now, but I liked it. Fiction written in present tense is rather uncommon so it took a while to get used to it, but it was still an interesting read. Also not to be picky, but there was a typo in one of the first sentences: "My had being squeezed slightly, I stare up at the faceless man holding my hand." I try not to judge drafts on grammar though, it's just the first thing I noticed lol.

    The plot was quite solid so I don't have any criticism on that front. My main advice would be stylistic. For instance I noticed one or two comma splices, like here:

    "But a few nice things have happened that has kept me going, my grandmothers love, and now, how I am taking care of her, she has become my motivation, my social life may be terrible, but my life with my grandmother is nothing but fond memories."

    It should be broken up as:

    "But a few nice things have happened that has kept me going, my grandmothers love, and now, how I am taking care of her. She has become my motivation. My social life may be terrible, but my life with my grandmother is nothing but fond memories.

    Also: "Listen, mother is getting old and I know you’ve been doing a splendid job of taking care of her, but it’s time for her to come to the states with us, I don’t know how much longer she’ll be around and we might never get her aboard a plane again."

    Should be "Listen, mother is getting old and I know you’ve been doing a splendid job of taking care of her, but it’s time for her to come to the states with us. I don’t know how much longer she’ll be around and we might never get her aboard a plane again."

    I'm not going to nitpick or anything, and I know this is only a draft, but my main advice would be to watch your commas and such. I actually really enjoyed the plot so far, so the only feedback I can really give at the moment is stylistic.

    Anyway, great work. I do think you should post more
     
    #3 Alca, May 28, 2016
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
  4. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    Like I said, regardless I'll be posting, there's 30 some pages there to read so I won't be posting the next arc until I finish it and I haven't really started that yet.

    Thanks for the comma advice, I do need to watch that XD.
     
  5. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    Took a break from typing but I'm back, here is the first chapter of the next arc which is titled "lost" still working on a good title but for now that's it.

    A great thing to come out of taking the narration away is that I have to demonstrate the examples and explanations I had in the narrations so there is that, but it also takes out useless information. Also including Scarlet which only appeared randomly later on in the story, this way I can make her feel more apart of the world than she was earlier. I can't wait for the scene I use her with Paul later on in this arc. Sometimes my stories match up too precisely and it isn't until later that I notice a opening such as here. But telling you would be spoils so nope, none of that.

    Part I: Naomi
    The viewing almost over, I decide to hold off, I want to be alone when I see my grandmother for possible the last time. She may still be with me in spirit but it is sad in a way to see a loved one go.

    Approaching the casket which holds my grandmother, I surprisingly do not feel sad. I feel this has to do with the night before when I fought against that Husk. My mother and grandmother where with me, I felt them…I can’t help but feel sad for Miia though…I have no idea how I will talk with her come Monday.

    My Instrument is inherited. Like the Mistress told me, both my mother and grandmother used these rifles and they even feel as if they have a personality all their own. One that spawned from them. A strong and forthright one that does not waver.

    I stare down at my own two hands pausing a few rows from the casket as this train of thought comes to mind. I understand very little but I feel like this is what I should be doing now…both my mother and grandmother have given me their blessing when I was attacked and when I saw that I am not defenseless. That I can stand on my own two feet.

    Grandma Kala rests before me, laying peacefully in her velvet inlayed casket. Her eyes closed and a pleasing smile on her face. The Mistress said Danny was the mortician, so he prepped her body for the viewing, he does good work. She almost looks alive. My eyes tear up some as I find a sliver of a line on her upper arm, only partially covered by the fine dress she’s been placed in. “What’s left of her eye.” I hear the Mistress speak as she stops besides me, noting my line of sight and smiling. “We were interrupted last night, but partly why you can see the Eyes unlike the others is because your personality is more mature. More stable than theirs. They are still growing, you, yours is stable and that allows you to see the unknown as it were.”

    Trying to make me feel better is not helping, I know I screwed up due to lack of knowledge and that eats at me even now, but nodding, only slightly paying attention to her, my eyes are glued to my grandmother. Her sleeping face looks peaceful and I can only imagine that she has gone to a better place, she has gone to her husband who died years and years before. I remember stories she used to tell me of him, the strong and able young man that stole her heart and fought bravely in Vietnam. He had died due to a heart attack and stress shortly after returning home and only bearing her Uncle Mike and my mother.

    I hear the Mistress clearing her throat and I look over my shoulder, “you seem to have spaced out while I was still talking. I will understand if you want to have today off, but we have training later.”

    Shaking my feelings away, yes, I am sad, but no, I want to be of help, I want to help so I must train as well so I understand everything. Almost choking on my words from speaking so fast I deter the Mistresses statement. “I will practice with everyone today. I should not be mopping because I already know my grandmother went to a nicer place.”

    The Mistress lips part as a broad grinning expression appears, “good, just like your mother would have said.” She pauses as she turns back down the aisle, about to leave me. “Don’t be too friendly with her. Scarlet is a ghost if you had not guess and quite troublesome.”

    “We help them right? That is my understanding of why I am here…” I turn to her, my time with Scarlet was short after the Mistress parted from us the night before. She comforted me some, made me smile and vanished after some time, before I even knew it I was cheerful again, a lackluster cheerfulness but somewhere in my heart I felt happy again. I did some bad stuff but I also was praised but someone who apparently is hard to please. “We cannot help Scarlet?”

    “Child I am not saying we cannot help her, we can, the issue is that her memory is reset daily, and she appears randomly. We cannot help someone who does not know why they themselves have died. She has been around here for thirty years and has yet to remember anything.”

    “She has a name, she remembers that.” I tell the Mistress. I want to help someone so nice even if I only just met her.

    “Now is not the time to help her. Once she remembers we can. Not until.” She quietly tells me as Scarlet enters the viewing area that we are in, wearing the same attire from the night before.

    “We talking about me?” Her voice is hollow, her expression one of contempt. A false smile towards me while a more glaring face towards the Mistress. “I know I’ve been here a long time, and I do want help, why do you just ignore me?”

    The Mistresses own voice and mannerisms change as she walks away from us, “we should not be discussing this in the presents of the dead.”

    “When is a good time dear Mary?” Scarlet poofs into a cloud of smoke and rushes forward though the air, appearing in front of her. “If not now when will you help me?”

    “You need to remember yourself! Now stop disrespecting my friend. Leave this room leave until you can remember, Re…” She stops herself. “If I give you any knowledge I know then you will create false memories that will only hurt you, and possibly turn you into a Husk, I am doing this for your own good!” The Mistress brows are knit and her face is scary as she walks right though Scarlet and leaves us, her cane echoing on the wood flooring as she opens the door to the room and leaves us.

    Scarlet to gives a frustrating sigh as she vanishes. Alone again, I give one last look to my grandmother. She will be brought back to the graveyard later this afternoon and buried. Not many people are here besides her direct family. There are not many of us and all her friends have long since passed. She a living relic from times long since passed and it pleases me that she can finally rest. I have had great memories of her even with her diminishing memory, and seeing who she used to be though those clouds of Alzheimers’ are some of my fondest memories of her. Who she was and who she became I loved both of them dearly…

    Feeling my eyes well up, I know I should not be crying for her, she would not want me to. She would say to remember her, and if I do that she would never truly be dead. She told me the same about my mother, yet I was so young when she passed away that those memories are vague and few between. These thoughts make me cry even more as in shallow breaths I tell her, “rest in peace,” my hand resting her hers before I depart. “I will not forget you.”
    1,237 words

    Some music to listen to.
     
  6. Ravok

    Ravok ~Hoping he will get a reply soon

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    Glad to see you back at it again moe, hopefully i can keep up this time :p
     
  7. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    The question is are you? Either way the feedback is always nice.
     
  8. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    So, hard at the grind stone, I would normally post a new chapter at this point, but I haven't started editing again till about a week ago, and lately I found that the current chapter I was editing had no real value to it besides a great fight scene. Well because of that I figure out where I am now going to put a particular scene, but that has to come after a different event later on, meaning I have to swap chapters around, take out information here and add it there and so on. Big pain in the ass but must be done.

    This has caused me to re edit part 1 of this arc. Much of it is the same, in fact I took noting out from the original, and added some to the beginning and a lot to it's end.

    Re edited draft Part 1: Naomi

    They leave, the last to. My uncle with his daughters. Fate is stone faced, seeing me and giving me a mild smile, no real emotions conveyed behind it. Hope, a different story, her eyes are red, she’s been crying. And Uncle Mike, his face grim, he is just as sad to see his mother go as I would be, I don’t know my own mother well and after I was taken in by my grandmother, and my memories of my own mother faded.

    A hand on both Fate’s and Hope’s back, he leads them out, noticing me as I move forward, ready to see my grandma for possibly the last time. The viewing almost over, I decide to hold off, I want to be alone with her so I waiting for everyone else to leave. She may still be with me in spirit but it is sad to see a loved one go.

    “Naomi, come to my office after you’re done here.” He says quietly as we pass one another.

    “Sure,” I respond, walking through the double glass doors into the reposting room, at the front in a beautiful varnished casket lays my Grandmother. A smile on fixated on her face. She looks pleasant from a distances.

    Approaching the casket, I surprisingly do not feel sad. I feel this has to do with the night before when I fought against that Husk. My mother and grandmother where with me, I felt them…I can’t help but feel sad for Miia though…I have no idea how I will talk with her come Monday.

    My Instrument is inherited. Like the Mistress told me, both my mother and grandmother used these rifles and they even feel as if they have a personality all their own. One that spawned from them. A strong and forthright one that does not waver.

    I stare down at my own two hands pausing a few rows from the casket as this train of thought comes to mind. I understand very little but I feel like this is what I should be doing now…both my mother and grandmother have given me their blessing when I was attacked and when I saw that I am not defenseless. That I can stand on my own two feet.

    Grandma Kala rests before me, laying peacefully in her velvet inlayed casket. Her eyes closed and a pleasing smile on her face. The Mistress said Danny was the mortician, so he prepped her body for the viewing, he does good work. She almost looks alive. My eyes tear up some as I find a sliver of a line on her upper arm, only partially covered by the fine dress she’s been placed in. “What’s left of her eye.” I hear the Mistress speak as she stops besides me, noting my line of sight and smiling. “We were interrupted last night, but partly why you can see the Eyes unlike the others is because your personality is more mature. More stable than theirs. They are still growing, you, yours is stable and that allows you to see the unknown as it were.”

    Trying to make me feel better is not helping, I know I screwed up due to lack of knowledge and that eats at me even now, but nodding, only slightly paying attention to her, my eyes are glued to my grandmother. Her sleeping face looks peaceful and I can only imagine that she has gone to a better place, she has gone to her husband who died years and years before. I remember stories she used to tell me of him, the strong and able young man that stole her heart and fought bravely in Vietnam. He had died due to a heart attack and stress shortly after returning home and only bearing her Uncle Mike and my mother.

    I hear the Mistress clearing her throat and I look over my shoulder, “you seem to have spaced out while I was still talking. I will understand if you want to have today off, but we have training later.”

    Shaking my feelings away, yes, I am sad, but no, I want to be of help, I want to help so I must train as well so I understand everything. Almost choking on my words from speaking so fast I deter the Mistresses statement. “I will practice with everyone today. I should not be mopping because I already know my grandmother went to a nicer place.”

    The Mistress lips part as a broad grinning expression appears, “good, just like your mother would have said.” She pauses as she turns back down the aisle, about to leave me. “Don’t be too friendly with her. Scarlet is a ghost if you had not guess and quite troublesome.”

    “We help them right? That is my understanding of why I am here…” I turn to her, my time with Scarlet was short after the Mistress parted from us the night before. She comforted me some, made me smile and vanished after some time, before I even knew it I was cheerful again, a lackluster cheerfulness but somewhere in my heart I felt happy again. I did some bad stuff but I also was praised by someone who apparently is hard to please. “We cannot help Scarlet?”

    “Child I am not saying we cannot help her, we can, the issue is that her memory is reset daily, and she appears randomly. We cannot help someone who does not know why they themselves have died. She has been around here for thirty years and has yet to remember anything.”

    “She has a name, she remembers that.” I tell the Mistress. I want to help someone so nice even if I only just met her.

    “Now is not the time to help her. Once she remembers we can. Not until.” She quietly tells me as Scarlet enters the viewing area that we are in, wearing the same attire from the night before.

    “We talking about me?” Her voice is hollow, her expression one of contempt. A false smile towards me while a more glaring face towards the Mistress. “I know I’ve been here a long time, and I do want help, why do you just ignore me?”

    The Mistresses own voice and mannerisms change as she walks away from us, “we should not be discussing this in the presents of the dead.”

    “When is a good time dear Mary?” Scarlet poofs into a cloud of smoke and rushes forward though the air, appearing in front of her. “If not now when will you help me?”

    “You need to remember yourself! Now stop disrespecting my friend. Leave this room leave until you can remember…” She stops herself. “If I give you any knowledge I know then you will create false memories that will only hurt you. The possibly of you turning into a Husk would be irreversible, I am doing this for your own good!” The Mistress brows are knit and her face is scary as she walks right though Scarlet and leaves us, her cane echoing on the wood flooring as she opens the door to the room and leaves us.

    Scarlet to gives a frustrating sigh as she vanishes. Alone again, I give one last look to my grandmother. She will be brought back to the graveyard later this afternoon and buried. Not many people are here besides her direct family. There are not many of us and all her friends have long since passed. She a living relic from times long since passed and it pleases me that she can finally rest. I have had great memories of her even with her diminishing memory, and seeing who she used to be though those clouds of Alzheimers’ are some of my fondest memories of her. Who she was and who she became I loved both of them dearly…

    Feeling my eyes well up, I know I should not be crying for her, she would not want me to. She would say to remember her, and if I do that she would never truly be dead. She told me the same about my mother, yet I was so young when she passed away that those memories are vague and few between. These thoughts make me cry even more as in shallow breaths I tell her, “rest in peace,” my hand resting on hers before I depart.

    My steps echoing on the hard wood floor as I enter the hall through those same double doors, leaving a part of myself behind, a part that will fade into memory along with her. That’s how memories are, they remind us of what once was, guiding us and determine what our next course of action is. That is how I see them. Glancing where I came from earlier, I proceed left, to where I am going. I am happy to see no one else; I like the serenity.

    With the echoes dying off as I enter the foyer, and from there, into my uncle’s office. I sit my bottom down in one of the seats off to the side of his desk at the center of the room. To the right, where I am now sitting an off green couch that belongs to another decade. Across from me two matching chairs with plenty of fluff making for a comfortable sit.

    On his desk, flat screen monitor for a computer slanted towards his leather chair. Behind there, are embedded bookcases in the wall, two with a larger divided between and cabinets half way down, all embroidered with lilies, more flowers, which seems to be the comment theme of this place. Even the emblem on the brochure is a lily. The door to this room, made of thick wood and has the same pattern as the doors leading into the mansion.

    In the divide a few larger shelves with awards from his youth and a photo of him and his wife, another of him with his kids, of one of all of us. My family and I included from very long ago. I am about to stand to go take a look when Uncle Mike shows up.

    My only thoughts are getting scolded from him like I was the night before. I did not know, how could I not do something that would not help Miia, she needed help and I acted…the Mistress praised me for my actions, taking into consideration that I had no idea what I was doing. She is kind to me…

    He looks shocked to see me and turns to face away from me, walking over to his own desk, not glancing once back to me before taking a seat. Facing me now, his hands rest on the desk, tapping a finger a few times, as I feel he is thinking, wondering what he should tell me, or say. Did he not already know what he wanted to talk with me about?

    “Uncle…”

    “A second, I wasn’t expecting you so soon, I thought you would want to spend more time with her.”

    I shake my head, repeating to him what I told the Mistress not long ago. “Scarlet was there as well,” I know now is not the right time to ask, I think he wants to discuss other matters but I want to help Scarlet, like I helped Miia. “Is there anything we can do to help her.”

    He frowns, “we can talk about that later…but no, we can’t do anything to help her. I’m guessing you heard one of their fights. The Mistress is absolutely right on the matter; we can’t help if she doesn’t remember.”

    “What is this about then,” I ask lifting my hand and presenting him with what he wants to discuss. He takes the motion and begins speaking of Miia.

    “I’m not going to reproach you as the others have. With the limited knowledge you have on what we do, what things are and how everything work, you were correct in wanting to help you, please don’t be defensive about this. Your mom was similar.”

    “I am not my mom; I do not even remember her all that well.”

    “Right,” he goes quiet, the tapping on his desk continues and he pauses only to clear his throat, “we have a long history with your friend, and you’ve seen what she likes to do. She’s a journalist. A sneaky one to. She’s been around here a few times, once or twice even we’ve had to get the police involved because she wouldn’t leave…”

    Following what he is telling me, I do understand, having a nuisance around is a pain and she does give off that vibe but she’s also nice. “do you have a reason for telling me about her, am I supposed to be wary of her?”

    “Yes, frankly. Perhaps I should begin with why. What we do here is help which you grasped that much from being here only a week. It’s easy enough to see, but what’s not is that we also do this work from the shadows. Having people know there are Husk out there is like having everyone know about aliens or something, it’s unnatural and people aren’t going to react kindly to a group of people being able to stop and prevent them from causing destruction.” He watches my reaction which I remain straight face as I hear him out. He simply continues. “I want you to change Miia’s mind…we have a serum that we use on people, having them digest a bit of it and then speaking to them vaguely about what they saw, we can make them think it was but a dream.

    “No.” I say flatly, “I only have one friend here, I do not want to ruin that by giving her false memoires. We just talked about this with Scarlet, if we told her what happened to her, bad stuff could happen, is this not the same thing in reverse?”

    “Naomi, you have to understand, she’d be in more danger if she knew more, we have a job, that is to prevent Husk from causing destruction, by making people who witness our actions forget, they have no ties to us, we can stay hidden and we can remain protecting them. It’s a principle thing, we have to stay hidden because people don’t understand what we do, people can’t see Husk like we can.” He stands from his desk, staring at me, again forcing me into a submissive position.

    “What would mom do?” I question, “would she change her friend’s memories for her safety?”

    Uncle Mike goes quiet as he mulls over my question, “that isn’t the kind of question you should ask. She’s made mistakes to, and you will to, I fear that I may be asking too much of you…”

    “You think?” I argue back and he remains quiet, pulling out a draw from behind his desk.

    “I’ll leave the choice up to you,” he pulls a small glass bottle out of the draw. “this is what we call, and I know you’ll hate the name but the Force Suggestive Serum. Only a little is needed, and vaguely talking with her to change what she thinks…her memory’s won’t go away, just make her think it was a dream, and over time that will fade too.”

    He watches me, stand and walk over to the desk, seeing yellow tape on the ground I look back at him, then the glass jar. “What do you mean?”

    “I’m wondering if I can trust your trust in Miia, is she a good girl like you believe she is…I have false pretenses towards her so I can’t, and no one else here can make that judgment like you can.” He’s meek now, sounding like he lost a long battle which I don’t think we had one, I thought I was logical about this, I do not want my friend to lose her memory of anything.

    “Okay.” I answer him, taking the jar off his desk and pocketing it. “We have training tonight right. I would like to participate in that.” I change the subject, wanting to get away from the idea of memories and changing them. It is not natural.

    “It may be more useful if you would consider what we’ve talked about, it’s not a decision to take likely. And I already see that…” He stops, he sees that I am upset and I am glaring at him, I want to leave. “You have no official training till Monday, I have already talked with the Mistress and she agrees that is wise, cool off, figure out what you want to do, what’s best and act from there.”

    Leaving the room, I slam the door behind me, I thought I heard him say something more, but whatever it was is not important to me. Sighing I storm back to my own room, my actions differentiation from what I normally would do, they were not normal for me. Why was I talking back, what did I get stubborn, like when he first called me weeks ago to come here. Am I changing that much because of my new surroundings, puberty?

    Shaking my head, I reach my room and enter, falling face forward onto my bed with my mind in a jumbled mess of confusion and desperation. I want guidance but there is none here, I do not know anyone like Grandmother Kala…I feel alone. Only now missing her and crying into my sheets.
    2,908 Words

     
  9. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    I don't like having to use the same POV twice in a row but I felt it was called for.

    Part 2: Naomi
    Slipping my legs though a beautiful white laced skirt that almost covers my heelless Mary Jane’s and a half sleeved T-shirt, the bottom half a light blue, with waves to transition into the white upper half. A crescent moon hair pin over my left bang, and my hair combed seamlessly and resting over my shoulder in a ponytail.

    Observing the cafeteria, I take my usual seat near the double doors which would take me to the halls of the school. Fiddling with my fork by shifting through my caser salad, finding the bits of hard boiled eggs and eating those first. In the void of my mind, all I can think about right now is how to address Miia. Much like me, she lost someone close to her recently, her brother and I’m the one who ended him. That’s been eating at me more than anything else. Sure my grandmother passed away, that’s sad, then the move, now this with ending my friend’s brother. Am I murder?

    The mix signals from everyone else tell me it’s part of the job, that he was already long dead, that he corrupted soul was all that was left which I destroyed, yet improperly…I am so confused…

    Exhaling as I look up I almost choke on the small piece of egg I was chewing. Sporting blue jean shorts and a grey hoody with the Keso logo on it, a full moon shining behind the letters, Miia sets her tray across from me at this round and barren table. Planting herself, she begins digging into her own food, some pizza in the largest compartment in the center of the blue tray. Peas and carrots in another, apple sauce, and chocolate milk to flush all that down in a forth.

    Neither of us says a word as we awkwardly and haphazardly eat our own food. My mind already racing, strands of ideas pop up here and there but are quickly dismissed as I try to find those perfect words which I am not all that fluent when I am anxious.

    “I don’t know what to say…” She speaks quietly, and my suspicions are confirmed pretty quickly, that she feels the same as I do at this point, but whether those are the same as my reasons have yet to be seen. “You’ve talked with your Uncle I’m sure?”

    “Yes,” I answer, setting my fork down and wondering what she knows. By the sounds of it from Uncle Mike, she probably knows a lot, and that the trust issue I know have with her, is she someone I can trust, and is Uncle Mike placing blame on someone who is trustworthy. This and many other thoughts are all constricting my concentration, but I wait for her to answer, even so.

    She gives me a sheepish look as she continues on, “I’ve prowled around your home in the past, and I’ve continued up until last year, they got the police involved and my dad gave me a stern talk. I’ve stopped since but I’ve always remain curious.”

    “I have no say in the matter, just arriving here a week ago, we do not know each other all that well either…this does not feel like the right time to be having this interment of a conversation.”

    “Something unavoidable to say the least, you understand what happened right? I don’t but I am thankful, I got a goodbye from him.”

    My mouth dropping, I get the sense that a bit of weight I was carrying left me. “You…a goodbye from him?”

    “That…that thing.”

    “A Husk,” I say, my thoughts turning away from even thinking about giving her any of that serum. “Our friendship is still new and even with many things against you, they are only from the perspective of my uncle and the others. I am choosing to trust you.”

    I do not know if I am even right but I want our friendship to work out, I do not want to lose someone who said they have fun around me. I have fun around her too.

    She smiles, some tension released as she goes back to her food, munching on the last of the pizza, she has only the crust left and begins dipping it into the apple sauce. “Both of us were bothered by how we’d react today I bet, but seems like there was nothing to worry about.” Her mood flipped completely, she is surprisingly happy once again. I am to as I giggle, smiling at her. “We’re like Bonny and Clyde…I’m Bonny though.”

    “They died,” I laugh, knowing the history behind them and Miia gives me a blank look before acknowledging that I am right.

    “That’s a poor example, but what I am getting at is we are destine to be friends. I have very few true friends here, and after meeting you, and being allowed to get a proper goodbye from Satoru, it all but cemented my belief that we’re friends. True friends. The shy, quiet girl and loud and obnoxious one.”

    “So you are okay with your brother’s death?” I question.

    She tilts her head at me as she reaches for the other slice of pizza, “When I came home that night, my dad knew I knew about his death, yet he said nothing and I said nothing. His death came and went without me knowing but to me, he’s alive.” She sighs, “see when a person dies their physical form is put into the earth or cremated. But what truly matters to me, is my memories of him. He won’t truly die until I am a senile old bat rambling on about kids playing in my lawn and how the TV is too loud when it’s just right.” She says panning her arm over the table, palm forward and motioning for me like the scene she just told me about is playing in front of us. Laughing myself I bring up my grandmother.

    “My grandmother’s funeral was over the weekend…what you just said, that is true for me as well, I believe she is here with me, in my memory, I’ll always remember who she was, both while she had Alzheimer and while she didn’t, when I was much younger. My parents…”

    Pausing I feel like I’ve forgotten something very important. My mind is blank and I stare at Miia who tilts her head the other way.

    Finishing the second piece then dipping the crust in the remaining apple sauce and starting her peas and carrots, “You know there is something I wanted to run by you.” She pulls out a folded up news clipping and hands it to me. Lost in thought once again, the news clipping brings me back jarringly to say the least, I thought we just discussed all this.

    On it, the title reads ‘Ghost and Ghouls invading KH an inside story from Miia Asakura. An obscured black and white photo of who I swear to be Erin and I, Tom somewhere in the background as an even fuzzier blob. Holding my instrument in hand pointing at it at the Husk and Miia in its hand, this shot looks like it was taken in the middle of our fight…how? No that is not the question I should be asking.

    Glaring at Miia, she looks taken aback, “let me explain.”

    “I am supposed to be making you forget what you saw. This does not make my decision any to trust you easy…explain now.”

    “It doesn’t work.” She answers back, but cocky like and she knows she said something wrong. “I was going to do this, yet after this talk I won’t.” She takes the sheet back from me, tearing it in half, “see.”

    “Why!” I have yell, before bring my voice back down, not wanting to attract attention and Miia looks truly sorry but I cannot bring myself to let up, “we talked and I thought I could trust you, yet you bring this up…”

    “It was before all of this, I mean before we talked today…”

    “You were going to use this?”

    “No…well yes, but no…”

    “Miia!” I frown and my brows knit as I stand, “I want to trust you, I want to know we are friends like you said.”

    “We are.” She adds and I sit myself back down. “If you have copies of that, burn them, I want to see that, I want to know I can trust you. I have had bad luck with friends before, my eyes turn everyone I want to be friends with away, yet not you, and you came to me. I want to see this, and I want to believe that you are my friend.

    She nods, and she looks on the verge of crying which I never meant for. She gets my point though, I sense she is truly sorry, for what happened now, and what she has done in the past.

    “Sorry,” I grumble, finishing my own meal and watching her, do the same, only she remains quiet which is very unlike her, like she said, she is obnoxious, I am the one who should be like that however frustrated I may be, maybe I went too far. Trying to relax now, venting my own rage on Miia, I am sorry I let myself go, but at the same time I want it to sink into her, I do not want to be toyed with.

    “Papa.”

    I hear a child’s voice ring in my ears from somewhere far away and I drop my fork, shocked as I look around the busing cafeteria again, trying to place the voice.

    Miia sniffs, looking at me with a confused look at my expression, “looks as if you’ve seen a ghost, what’s up?” Her voice still upset, she does perk up, something inside her mind is intrigued by my reaction to what she obviously did not hear.

    Not answering, my aggravation with her still present, I stand and walk out of the cafeteria into the crowded halls—leaving my tray on the table—where students are waiting to leave for their afternoon classes. Everyone else going about their business. They do not seem to have heard the voice as I did and I follow it, the voice speaking again, echoing the word.

    Asking a female teacher permission to use the bathroom she lets me go and I travel down the bleached halls, past the library that is in the centered of the school, a large window standing floor to ceiling ends at a pillar with articles and posting of random stuff. All sounds fading as I come upon where for a third time I hear that boy’s voice echo ‘Papa’ and I stand in front of the boy’s bathroom the light just above in the hall completely out, eerie almost.

    “Hel…hello,” I squeak out, nervous from where the voice I am hear is emitting from. when I feel a tap on my shoulder and I let out a scream, startled by Miia who unbeknownst to me has followed.

    She grips my hands and holds me still, looking up into my eyes, “Calm down, it’s just me…what’s going on? Why did you just take off like that?” She now looks beyond me at the boy’s bathroom then back at me with a puzzling look. “What’s up?”

    “Someone is in there and I need to see who, I need to help him.” I tell her and her puzzling look goes to a smile.

    “I can help with that,” she tells me as she pulls her hood over her head to hide her long hair. “Look, can hardly tell I’m a girl, can’t even see my breasts,” she says with a smile. “Although my beautiful thighs and perfect ass might be a dead giveaway.” A few female students pass by, giggling at Miia’s remark but she ignores them. “I’ll help you out.” Our previous conversation happened right, should she be madder? A grudge even? She swings from moods to easily that it is disturbing but I guess that is who Miia is, like she said. She does not stay mad or even sad long. She pushes it behind her to see the light in everything.

    She is a charming piece of work, but I am hesitant and she sees it, “Listen Naomi, I’ve been in worst jams before, a boy’s bathroom is nothing different than ours, besides urinals. Be happy it’s not their locker room.”

    “Sounds like you have had some experience.” I tell her, hearing the voice again and looking into the boy’s bathroom entrance.

    “Was a prank by the president of the Voice before me, I was stuck in a garbage can in the boy’s locker room until a janitor opened it after school had ended and I scurried home. There are still some stenches I can’t forget.” She says while holding her noise between her fingers. Before looking at me with a smile, and enters without a second thought like I would. Silence for a while when she calls out to me, “not a soul in here.”

    But she is wrong, the small boy’s voice comes again. “Papa, where are you?”

    Forgetting my dignity, I rush in, yes, Miia is right no one is there, yet all three stalls are close which lines the back wall while the urinals opposite that, four of them and behind the door a divided where two sinks, a blow dryer and paper tower dispenser. A large mirror with a rack beneath for people to plant their belongings if need be.

    Gulping, I pop open the first stall with Miia watching, a grin on her face, “You are a very interesting girl you know that,” she tells me as I move onto the second one, a third one remains but I have already found what I was looking for—what I thought I would be looking for. Sitting on the toilet seat a small child kicking his legs, his head shaven but there is hair growing, blond. He dressed in a striped long sleeved shirt and blue jean overalls. I can feel Miia looking over my shoulder but she sees nothing like I am.

    “Is something the matter?” I ask the child, reaching my arms out to pick him up.

    “Mommy?”

    “Naomi…” Miia’s voice hangs in the air as I pick the child up, both confused and surprised while I turn to face Miia. “Is that a ghost?”
    2,402 Words

    Nice beat to listen to while you read.
     
  10. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    Well, as I said I hate doing two POV in a row, so I'm separating them with this piece. This does two things for me, it introduces a dynamic between the first sub antagonist and Mike, as well as introducing Adam instead of having him randomly walk down the highway with Eve who will still make her appearance at that point. It's a shorter piece but one that is needed I feel, and I'll probably expand on it in later drafts.

    Between Part 1 and 2; Mike

    I’ve been persevering with him before, and I can understand his position. Behind those clouded emerald eyes is a man who has lost everything. First his wife, then his son, and now he fears that he’s being hunted. From head to toe, this man has the appearance of a bum, he’s unkempt, his hair, uncombed and his teeth yellow from cigarettes. He was once a decent member of society. But any man whose gone through what he has would lose faith as well. I know the feeling all too well myself.

    “We’ve been looking into it but for an actual hunting…you may be looking for an exorcist, we don’t dabble in that, we’re a Funeral Home.” Pleading with him, the drunk man bangs a whisky flask on my desk.

    I know you can do more than that, you came when my wife died all those years ago, and again you guys came when my son…”

    “You hired us both time to help prepare them for their funerals.” His voice gruff as he speaks again.

    “Yet you stayed, you went through my house.”

    Frowning I’m growing tiresome of him yelling. “You’re drunk Paul, how would you wife like seeing you like this, even your son. I know our past isn’t the kind that would spark a friendship but I feel we both know each other to the point of understanding. If you want an exorcist I have a number I can call, would you like that?” It’s a farce but if it gets him to shut up I’ll gladly get him involved.

    Hiccupping, he quiets down, removing his flask from my desk, a new scratch mark in the wood but I let that be. “The man’s name is Adam Bane, he’s a fine man, but annoying, much like you are…” I joke but it clearly falls flat and I continue with a cough, “it will be a few days, but I’m sure I can discuss with him the matters you described.”

    “It better damn well be, what do you think I’ll be paying you for.” His words are slurred and his eyes lids look heavy on that long face of his, barely skin and bone from the once upstanding and strong looking individual he was years back. I’ll have to get Danny to take him home seeing as he took a taxi to get here.

    “If we’re done here than, I’d like to make a call, would you excuse yourself please.” I ask kindly as he stares, wondering if I am actually going to make the call. At one point we were friends, and close, but I saw his descent into that bottomless void, he fell hard too and I knew he’d never return to his former self. He’s falling back on his old ways, thinking I’m joking at this, thinking that I won’t make the call to Adam—I’m not looking forward to it, but I will make the call. “You have my word Paul; I’ll help you.”

    A slight nod as his eyes look at the scratch he made, he’s pondering it and I do see his old self, and he’s acknowledging his mistake. “Promise me,” his somber voice reverberating through my office as he backs away from the table, “I’ll pay for that.” He ends, opening the door and leaving for the foyer.

    With Paul gone I pick up my cell, dialing Danny I ask if he’ll take him home, and although not too appreciative to take a drunk home, he agrees. “Thanks, I owe you.”

    “Sure, but I’ll just leave you at the bar, lightweight.”

    Hanging up, not caring for his sarcasm, I sit and swivel my chair so I’m facing the computer screen at my desk. Opening a call with Adam, it’s not long before he answers and the diel tone fades.

    His feet are resting on his desk while his arms are behind his head and he’s leaning back comfortably, a smug smile upon his face as he gazes back at me behind a sharp pare of sunglasses even though he’s inside. His trench coat hanging off his body as his six pack is revealed, his black jeans torn in several palaces, it reminds me why I find him so annoying, yet in my youth I looked up to the bastard. His blond yet graying hair slick back. But now taking me into account he pulls his booted feet of the desk, removes his glasses a peers at me with his almond colored eyes.

    “What can I do for you jack.”

    “Father Adam, this is important, else I’d never would call you.”

    “Drop the honorific,” his tone now serious—his mood swings never ceasing to amaze me. “Now tell me what is important, you know I am busy.”

    “Yes, well it’s Paul, I’m sure I told you about him before.”

    “Various times.”

    “He now believe he is being hunted.”

    “How dark is his eye?” He asks back.

    “I see no strands of light, they’re too far apart now, there is no more turning back and he’ll become a husk for sure, whether a living or dead is another matter.

    He sits back now, pondering what I’ve told him, hand under his chin when he looks up. “Now why ask me, are you looking for help, you know I’m busy.”

    “I told him that you would help, that you’re an exorcist.”

    He lets out a chuckle before full blown laughter erupts from his mouth. “We’re not bloody exorcists, you know as well as I do that he’s hallucinating because of his loss of sanity.”

    “Yes, well I rather have you deal with it because if Mary does, she’ll have the students try it out and you know why I can’t have that.”

    “Yah, that email was quite informative, and yah Paul has been a pain in your ass, I hope you understand the favor I’m already doing for you by making the disappearances here a priority.”

    I smile, “I’m fortunate for that.”

    “You haven’t told your daughters yet have you.”

    I shake my head, “not yet,” I tell him, then change the subject, “but Marisa daughter has joined us…”

    A heavy sigh leaves Adam’s mouth, “I take care of it, please send me the information. Tell Mary she is in hot water already, she never stopped to consider her actions for what’s that boy’s name?”

    “Satoru?” I question, being the only recent case we took on with Naomi.

    “Him, before you guys did quite well but I fear Mary is losing her touch and is acting more brash, you ever thought about taking over there?”

    I grow quiet, I never thought we were a part of the Guild to begin with, but Danny is a part of it…is he here to just watch us, grade us, that wasn’t part of the deal Mary made with the guild.

    “Mike?” Adam yells at me though the screen. “What is Mary up to this time?”

    Stuttering I look away from the screen and tell him, “She has appointed the reins that she now holds to Fate, my daughter.”

    “Oh…well once the old hag kicks the bucket call me, I’d like to dance on her grave.”

    Ah, so that’s it, his scars are itching to get back at Mary for when he was younger. “She’s still tough as nails, if you want to fight her go for it, she’ll still wipe the floor with you.” I retort while getting a slight satisfaction from his angered expression.

    “I’ll tell you when I have it settled.” He finishes, the screen going blank but his expression priceless, I can tell I pissed him off a little and I’m happy for that, he’s someone I can barely tolerate and is always full of himself, his ego huge. But I got the last laugh.

    Stepping around my desk and walking towards the door. I turn the knob and look around, Paul, slumped over on the bench next to my office. His soft breathing telling me he’s only sleeping, but my eyes scan him, stopping at the back of his right hand, where his eye is at. Only a strand here and there, when they should be close, and millions of them, or at least too many to count instead of the three pink lines I see. The only color there, everything else, a void.

    “It won’t end well for you…but at least you’ll be at piece I tell him resting a hand on his shoulder, he remains sleeping and reeking of alcohol as I turn back to my office, I need to mental prepare myself for telling Mary what’s going to happen, she’s not going to be pleased.

    Though what happens now, I couldn’t see coming as I sense a spirit, one of which I’d normal would associate with Scarlet, yet this time it feels much younger, I spin to face the front doors with everyone returning home from school. There, in Naomi’s arms is a child spirit, one that I recognize and hold my breath for a moment before calling all of them to my office.
    1,512 Words
     
  11. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    Please go to post 14.

    So, I probably didn't need to add the bit in the beginning but I felt it an odd transition from grabbing the kid to bringing him home without and discussion between. It will probably be edited out later but this one was a long edited and patch job, 5 hours at least.

    Part 4: Tom
    Schools out and Hope and I are the first to reach the van in the lower parking lot right across from the football field where some of the team has gathered to practice for homecoming which isn’t more than a few weeks off now.

    Waiting for the others, we make small talk and she mentions about her sister’s ever shrinking hair, how she knows it’s been cut back, and how she’s been allowed less and less time to comb it. She loves the bonding with her Fate, but her worried attitude has caused me to worry. I for one haven’t noticed it in the slightest. She cut it to her neck the first time around, which was a bit surprising but now that I think about it it’s gradually been getting shorter and shorter.

    Laughing, it’s rare for her to get into a tizzy about such a minor issue as hair. Although I’ve never seen Hope with short hair before, since they’re twins they look so damn alike that maybe Fate wants a bit of an identity to herself rather than being in the same shadows as her sister. “You two are different, let it be.” I answer her as Erin and Fate show up. Both of them a nervous expression on display as I rise a brow.

    “Tom, any suggestion on what to do with Naomi?” Fate asks first, ever rarer to come to me for advice, but Naomi is a good girl, I can’t imagen them needing any advice for her, or about her.

    “What’s this about?” I question and Erin fills us in.

    “Earlier today Naomi stumbled upon a ghost child in the boy’s bathroom just off of the library, she’s now carrying him with her.”

    “And you two smart ones couldn’t come up with an answer to tell her to leave it be?” My voice is harsh, but something like this is what Fate should be dealing with, she’s the underling to take the Mistresses place. “Fate don’t you have any bright ideas?”

    “You know never to move a spirit from their location of origin…”

    “I know that, Hope.”

    “We’ll leave it be, she’s already moved him right, she doesn’t know how things work around here, and to that point, we could gain some experience by messing up this time around. I did terribly in the fight against Satoru’s husk that maybe having our ass handed to us again wouldn’t be such a bad idea.”

    My brother gives me an astonished look, “Tom, the brash is going to try to learn from being brash? I thought you left everything up to chance…does this have anything to do with the Mistresses decision, she’s not going to change it you know.”

    “Speak of the devil,” I smile, and wanting to change subjects onto Naomi who is carrying the small child like a mother and son. “Sleeping Beauty, got another sleeper there?”

    Everyone turns around to face Naomi as she her arm under the boy’s butt. “I didn’t know what to do, and you two,” she looks at Erin and Fate, just left me, actually ran off before I could question this…”

    “It doesn’t matter now; we all need to learn.” Hope answers in my stead while reading my mind, “We’ll bring the boy with us and see what the Mistress and Mike has for us, maybe we can help the child.”

    “My thoughts exactly, but why would he come so willingly with me? I thought ghost are stationary to objects and places, like I’ve seen on TV.”

    “A question we should have answered at home…maybe the boy thinks of you as his mother.” Erin answers, feigning looking in the direct that the boy is at, but he knows he can’t see him. He looks no older than eight. A round face and soft skin, large green eyes with a pretty thick head of blond hair. Sighing, then walking around to the driver side I step in and the others pile, Hope being across from me, Erin and Fate behind us, and Naomi taking the back seat to herself. Switching on some tunes and leave the school grounds.

    Naomi seems pleased with the smile on her face that I see though the review mirror. She so much like a mother at this point, then again maybe girls are just natural with their maternal instincts…I wonder what Hope, or even Fate would be like had they been given the chance to carry and ghost child home like her. Thought she did just grab the kid, and we don’t know if that’s a bad thing or not yet.

    Paying attention to the road, I did take a few glances back at Fate though the mirror as well, yet her expression is one of smug and condescending, I figured she’d love to see Naomi get chewed out by the Mistress and she’s seem to have gotten even more cynical since Naomi has been given more attention than she has. Why am I able to see this love-hate relationship between them, however one sided it may be…Or is this all to get at me, to piss me off?

    “I hope she’s lenient on us,” Hope answers my thoughts aloud so the whole car can hear, “she’s not nice when she’s mad, and I’m not quoting a movie if you’re wondering.”

    A smile coming to my face, I don’t have the heart to correct her but those words easy my mind and in no time—about a half an hour, which caused the boy to fall asleep—we’ve arrived safely back at home thanks to my great driving skills.

    Being the first of us with a license I want to boast about it, and I do most nights on around safe travels but tonight everyone heads inside in a stupor, besides Naomi, she seems eager but the rest of us know of the Mistresses harsh punishments.

    Entering the foyer, we all witness a strange and drunk looking homeless person staring down at the floor on the bench that’s next to Mike’s office. Being a funeral home, this isn’t out of the ordinary, and Mike was probably just talking with him. But the stench coming from his, I’m surprised he was even allowed inside.

    The man looks up to us behind clouded emerald eyes. He sees us, but he’s staring at Naomi in particular. He looks miserable as his eyes drift back to the ground at his feet. Mike’s office door opens and he looks as if he wants to speak to the man, but glances at us and calls us to his office. Clearly wanting to talk to us about the boy…

    “Line up,” he feels he needs to say it this time around, and we all do, standing in front of his desk in a like, with the tip of our toes touching the yellow tape line on the carpet below. The order—at least when the Mistress is around, is like when we’re in the yard, but Mike doesn’t mind it being lax, so we line up, and Naomi seems confused at first but stands to my left, her toes matching the rest of ours.

    My eyes are on Mike, where as his are on Naomi and the child. He mouths slightly ajar, as if he’s wondering how to address us. When he does speak, it’s quietly, “Why did you bring this ghost here…”

    “He looked lost,” Naomi answers in ignorance. “Can’t we help him?”

    He pinches his brow as he lets out a sigh,” I understand, you’re new, but some stuff you will pick up, and others is common sense. I’ll let you answer that question yourself though since we were just talking about this two nights ago. How can we help him?”

    His response is forward and one I already understand quite well, that we all understand. It’s a few moments before she does answer.

    “I don’t know…” her answer is quiet, but there’s a ping of sadness to it.

    “It’s good you want to help, but understanding how to help is key here, Naomi. But before that, did you do as I asked?”

    She shakes her head, something telling me this has to do with her friend Miia. “Mike, we’ve never dealt with bringing a ghost so far from where it’s been found, we’d thought we could use this as a training exercise…”

    “What the hell,” his voice rises, causing the child in Naomi’s arms to stir. This is something you would call me…” He realizes he’s may wake the child and quiets himself, “not blindly bring it home and leave it up to chance.” He turns back to Naomi, “You can’t just bring a ghost home like that, there are steps which need to be done, and we need to find out answers first before doing such stuff.”

    “You’d be way more pissed if Hope or I did this,” Fate comments sarcastically and she gets a very pissed off look for her father, the whole stink eye and all.

    “Because you know better Fate, all of you should not have done this, you should bounce ideas off each other, come to the same conclusions, not willfully put us in harm’s way.”

    “Very true, Mike.” Behind us the door opens, and her cane is the first we hear, thudding on the carpet, and muffled. The Mistress walks by Naomi as we steal glances over being taught to look in front of us instead of around us when we’re in this office to show we know respect. She pats the child on the head, “so this is Ronald, it’s a surprise he would show up…seems he lost his way.”

    “Mary, don’t go thinking this is about that case…that we should allow them to take care of it.”

    “That is exactly what I am thinking Mike, they have been preoccupied as of late and have had no time to put their skills to the test.”

    “That Husk not a few days ago was more than a test for them, they failed…”

    “They will be going into this a bit more prepared.” She has almost a whimsical way of how she’s currently speaking to us, like she finds pleasure out of having us fail.

    Biting my tongue, it’s Hope who speaks out of turn first, “I’m with my Dad on this, that last husk…” she gives a small whimper as she’s struck by the Mistress’s cane, “we couldn’t do anything.”

    “If we hadn’t been doing the Dive, then we would,” Fate chimes in and I have to argue that.

    “I was getting my ass handed to me, it was only thanks to Naomi that we got out of there.”

    “Quiet,” Mike stops the two of us, and the Mistress who looks pleased.

    “Give me the case,” Fate says simply, “I can get it done!”

    “I am sorry if I am a bit lost,” Naomi speaks up, “but does…Ronald have anything to do with that man outside…his Third Eye is very dark and the conversation sounds like the two are linked.”

    “Oh,” the Mistress’s leers, “As I thought, you did see it. But what about Miia, did you fix that?” She motions for us to scoot back from the line so that she may stand directly in front of us.

    “Why Naomi? Since she got here it’s all been about Naomi.” Fate ask, as if she’s forgotten what we’ve been told over the past few days, how she’s able to see the Third Eye unlike the rest of us, “I’m supposed to be taking over for you whenever you pass on, let’s get on with this case, give it to me.”

    The Mistress is quick in her response as her eyes glue to Fate. “You are speaking of one thing while we are discussing another.” She steps forward, planting her hand just above Fate’s chest threating her, “wait till I am done speaking. I am trying to teach Naomi, she needs to understand that what she does will affect all of you as a whole, bringing Ronald here is a mistake. Your interruptions are diluting this lesson to her.” Just the power behind her voice makes me cringe, she’s always yells at us this way, a calm anger. “You will not be taking charge of this case.” She finishes her gaze on Fate then faces Naomi.

    “And what about me,” I ask the Mistress myself, interrupting her further. “Why have Fate take all the glory, why not at least give me a chance to prove myself, that I can take over your job.” My pride getting the better of me and wanting to overshadow Fate.

    Mike shakes his head silently as the Mistress parts from Fate and glares up to me, I may be short but the Mistress remains the shortest, only Fate and Hope are smaller by a few inches.

    “You are lucky we have company and I do not want to make a bad impression on him by blasting you through this wall for your insolence.” Her hand remaining out as she carries it over to rest in my broad chest. “You know exactly why I did not chose you, you are worst then Fate when it comes to decision making, Fate at least knows how to strategies, you, you just do whatever idiotic thing comes to mind and hope that it works out. All of you are poor choices to take over because you know nothing of anything. I am trying to teach you the small amount of knowledge I can with the time I have left.” She strikes her cane down again, usually signaling the end of any of her speech, but this time she does it harder, and I think I hear her cane cracking.

    Walking back to Naomi, I know she’s pissed, her thin lips stretched thinner, and her brows furrowed, this appearance is one you’re not likely for forget, I know I haven’t. “Since they have babbled long enough I want you to tell us your story, why did you not give Miia the serum?” She yells this while Mike sighs and the rest of us remain quiet as we let her have her way with Naomi—not that we have any choice.

    Naomi doesn’t hesitate to speak now, but she’s frantic and only bits of her explanation comes out when the Mistress places a hand on Naomi’s chest, “speak clearly or I will send you through this wall, I am tired off all these insolences.”

    Her first time seeing the Mistresses full furry and I can’t understand where it came from this time around, it couldn’t have just been the bickering between Fate and I, we always do that…I feel there is something more to her hornet attitude.

    “Mary, please calm down.”

    Ronald as he’s called is now fully awake, I can’t see him, I can’t even see people’s Third Eye like she showed us a few nights ago. I can sense him clearly, and I can feel his fright. “This is wrong, Mistress.”

    Silently fuming, the Mistress lowers her hand and Naomi who had sucked in a breath and prepared herself for the attack has breathed a sigh of relief.

    “She wants to trust her new friend and she thought since we help with the dead and regrets she would bring the spirit home.” Mike says as if reading Naomi’s thoughts, “she is like her father in that way, blind faith.”

    “She is foolish,” the Mistress adds heading back to Mike’s desk before turning back to us with a tired expression. “Fate, you want to take charge, and same with you, Tom? Fine, this job requires both aspects of our duties.” She now points to Naomi who looks like she could cry at any moment, the poor girl. “Listen well, half our job is fighting Husks and doing it correctly so the taint does not vanish into thin air like your stunt a week ago.” Her face morphs from ridged to that of sheepishness, “that was my fault for not telling you sooner and rather having you experiences one yourself, that should have been the first thing I told you, and the first thing you did was to get well acquainted with your Harmony and instrument.”

    “It’s only been a week, at lot has happen to her, she’ll grow accustom to it.” Mike says backing up the Mistress but feeling for Naomi at the same time.

    “We fight husks, and we help souls find their way. That is the other half. When we find a soul we help them recover from the shock of death, much like what happened to your grandmother on the opposite spectrum, she lived a good life and died as such, a person confused in what is happening to them is different than a person losing their sanity and growing into a husk. A spirit, which lingers is one that cannot come to the realization that they are dead, or they have no memories. That is when we come in, to help them regain those memories and to help them help themselves, travel on to the afterlife.” Going quiet, I know she’s pondering an afterthought, and she speaks once more. “Do not bring up Scarlet, her matter is different.”

    “I want to hear what you guys have come up with on Ronald,” Mike asks us now that the Mistress is somewhat calmer, “what have you learned about him?”

    “Well, he was found in the boy’s bathroom,” Hope begins and Fate adds her bit next.

    “We can assume that he is probably homeless or something.” Sure, we talked in the car some but never did I come to that conclusion.

    “But he has clothing, and they are nice, and he was not crying, he was looking for his papa, and he called me his mommy,” Naomi adds her tidbit, a bit of information she forgot to mention to us, and an idea comes to me.

    “They’re father and son,” I tell them all, and the Mistress smiles.

    “You have some brains in that head of yours.”

    Of course I am referring to the man outside this room and understanding what Naomi said earlier about them being connected, I guess I didn’t catch that considering everything else. “What aren’t you telling us? You two both know his name.” I now ask the Mistress and she goes back to the desk, turning and striking her cane down.

    “This case actually began three years back, it was only a matter of time before he returned,” she watches the door, “His name is Paul Westly, he had a son—Ronald, and three years ago that son died.”

    Only Naomi looks taken back by this, but all of us have had our fair share of death, so we’re not as shocked by it as she may be.

    “I have been keeping a close eye on Paul for some time now, his eye continually getting clouded by taint, and now, I predict only a matter of days before he becomes a Husk, and yes, living humans can become Husk, they usually result from a suicide. Two week at most so that is why we must hurry.” She lets out a small and steady breath as she looks upon Fate now, “I will leave the Husk up to you,” now she turns to me, “and taking care of his son, the spirit Naomi found, is up to you,” and she smiles, “do well and we may have something to discuss later, fail and your living environments here will become much worst. Ask Mike sometime what happened with his group failed me during the bowling case.”

    “Both of us,” Fate and I say in unison and we both steal a quick glace from each other, I know I’m not going to lose to her and she is probably thinking the same about me. “Let’s just see,” we say in unison again, both of us already thinking what the other is.

    “Yes, well you only get one partner to make it fair,” the Mistress comments, “so Tom, who do you pick, Naomi or Hope?”

    I smile at Fate, “I’ll take Hope.” I’m not trying to be mean to Naomi, it just that Hope has more experiences and will be able to help me more than Naomi who has just arrived here,

    “I’ll take ‘Sleeping Beauty’ then,” Fate say’s mocking me but I don’t care, I will win this challenge and take the old Hag’s job, I am better suited for it anyway.

    Naomi now looks scared of Fate, as Fate looks up to her and jabs a thumb at me, “we’ll win this no problem.”

    “Cocky much,” I ask.

    Like he’s on the sidelines Mike just sits back and watches, “this will end splendidly,” he adds coldly when the Mistress asks Hope to go get the door for her. “We have a small problem here.” He continues, “I’ve already called in some help, Mary. I rather not have the kids involved in Paul’s part.”

    Hope pauses at the door and the Mistress turns around, glaring at Mike and an aura befalls the room the likes of which I’ve never felt. “Who!” She yells calmly and Mike just smiles while the Mistress pushes by Hope and through the door that opened on its own. “No training…we resume Wednesday.”

    As suddenly as the door opened it closes and we all look back to Mike who sighs a breath of relief, “she’s pissed.”
    3,570 Words
     
    #11 Moe, Aug 8, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  12. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    Please go to post 14.

    Part 5: Mike

    However sarcastic I was being, I’m dead serious about this being too much for them. Quietly waiting for a time as they all leave my office, I follow in their steed, but stopping myself as I notice Paul is still hanging around. Danny you’re taking your sweet ass time aren’t you? “Fate, Hope, everyone please come back into my office, I haven’t finished talking with you.” My daughters perk up first, turning, Hope, and her soft spoken face looks kindly upon my own while Fate is the opposite, her distrust for me, her own father growing more and more, “This is important for all of you to hear.”

    The others don’t seem bothered by being called back to my office, as I was going to explain to them the situation before Mary interrupted. Naomi the last inside as Paul stands from the bench he sat upon and asks his own question to me, “You’re not going to have them bug me like you did before?”

    I don’t answer right away but I nod, “This isn’t a job they’re able to do, there are few things they are able to do and I already told you a man named Adam would be helping you…”

    “Good, brats shouldn’t be involved with me.” He’s implying what I already know and I nod again.

    “Excuse me, Danny should be here soon so please wait for him.”

    He sinks back down in his seat, watching me a moment longer before turning back and gazing blankly at the floor before him.

    The shutting with subtly I face everyone. “Sounds like even he thinks it’s not a good idea for us to take this case.” Hope says encouraging her sister to back down with those words but she continues her pouting.

    “You want us stronger, you want us to take over, why not have us deal with this, why are you so against us taking on a clear case what we can do.”

    “Fate!” I yell quietly at her, taking into consideration that Ronald is still in Naomi’s arms, but she has moved furthest away from me, taking a seat on the couch that faces the driveway. Tom and Erin standing put near my desk and Hope siting peacefully on one of the chairs opposite Naomi. Fate the only one standing directly in front of me. “I have another person lined up for this job, I didn’t mention him to you guys while Mary was here because they have issues with each other.”

    “What!” Fate yells, “You got our hopes up…”

    “You got your own hopes up,” Tom adds, smiling and laughing. “But there is more to why we’re not dealing with this, why not fill us in so we’re not in the dark.”

    “You’re handling this news well,” Erin interrupts while Tom glares at him.

    “I’m pissed as hell too.”

    “Well I’m glad you’re taking it well but the issue is you guys are poorly trained for this…an emergent Husk and a Dead one too. You even said you had troubles with that Living one.” Erin gives me a look of dissatisfaction, he wants to know why as well, but since he’s not particularly involved in these causes as physically as the others, he wondering if he can leave to begin researching—his main role. Jabbing a thumb toward the door, I give him the go ahead to leave.

    “Catch me up later.” He calls back before shutting the door and departing for us.

    My eyes drift from Tom to my own daughter, Tom seems fine but these turn of events, but Fate, she’s still mad and I’m unsure of how to calm her down. And she doesn’t take kindly to Tom’s words either. That or she wants to distance herself for me, ignoring what I have to say, she’s so stubborn, how did she become so much like her Aunt? They rarely saw each other.

    “Needless to say I’m over ruling Mary, if you want any part of this job, deal with Ronald as a single team.”

    Naomi eyes half hooded as she looks down at the boy in her arms, rocking him gently to keep him asleep during all this tension. “Is a spirit easy to deal with,” her answer comes softly and Hope answers for me.

    “They aren’t particular hard by we’ll be working with an arm tied around our back.” Well most of my words, she doesn’t need to include it… “If Dad gives us accurate information on Paul it would give us a good advantage but not being able to Dive is detrimental to our task.”

    “You’re right but the Mistress is trying to divide you guys, purposely this time having each group take on a different part of the case. It’s not going to end well and Fate,” I frown at her, I expect more from you, you can tell this is what Mary is doing to test you guys, test you and more than just life or death case, she is putting all of you at risk by willing to split you up. And with Naomi…”

    “I’d just get in the way.” She adds dryly, letting us all know that she is a hindrance at this time. “Me being in the way won’t help.” She continues, “Is there even a point to dividing us?”

    “Yes…” Fate answers, yet cuts herself short because even she’s not sure of that the point is. Her long pause tells us that much and it’s Hope to answer that point for them as I quiet down to watch them discuss the issue, seeing if they will come to the same consentience I have.

    “Naomi is the most inexperienced of us all, and with the Mistress having us splitting up, we’ll be experiencing new horizons, that is what I think she’s going for. She wants Tom and me to be paired since I’m more gentle and less of a brute as my sister is.” Smiling I agree with her statement, Fate looking at me with knit brows as her sister carries on with her explanation. “Having Fate and Naomi as the second pair, she can see how well she can teach Naomi and if that will fit. My sister needs a challenge and that is why the Mistress wants us split.”

    “Or why you think we should be split?” Fate grows, “If I am to be in any group I’d rather be with you, or god forbid Tom, but Naomi, she’s useless as she is.”

    “Hey!” Naomi stands, “isn’t everyone terrible at something until they are taught? If Mistress Mary wants as trained so we learn from each other, why go against that.”

    “Girls! Tom…” I try to get them to focus again, “This isn’t about you guys being in groups, remember you’re a team, you’re only going to deal with Ronald.”

    “And Paul?” Tom asks as if I directed this all at him, I didn’t I meant for all of the, to come back and focus on being a team.

    “As I mentioned before, he would become a Dead Husk when all is said and done, think of the ranks we have like this; A Living Husk is a pet dog…which is too much at this time for you to handle.”

    “I was the only one fighting it before Naomi helped, we dealt with it…” Tom argues.

    “Regardless, a Dead Husk is a wild wolf, an Empty a pack of rabid wolfs. Shall I go on about how heavily outclass you guys are for this? I’m tired of arguing, you guys have training yet tonight so I won’t keep you further. You work as a team to help Ronald only.”

    All of them remain mute, all of them with questions to ask, yet I think I got through to them and I want to take my leave but Tom stops me, resting a hand on my shoulder, “You have yet to tell us what you know, tell us why you’re having someone else deal with Paul, what makes him such a threat to us that you’re going against the Mistress.”

    “Don’t speak as if we’re on equal footing, you are all still students here.”

    “And I’m an adult…” He pauses knowing he only just got his drive licenses over the summer.

    A sliver of a smile appearing on my mouth I tell him I’m just frustrated, finding this whole exchange unnecessary but productive. “I don’t believe that Paul lost his sanity due to Ronald’s death, nor his own wife’s death. Both of them where unfortunate. No, what makes him a Dead Husk is he murdered. Rely on Erin, he should be able to find information like that out in the public records, I’m not going to have any part in this, and don’t interfere with Paul as I said, Adam will deal with that.” They all give me quizzed expressions and I sigh. “Adam is part of a Guild…they do what we do on a large scale covering the whole world.”

    Everyone rising now from their seats, they know our conversation has ended. Fate pushes though the door first, she’s still mad and I understand that but it’s part of life, you can’t have everything, and you certainly can’t do everything if you aren’t able to, or unprepared and lack the experience to know how to.

    Tom, next to follow, with Hope last, I give her head a pat as she leaves, she’s not bothered by it but she looks up to me, “you got to stop keeping stuff from us, when where we going to hear about the Guild?”

    “It’s not something important to know about, but if you decide to continue fighting Husk it would be something for you to look into.” She seems pleased with this answer as she too leaves, leaving Naomi to stand in front of me, while still rocking Ronald in her arms, she’d make a fine surrogate mother. “Are you wondering about anything?”

    “I think I understand everything I need to know at this moment, but my Instrument is inherited from my mother, did she have a name for it?”

    “If I told you the name it would be cheating, I heard you and Mary had a similar conversation about Scarlet a few days’ back. What is it she told you at that time?”

    “That telling someone information would give them false memories, ones that they didn’t remembered on their own…”

    “Right, so even if your mothers instrument is inherited it would be detrimental to tell you its name. You’ll learn it eventually, so don’t worry.” She ponders what I told her because opening her mouth to speak and I cut her off, “as with Fate, this is about Fate right?” I question to confirm my suspicions to which she nods. “Fate is a leader, your mom was the same, but don’t let that bother you much, she’s stubborn and once you earn her respect you’ll have an easier time getting along.”

    She looks surprised at first, watching Ronald before giving me a blushing smile, “thanks, I hope we can get along.”

    “You and me both, I don’t like seeing her mad. But I don’t want her to cause you extra trouble.”

    “I can handle it, the kids at my old school never treated me with much respect, at least Fate knows I am here and that she cannot get rid of me.” She jokes with me, but I wonder how much of that is her own insecurities.

    Dashing past me, she leaves to, and I’m left alone. Peeking out the door I see Paul is still around and I wonder if we were too loud. “Damn it Danny, you’re suppose take him home, where are you?” I ask aloud, walking over to my phone, ready to give him an earful.
    1,964 Words

    The original draft was only 1,400 words, so I'm glad it's longer but the conversation may be a bit disorienting so there is still work to be done, but a good second draft non the less with the added information and subtracted information which was already given in earlier chapters.
     
    #12 Moe, Aug 29, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  13. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    Please go to post 14.

    I understand people not liking to read a lot, but please give this particular chapter a look over, it's a fight sequence and I'd really like some feedback for it, how did I do, do you need to improve--of course I do-- and is it to fast paced? The usual criticism.

    Part 6: Hope

    Her steps are what I notice first, heavy but soft. I can tell Naomi is getting tired of holding the ghost…they shouldn’t have no weight, but her perception is telling her otherwise. Because she’s holding a child, she believes she carries its weight. At least this is how I see it.

    “He never took his eyes off of me…” I’ve failed to notice she has already started a conversation with the others. I’m too distracted with my sight, I’m not used to seeing souls like that, yet it’s all I can consider. The Mistresses demonstration a few nights ago, about seeing the Third Eye allowed me to heighten my sense a bit, trying to understand the way she displayed everyone’s eye allowed me to understand how to concentrate and for the time being I can see Ronald in Naomi’s arms as a human figure of pure pink flames.

    “Would he even know you’re holding his son?” Tom asks and Fate takes over.

    “Doubtful, it’s more like intuition, or instinct, he thinks something is there rather then it really being there, but in this case, she does have his son.”

    “Hate to say it but you may have a point.” Tom answers with a bit of spite.

    Naomi chuckles nervously to their banter, only to add, “it felt creepy.”

    Everyone is quiet again, we’re close to the courtyard as another flame catches my vision, this one of Scarlet who with a joyous squeal rushes over to us and places all her attention on Ronald. “What a darling child, who’s is he?”

    “A ghost,” my sister answers dryly, continuing to the courtyard.

    Ronald stirs, finally awakening and speaks but softly, “Where’s papa?”

    “The pissed off…” I glare at Tom firmly, not wanting us to have any unnecessary troubles thanks to him and he teeters off, with a sigh, “no idea kid.”

    “Well why don’t you let aunty Scarlet show you around, maybe we can find him.” My gaze switches to her, and she doesn’t hesitate to have Ronald passed to her, he wanted to and plus Naomi didn’t see any harm. If they get to Paul it’s not going to end well, but can he even see ghost like we can?

    Echoing in the hollow halls are the steady taps from Mistress Mary’s cane and all of us hush as she rounds the corner. She remains a gray figure for me, much like everyone still does. “Enough…” She says sternly. “You are all late, did Mike hold you up?”

    We’re usually waiting for her, not the other way around, we’re getting here right on time but by her standers, we’re unforgivably late.

    Tom answers for us, “Yah.” He parts from us, heading into the courtyard that’s just a few feet from we’re standing.

    Her cane coming closer, she pauses in the doorway after letting Tom though, “Scarlet, you may hold the child while we practice, but you stay within the courtyard. Understood?”

    “Yes,” she answers as she to enters, leaving Naomi and I left.

    “I have a particular lesson for the two of you. Come along now.” Her cane’s tapping is muted ever so slightly as it taps upon the lush grass. “Hope, go to your position. Fate, warmup.” Her steps gradually fade as she stops, taking her own position in the lineup.

    Doing as I am told. I wait silently. Harmonizing and blocking out the distraction of my new abilities. My eyes shut as I listen to the subtle movements around me. Taking into consideration my next actions towards my sister’s indefinite onslaught. Birds chirping, the wind blowing, and the leaves and branches of trees dancing upon that wind.

    I don’t dare to open them as the grass crunches to my left only a few feet away and I pull out my throwing knifes from the garter around my thigh. In a quick movement they are released from my hand, but they miss their target, vanishing much like they appear.

    Her steps are rushed, I feel she’s still mad with the Mistress, she’s lapsing. Acting as a compass myself I pivot on my left foot, continuing to hail my throwing knifes at my Sister. Metal on metal connects and for a moment I lose the sounds of her steps, when I direct my listening to the wind.

    She’s obstructing the wind flow on my left again…she made a full circle before trying to attack again, jumping and now she’s coming from above?

    Wiping my arms from my thighs to the sky, dozens of them are pulled from my garter belts and slicing through the air above me as I retreat backwards to avoid the assault that will be coming had I stayed.

    They are easily dodged as my sister comes straight for me, her instruments drawn.

    “You two may stop,” the Mistress calls out, “Fate, please come back to the lineup and rest. Do not take it personally.”

    She stops just in front of me, landing with grace on both her feet before kneeling to lessen the stress on her joints. She clicks her tongue I sense her frustration. Since Friday night when we all saw each other’s Eye’s, and I, I saw more than I thought I ever could, every person there was engulfed in flames, I saw everyone’s form like when I summon Yuki. Awe as I was, I stayed quiet, seeing that, it felt special and I wanted to keep that to myself. Maybe it’s my own way of going against the Mistress who even I detest to a point, but nothing as intoxicating as my sister’s rage towards her.

    Standing she walks away, and I smile to myself, waiting for the next orders from Mistress. An oozing excitement filling my chest with butterflies that want to soar as Yuki does. I wait to learn more about my inheritances from my mother, from Isabella.

    I drop by guard as I open my eyes, Naomi is ready as she stops in front of me, where my sister once stood moments before. There is no effort at all as her Harmony emanates from her. My mouth falls open as I see it again, in a brief flash I saw her pink form from the usual gray I am accustomed to.

    My understanding of this is uncharacteristic of myself as I close my eyes again, I don’t want to focus on learning about Yuki. The Mistress speaks, changing her stance and favoring which ever foot is closer to the person she is speaking with. When she’s angry her step is firm. I can tell she’s watching Fate, closely. “You are akin to Tom.” Her foothold switches as she takes a step towards Tom who I know is glaring at her.

    This step being weaker. Never have I told her that I’ve noticed that she has a weak stance. I’ve asked Dad once and he told me not to bring it up to Mistress Mary, she is a proud woman and likes to hide the injury she got from an incident while helping him out when he was younger. I’ve keep it hidden too. Tom, Fate, and Erin, none of them know, and so to Naomi.

    Tom doesn’t say a word, I know he’s crossing his arms, his eyes intently upon the Mistress as my Sister speaks her immediate thoughts. “Let’s get on with it.”

    “Not yet.” She rebukes, “Much like Tom you dive head long into things, you do not think things though. That is all. Now we will begin.” She’s changed her mannerisms, not staying quiet she actually replied to Fate’s demand. Subtle yet still on point. “And Tom, go grab your damn brother, he should listen to this.” She is pissed tonight. Is Fate really getting under her skin or is this something else…

    Tom has always been heavy footed and it’s not long that he comes back. A thud and a cry of pain comes from Erin who obviously was forced here, carried on his brother’s shoulder like some sleeping bag. I remember hearing the Mistress tell him he was free to come but this wasn’t mandatory. Guess Erin didn’t understand that everything is mandatory even if told otherwise.

    Her movements altering, she begins pacing the line. Tom at the end, while Erin stands next to him and Fate next to Erin. I’d be between Erin and Fate, with Naomi placed besides my sister. In the back, near the door though remains Scarlet carrying Ronald who’s grown quiet again, I wonder is he sleeping, he just woke up though, it hasn’t been too long.

    With everyone here now, she starts for a second time. “To begin, what do you know about inherited instruments?”

    “So then there is more to them than just a name?” Erin asks, his curiosity peeked.

    The Mistress sighs, “they are inherited for two reasons. One, they are the same weapon from a past generation. This is how you currently understand inheritances. But two,” She now stops in front of Erin, “a recollection. Hope and Naomi may not understand this but I will be elaborating.” She says with a bit more excitement, showing what little emotion she does. “Hope, your movement, your actions, and everything about when you use Yuki…feels familiar. It feels like you understand your instrument and you know its strengths and weaknesses, its possibilities. You have never felt lost when using her.”

    Questioning me, I understand what she’s saying. I do understand Yuki, and I know what she’s capable of. “Yes, Mistress,” I reply back loudly.

    “Yes, and you Naomi,” her footing swapping as she is now facing us. Naomi who’s jittery, not from being scared like she seemed to have been when we first had our little fight a week ago but the excitement that is enveloping the two of us, both of us want to go head to head. “Did you feel your mother when you used your instrument against the Husk?” She pauses and adds, “your grandmother?”

    “I did…” she says quietly. Her eyes are on me and I’ve felt them on me since she’s stepped forward. Her eyes are piercing my soul much like our past fight.

    “Instruments that are inherited have memorized the movements of their past users. Hope; from Isabella, and Naomi; from Marisa and Kala.” The Mistress takes a breath though her nostrils, and opens her mouth saying what I’ve been, and what Naomi has very likely been waiting for. “So that being said, I would like to ravel in a scrimmage I have not seen in years…so that I may judge.”

    “Like old times, Marisa verse Isabella, now their daughters, Hope verse Naomi.” I hear his voice enter from behind us, Danny has decided to witness our match as well, I hear him pause and I figure he caught a glimpse of Ronald with Scarlet, because he utters a few words before walking to a spot at the end of the line up next to Erin.

    “Right,” The Mistress ends, taking her own position next to my sister, pivoting and puncturing the ground with the tip of her cane to ready us, “begin!”

    Fluttering my eyes open for a moment, Naomi’s hands glow the soft pink flames as I see two rifles appear, one for each hand. My eyes closed again, I want to concentrate, allow my hearing to guide me, something I trust with all my heart. She takes steps to her right, in a semicircle around me, stopping and placing one of her glowing rifles at my forehead. “Beginning slow I see.” I smile.

    In a swift movement I bring both hands down to my garter belts unlike her, I have to physically do the motion, it’s hard concentrating and pulling my instrument out of thin air like her. Pulling out four in each hand I side step to my left. Both of us in a standoff now which I have already taken the lead for she allowed me to move out of her way.

    Being the rookie that she is, she fires the first shot, I had already sidestepped it. I’m too quick for her, she relaxed her advancement. Feeling a pleasant aura around her. She’s really is happy though, and I already knew that, we both are but this is strange, like she’s been seeking a fight for a long time, something to test herself. It’s a feeling that feels out of place for Naomi, I know I hardly know her but this is odd. Is this our aunt and grandmother resonating within her instrument?

    Yet what I only now notice is my ears, are ringing with the sound of her first rifle shot. Opening my eyes out of instinct, I can’t hear anything, yet why do I think I can see anything…I desperately search for those flames I saw prior. I can’t see anything, and I can’t rely on my hearing now. Crap shooting, I throw my right hand and release Yuki on her. I hear metal on metal again and I try concentrating. Taking a step backwards I see her guns coming forward, the one which she has yet to shoot is pointing at my forehead. At which point I don’t make the same mistake. Releasing my other set, she jumps backwards and I know a few made contact.

    Using her unbalance to correct herself, her hand comes down to catch herself and she rolls, using her other arm to push herself off the ground. At the same time, she spawns her instruments again—seems she only has a single shot with each, that’s good to know. Kneeling, her right arm outstretched with one of her rifles.

    The shot sounds but I easily dodge, allowing myself to spin on my heel. But the ringing makes me hesitant, relying on my sight once again, I get enough of a flame from Naomi that I toss Yuki her way.

    I now realize my disadvantage against her having felt Yuki vanish into the void and being unable to hit anything. Jumping backward to gain some distances between us, I wait. Concentrating on the noises around me as the ringing fades, my ears are super sensitive, which is both my advantage and disadvantage. Like a dog’s sense of smell. When ears ring I have trouble locating where Naomi is, or if she’s even moved. Does she realize my handicap?

    The cocking of a rifle tells me my answer, she’s right next to me, and her rifle pointed at me head.

    “Dodge it!” I hear my sister yell to me. This is a scrimmage match, but even in these we’ve been seriously injured before. Fate and I have both got broken bones from being hit by Tom when we were younger.

    My hearing is back, but only just as I use all my might to serge with energy, moving so fast and easily to dodging the shot, but the ringing continues. She knows my weakness already. Doing a front flip and bringing my hands down, I feel her rifle hitting between my calf and I hold the rifle firm as I rip it from her hand. She can’t fire again because it’s a single shot, but I already feel the present of a second rifle in her right hand, this one was in her left.

    Leaping with my hands like an acrobat, I am back on my feet, during which time I tossed the rifle into the air. With that gone, I wait once again, she’s putting up a hell of a fight and it’s annoying that I am so distracted.

    She never does fire the rifle in her right hand; instead she comes at me, elbowing me hard in the stomach and sending me sliding back. Disoriented, I hear the cocking of her rifle again and haphazardly I dodge and stumble to the ground, tripping over my own legs.

    “Hope! What is with you, why are you so out of it?” I hear Tom yell, and it’s surprising for him to comment, he’s normally concerned with himself.

    The Mistress clears her throat. “I’m not surprised by her being timid towards Naomi, although she’s great; having now met someone who can throw her off her toes is new. She’s overcoming this, she needs to too become stronger and just by fighting you and Fate, she’s so use to you guys it’s not even a scrimmage anymore. This is perfect so stay quiet and both of you, no more helping her.”

    “Isabella never had the disadvantage that Hope does, she’s doing well though.” Danny adds his own statement which hurts me slightly.

    “Focus!” My sister yells as she’s hit by the Mistress cane.

    …She’s distracted, I pull out more knifes from my garter belts and run as quietly as I can to the opposite side of Naomi while she is paying attention to the Mistresses comments. But with the Mistress done I feel Naomi’s stance change. She’s noticed that I am gone from where I was before. Now behind her I let both hands loose and I go for more knifes. All together I let loose a volley of sixteen knifes her way.

    She raises the rifle at me and shoots, scattering them around her and I drop to the ground, lowering myself so that the bullet flies over head. Naomi’s aim is remarkable, each time she’s been aiming at my face. I can’t hear again but I am getting better at detecting her. Running behind her, she turns to face me and the woods we’ve slowly found our way into.

    “We seem to be tied,” she comments, acting overly confident. She seems to be shy and sheepish but when in the mood, she goes all out…she’s a strange one.

    Making no remark of my own, and concentrating I begin throwing volley after volley her way, they vanish a foot out from me, then reappear, making a dome of knives around her. But her stances don’t change, she isn’t shaken by them at all…quite the opposite. I’m shaken by the presents I feel, her rifles, they are all around me just as my knives are around her. When did she do that…how did she hide their presents from me?

    What sounds like a spring releasing and I hear a gasp from the others, I even hear the word bayonet escape Erin’s mouth. Striking first I release the hold on my knives around Naomi and she does the same a millisecond later, her rifles fire first then flying where I stood previously as I sidestep them and try running through the mass only to get tripped by something. Standing, my sister shouts to me, “Concentrate!” I then hear flesh on flesh, she’s been slapped by the Mistress.

    Fate is right, I need to concentrate, and I do, with the help of the wind. I can hear subtle vibrations around me. It doesn’t take me too long to realize just what is happening. Naomi, using the trees, she’s called forth a different instrument that we hadn’t realized that she had. She used the trees to make a spider web and I’m caught in the middle of it. I try to move, understand my situation but Naomi speaks up.

    “The ribbon is wrapped around the triggers of my rifles. Try to move and you’ll be shot.”

    “Finish her,” I hear Tom chuckle followed by an “ow,” from, being elbowed in the side by Erin.

    The Mistress ignores them and advances on us where we stand, “You two both did well, but we never expected a second Instrument from you.” She addresses Naomi. “That was quite a show, your movements are your own but your handling is like Marisa. And Hope,” she turns on me and I feel the ribbons around me vanish “Looks like she won this match. You did well too for a first time against her. But remember Marisa was one of my best students and she’s her daughter.” Her stance shifts. “Tonight’s training is over for you two, go take your position. Fate and Tom, you two are next.”

    My eyes wide with shock, I only noticed the web for a second as Naomi’s glowing form takes up my sight and her hand reaches out for me, “need a hand?” she asks.
    3,368 Words

     
    #13 Moe, Sep 11, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2016
  14. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    So, some changes have been made to avoid packing so much into the same day. This being some swapping and salvaging from previous and new chapters. At the end of chapter 4, this was added to split everything up from happening in the same day. Some earlier stuff was also change but doesn't need to be posted here, I will be editing in the new chapter 4 in it's post above.

    As for 5, in continues the same, but part 6 which I posted above is moving to part 7, where as chapter 7 is being divided to be the new part 6 and the end of chapter 7 will become the beginning of chapter 8 instead. This makes sense? No, well leave that worrying to me, I know how this fits, but it's a bit harder to explain in a post.

    This all being said I will have the next post done soon, as in tomorrow and will continue on from there. At long last the large edit that this was, moving a whole section of this Arc forward in the story is almost complete. That's why it took so long for me to being this edit.

    Oh, and I included Adam and Eve before they are revealed in the original version walking down the street. I included them sooner and so they aren't as out of place appearing randomly.

    Part 4: Tom
    Schools out and Hope and I are the first to reach the van in the lower parking lot right across from the football field where some of the team has gathered to practice for homecoming which isn’t more than a few weeks off now.

    Waiting for the others, we make small talk and she mentions about her sister’s ever shrinking hair, how she knows it’s been cut back, and how she’s been allowed less and less time to comb it. She loves the bonding with her Fate, but her worried attitude has caused me to worry. I for one haven’t noticed it in the slightest. She cut it to her neck the first time around, which was a bit surprising but now that I think about it it’s gradually been getting shorter and shorter.

    Laughing, it’s rare for her to get into a tizzy about such a minor issue as hair. Although I’ve never seen Hope with short hair before, since they’re twins they look so damn alike that maybe Fate wants a bit of an identity to herself rather than being in the same shadows as her sister. “You two are different, let it be.” I answer her as Erin and Fate show up. Both of them a nervous expression on display as I rise a brow.

    “Tom, any suggestion on what to do with Naomi?” Fate asks first, ever rarer to come to me for advice, but Naomi is a good girl, I can’t imagen them needing any advice for her, or about her.

    “What’s this about?” I question and Erin fills us in.

    “Earlier today Naomi stumbled upon a ghost child in the boy’s bathroom just off of the library, she’s now carrying him with her.”

    “And you two smart ones couldn’t come up with an answer to tell her to leave it be?” My voice is harsh, but something like this is what Fate should be dealing with, she’s the underling to take the Mistresses place. “Fate don’t you have any bright ideas?”

    “You know never to move a spirit from their location of origin…”

    “I know that, Hope.”

    “We’ll leave it be, she’s already moved him right, she doesn’t know how things work around here, and to that point, we could gain some experience by messing up this time around. I did terribly in the fight against Satoru’s husk that maybe having our ass handed to us again wouldn’t be such a bad idea.”

    My brother gives me an astonished look, “Tom, the brash is going to try to learn from being brash? I thought you left everything up to chance…does this have anything to do with the Mistresses decision, she’s not going to change it you know.”

    “Speak of the devil,” I smile, and wanting to change subjects onto Naomi who is carrying the small child like a mother and son. “Sleeping Beauty, got another sleeper there?”

    Everyone turns around to face Naomi as she her arm under the boy’s butt. “I didn’t know what to do, and you two,” she looks at Erin and Fate, just left me, actually ran off before I could question this…”

    “It doesn’t matter now; we all need to learn.” Hope answers in my stead while reading my mind, “We’ll bring the boy with us and see what the Mistress and Mike has for us, maybe we can help the child.”

    “My thoughts exactly, but why would he come so willingly with me? I thought ghost are stationary to objects and places, like I’ve seen on TV.”

    “A question we should have answered at home…maybe the boy thinks of you as his mother.” Erin answers, feigning looking in the direct that the boy is at, but he knows he can’t see him. He looks no older than eight. A round face and soft skin, large green eyes with a pretty thick head of blond hair. Sighing, then walking around to the driver side I step in and the others pile, Hope being across from me, Erin and Fate behind us, and Naomi taking the back seat to herself. Switching on some tunes and leave the school grounds.

    Naomi seems pleased with the smile on her face that I see though the review mirror. She so much like a mother at this point, then again maybe girls are just natural with their maternal instincts…I wonder what Hope, or even Fate would be like had they been given the chance to carry and ghost child home like her. Thought she did just grab the kid, and we don’t know if that’s a bad thing or not yet.

    Paying attention to the road, I did take a few glances back at Fate though the mirror as well, yet her expression is one of smug and condescending, I figured she’d love to see Naomi get chewed out by the Mistress and she’s seem to have gotten even more cynical since Naomi has been given more attention than she has. Why am I able to see this love-hate relationship between them, however one sided it may be…Or is this all to get at me, to piss me off?

    “I hope she’s lenient on us,” Hope answers my thoughts aloud so the whole car can hear, “she’s not nice when she’s mad, and I’m not quoting a movie if you’re wondering.”

    A smile coming to my face, I don’t have the heart to correct her but those words easy my mind and in no time—about a half an hour, which caused the boy to fall asleep—we’ve arrived safely back at home thanks to my great driving skills.

    Being the first of us with a license I want to boast about it, and I do most nights on around safe travels but tonight everyone heads inside in a stupor, besides Naomi, she seems eager but the rest of us know of the Mistresses harsh punishments.

    Entering the foyer, we all witness a strange and drunk looking homeless person staring down at the floor on the bench that’s next to Mike’s office. Being a funeral home, this isn’t out of the ordinary, and Mike was probably just talking with him. But the stench coming from his, I’m surprised he was even allowed inside.

    The man looks up to us behind clouded emerald eyes. He sees us, but he’s staring at Naomi in particular. He looks miserable as his eyes drift back to the ground at his feet. Mike’s office door opens and he looks as if he wants to speak to the man, but glances at us and calls us to his office. Clearly wanting to talk to us about the boy…

    “Line up,” he feels he needs to say it this time around, and we all do, standing in front of his desk in a like, with the tip of our toes touching the yellow tape line on the carpet below. The order—at least when the Mistress is around, is like when we’re in the yard, but Mike doesn’t mind it being lax, so we line up, and Naomi seems confused at first but stands to my left, her toes matching the rest of ours.

    My eyes are on Mike, where as his are on Naomi and the child. He mouths slightly ajar, as if he’s wondering how to address us. When he does speak, it’s quietly, “Why did you bring this ghost here…”

    “He looked lost,” Naomi answers in ignorance. “Can’t we help him?”

    He pinches his brow as he lets out a sigh,” I understand, you’re new, but some stuff you will pick up, and others is common sense. I’ll let you answer that question yourself though since we were just talking about this two nights ago. How can we help him?”

    His response is forward and one I already understand quite well, that we all understand. It’s a few moments before she does answer.

    “I don’t know…” her answer is quiet, but there’s a ping of sadness to it.

    “It’s good you want to help, but understanding how to help is key here, Naomi. But before that, did you do as I asked?”

    She shakes her head, something telling me this has to do with her friend Miia. “Mike, we’ve never dealt with bringing a ghost so far from where it’s been found, we’d thought we could use this as a training exercise…”

    “What the hell,” his voice rises, causing the child in Naomi’s arms to stir. This is something you would call me…” He realizes he’s may wake the child and quiets himself, “not blindly bring it home and leave it up to chance.” He turns back to Naomi, “You can’t just bring a ghost home like that, there are steps which need to be done, and we need to find out answers first before doing such stuff.”

    “You’d be way more pissed if Hope or I did this,” Fate comments sarcastically and she gets a very pissed off look for her father, the whole stink eye and all.

    “Because you know better Fate, all of you should not have done this, you should bounce ideas off each other, come to the same conclusions, not willfully put us in harm’s way.”

    “Very true, Mike.” Behind us the door opens, and her cane is the first we hear, thudding on the carpet, and muffled. The Mistress walks by Naomi as we steal glances over being taught to look in front of us instead of around us when we’re in this office to show we know respect. She pats the child on the head, “so this is Ronald, it’s a surprise he would show up…seems he lost his way.”

    “Mary, don’t go thinking this is about that case…that we should allow them to take care of it.”

    “That is exactly what I am thinking Mike, they have been preoccupied as of late and have had no time to put their skills to the test.”

    “That Husk not a few days ago was more than a test for them, they failed…”

    “They will be going into this a bit more prepared.” She has almost a whimsical way of how she’s currently speaking to us, like she finds pleasure out of having us fail.

    Biting my tongue, it’s Hope who speaks out of turn first, “I’m with my Dad on this, that last husk…” she gives a small whimper as she’s struck by the Mistress’s cane, “we couldn’t do anything.”

    “If we hadn’t been doing the Dive, then we would,” Fate chimes in and I have to argue that.

    “I was getting my ass handed to me, it was only thanks to Naomi that we got out of there.”

    “Quiet,” Mike stops the two of us, and the Mistress who looks pleased.

    “Give me the case,” Fate says simply, “I can get it done!”

    “I am sorry if I am a bit lost,” Naomi speaks up, “but does…Ronald have anything to do with that man outside…his Third Eye is very dark and the conversation sounds like the two are linked.”

    “Oh,” the Mistress’s leers, “As I thought, you did see it. But what about Miia, did you fix that?” She motions for us to scoot back from the line so that she may stand directly in front of us.

    “Why Naomi? Since she got here it’s all been about Naomi.” Fate ask, as if she’s forgotten what we’ve been told over the past few days, how she’s able to see the Third Eye unlike the rest of us, “I’m supposed to be taking over for you whenever you pass on, let’s get on with this case, give it to me.”

    The Mistress is quick in her response as her eyes glue to Fate. “You are speaking of one thing while we are discussing another.” She steps forward, planting her hand just above Fate’s chest threating her, “wait till I am done speaking. I am trying to teach Naomi, she needs to understand that what she does will affect all of you as a whole, bringing Ronald here is a mistake. Your interruptions are diluting this lesson to her.” Just the power behind her voice makes me cringe, she’s always yells at us this way, a calm anger. “You will not be taking charge of this case.” She finishes her gaze on Fate then faces Naomi.

    “And what about me,” I ask the Mistress myself, interrupting her further. “Why have Fate take all the glory, why not at least give me a chance to prove myself, that I can take over your job.” My pride getting the better of me and wanting to overshadow Fate.

    Mike shakes his head silently as the Mistress parts from Fate and glares up to me, I may be short but the Mistress remains the shortest, only Fate and Hope are smaller by a few inches.

    “You are lucky we have company and I do not want to make a bad impression on him by blasting you through this wall for your insolence.” Her hand remaining out as she carries it over to rest in my broad chest. “You know exactly why I did not chose you, you are worst then Fate when it comes to decision making, Fate at least knows how to strategies, you, you just do whatever idiotic thing comes to mind and hope that it works out. All of you are poor choices to take over because you know nothing of anything. I am trying to teach you the small amount of knowledge I can with the time I have left.” She strikes her cane down again, usually signaling the end of any of her speech, but this time she does it harder, and I think I hear her cane cracking.

    Walking back to Naomi, I know she’s pissed, her thin lips stretched thinner, and her brows furrowed, this appearance is one you’re not likely for forget, I know I haven’t. “Since they have babbled long enough I want you to tell us your story, why did you not give Miia the serum?” She yells this while Mike sighs and the rest of us remain quiet as we let her have her way with Naomi—not that we have any choice.

    Naomi doesn’t hesitate to speak now, but she’s frantic and only bits of her explanation comes out when the Mistress places a hand on Naomi’s chest, “speak clearly or I will send you through this wall, I am tired off all these insolences.”

    Her first time seeing the Mistresses full furry and I can’t understand where it came from this time around, it couldn’t have just been the bickering between Fate and I, we always do that…I feel there is something more to her hornet attitude.

    “Mary, please calm down.”

    Ronald as he’s called is now fully awake, I can’t see him, I can’t even see people’s Third Eye like she showed us a few nights ago. I can sense him clearly, and I can feel his fright. “This is wrong, Mistress.”

    Silently fuming, the Mistress lowers her hand and Naomi who had sucked in a breath and prepared herself for the attack has breathed a sigh of relief.

    “She wants to trust her new friend and she thought since we help with the dead and regrets she would bring the spirit home.” Mike says as if reading Naomi’s thoughts, “she is like her father in that way, blind faith.”

    “She is foolish,” the Mistress adds heading back to Mike’s desk before turning back to us with a tired expression. “Fate, you want to take charge, and same with you, Tom? Fine, this job requires both aspects of our duties.” She now points to Naomi who looks like she could cry at any moment, the poor girl. “Listen well, half our job is fighting Husks and doing it correctly so the taint does not vanish into thin air like your stunt a week ago.” Her face morphs from ridged to that of sheepishness, “that was my fault for not telling you sooner and rather having you experiences one yourself, that should have been the first thing I told you, and the first thing you did was to get well acquainted with your Harmony and instrument.”

    “It’s only been a week, at lot has happen to her, she’ll grow accustom to it.” Mike says backing up the Mistress but feeling for Naomi at the same time.

    “We fight husks, and we help souls find their way. That is the other half. When we find a soul we help them recover from the shock of death, much like what happened to your grandmother on the opposite spectrum, she lived a good life and died as such, a person confused in what is happening to them is different than a person losing their sanity and growing into a husk. A spirit, which lingers is one that cannot come to the realization that they are dead, or they have no memories. That is when we come in, to help them regain those memories and to help them help themselves, travel on to the afterlife.” Going quiet, I know she’s pondering an afterthought, and she speaks once more. “Do not bring up Scarlet, her matter is different.”

    “I want to hear what you guys have come up with on Ronald,” Mike asks us now that the Mistress is somewhat calmer, “what have you learned about him?”

    “Well, he was found in the boy’s bathroom,” Hope begins and Fate adds her bit next.

    “We can assume that he is probably homeless or something.” Sure, we talked in the car some but never did I come to that conclusion.

    “But he has clothing, and they are nice, and he was not crying, he was looking for his papa, and he called me his mommy,” Naomi adds her tidbit, a bit of information she forgot to mention to us, and an idea comes to me.

    “They’re father and son,” I tell them all, and the Mistress smiles.

    “You have some brains in that head of yours.”

    Of course I am referring to the man outside this room and understanding what Naomi said earlier about them being connected, I guess I didn’t catch that considering everything else. “What aren’t you telling us? You two both know his name.” I now ask the Mistress and she goes back to the desk, turning and striking her cane down.

    “This case actually began three years back, it was only a matter of time before he returned,” she watches the door, “His name is Paul Westly, he had a son—Ronald, and three years ago that son died.”

    Only Naomi looks taken back by this, but all of us have had our fair share of death, so we’re not as shocked by it as she may be.

    “I have been keeping a close eye on Paul for some time now, his eye continually getting clouded by taint, and now, I predict only a matter of days before he becomes a Husk, and yes, living humans can become Husk, they usually result from a suicide. Two week at most so that is why we must hurry.” She lets out a small and steady breath as she looks upon Fate now, “I will leave the Husk up to you,” now she turns to me, “and taking care of his son, the spirit Naomi found, is up to you,” and she smiles, “do well and we may have something to discuss later, fail and your living environments here will become much worst. Ask Mike sometime what happened with his group failed me during the bowling case.”

    “Both of us,” Fate and I say in unison and we both steal a quick glace from each other, I know I’m not going to lose to her and she is probably thinking the same about me. “Let’s just see,” we say in unison again, both of us already thinking what the other is.

    “Yes, well you only get one partner to make it fair,” the Mistress comments, “so Tom, who do you pick, Naomi or Hope?”

    I smile at Fate, “I’ll take Hope.” I’m not trying to be mean to Naomi, it just that Hope has more experiences and will be able to help me more than Naomi who has just arrived here,

    “I’ll take ‘Sleeping Beauty’ then,” Fate say’s mocking me but I don’t care, I will win this challenge and take the old Hag’s job, I am better suited for it anyway.

    Naomi now looks scared of Fate, as Fate looks up to her and jabs a thumb at me, “we’ll win this no problem.”

    “Cocky much,” I ask.

    Like he’s on the sidelines Mike just sits back and watches, “this will end splendidly,” he adds coldly when the Mistress asks Hope to go get the door for her. “We have a small problem here.” He continues, “I’ve already called in some help, Mary. I rather not have the kids involved in Paul’s part.”

    Hope pauses at the door and the Mistress turns around, glaring at Mike and an aura befalls the room the likes of which I’ve never felt. “Who!” She yells calmly and Mike just smiles while the Mistress pushes by Hope and through the door that opened on its own. “No training…we resume Wednesday.”

    As suddenly as the door opened it closes and we all look back to Mike who sighs a breath of relief, “she’s pissed.”
    3,570 Words

    Part 5: Mike

    I’m dead serious about this being too much for them. Quietly waiting for a time as they all leave my office, I follow in their steed, but stopping myself as I notice Paul is still hanging around. Danny you’re taking your sweet ass time aren’t you? “Fate, Hope, everyone please come back into my office, I haven’t finished talking with you.” My daughters perk up first, turning, Hope, and her soft spoken face looks kindly upon my own while Fate is the opposite, her distrust for me, her own father growing more and more, “This is important for all of you to hear.”

    The others don’t seem bothered by being called back to my office, as I was going to explain to them the situation before Mary interrupted. Naomi the last inside as Paul stands from the bench he sat upon and asks his own question to me, “You’re not going to have them bug me like you did before?”

    I don’t answer right away but I nod, “This isn’t a job they’re able to do, there are few things they are able to do and I already told you a man named Adam would be helping you…”

    “Good, brats shouldn’t be involved with me.” He’s implying what I already know and I nod again.

    “Excuse me, Danny should be here soon so please wait for him.”

    He sinks back down in his seat, watching me a moment longer before turning back and gazing blankly at the floor before him.

    The shutting with subtly I face everyone. “Sounds like even he thinks it’s not a good idea for us to take this case.” Hope says encouraging her sister to back down with those words but she continues her pouting.

    “You want us stronger, you want us to take over, why not have us deal with this, why are you so against us taking on a clear case what we can do.”

    “Fate!” I yell quietly at her, taking into consideration that Ronald is still in Naomi’s arms, but she has moved furthest away from me, taking a seat on the couch that faces the driveway. Tom and Erin standing put near my desk and Hope siting peacefully on one of the chairs opposite Naomi. Fate the only one standing directly in front of me. “I have another person lined up for this job, I didn’t mention him to you guys while Mary was here because they have issues with each other.”

    “What!” Fate yells, “You got our hopes up…”

    “You got your own hopes up,” Tom adds, smiling and laughing. “But there is more to why we’re not dealing with this, why not fill us in so we’re not in the dark.”

    “You’re handling this news well,” Erin interrupts while Tom glares at him.

    “I’m pissed as hell too.”

    “Well I’m glad you’re taking it well but the issue is you guys are poorly trained for this…an emergent Husk and a Dead one too. You even said you had troubles with that Living one.” Erin gives me a look of dissatisfaction, he wants to know why as well, but since he’s not particularly involved in these causes as physically as the others, he wondering if he can leave to begin researching—his main role. Jabbing a thumb toward the door, I give him the go ahead to leave.

    “Catch me up later.” He calls back before shutting the door and departing for us.

    My eyes drift from Tom to my own daughter, Tom seems fine but these turn of events, but Fate, she’s still mad and I’m unsure of how to calm her down. And she doesn’t take kindly to Tom’s words either. That or she wants to distance herself for me, ignoring what I have to say, she’s so stubborn, how did she become so much like her Aunt? They rarely saw each other.

    “Needless to say I’m over ruling Mary, if you want any part of this job, deal with Ronald as a single team.”

    Naomi eyes half hooded as she looks down at the boy in her arms, rocking him gently to keep him asleep during all this tension. “Is a spirit easy to deal with,” her answer comes softly and Hope answers for me.

    “They aren’t particular hard by we’ll be working with an arm tied around our back.” Well most of my words, she doesn’t need to include it… “If Dad gives us accurate information on Paul it would give us a good advantage but not being able to Dive is detrimental to our task.”

    “You’re right but the Mistress is trying to divide you guys, purposely this time having each group take on a different part of the case. It’s not going to end well and Fate,” I frown at her, I expect more from you, you can tell this is what Mary is doing to test you guys, test you and more than just life or death case, she is putting all of you at risk by willing to split you up. And with Naomi…”

    “I’d just get in the way.” She adds dryly, letting us all know that she is a hindrance at this time. “Me being in the way won’t help.” She continues, “Is there even a point to dividing us?”

    “Yes…” Fate answers, yet cuts herself short because even she’s not sure of that the point is. Her long pause tells us that much and it’s Hope to answer that point for them as I quiet down to watch them discuss the issue, seeing if they will come to the same consentience I have.

    “Naomi is the most inexperienced of us all, and with the Mistress having us splitting up, we’ll be experiencing new horizons, that is what I think she’s going for. She wants Tom and me to be paired since I’m more gentle and less of a brute as my sister is.” Smiling I agree with her statement, Fate looking at me with knit brows as her sister carries on with her explanation. “Having Fate and Naomi as the second pair, she can see how well she can teach Naomi and if that will fit. My sister needs a challenge and that is why the Mistress wants us split.”

    “Or why you think we should be split?” Fate grows, “If I am to be in any group I’d rather be with you, or god forbid Tom, but Naomi, she’s useless as she is.”

    “Hey!” Naomi stands, “isn’t everyone terrible at something until they are taught? If Mistress Mary wants as trained so we learn from each other, why go against that.”

    “Girls! Tom…” I try to get them to focus again, “This isn’t about you guys being in groups, remember you’re a team, you’re only going to deal with Ronald.”

    “And Paul?” Tom asks as if I directed this all at him, I didn’t I meant for all of the, to come back and focus on being a team.

    “As I mentioned before, he would become a Dead Husk when all is said and done, think of the ranks we have like this; A Living Husk is a pet dog…which is too much at this time for you to handle.”

    “I was the only one fighting it before Naomi helped, we dealt with it…” Tom argues.

    “Regardless, a Dead Husk is a wild wolf, an Empty a pack of rabid wolfs. Shall I go on about how heavily outclass you guys are for this? I’m tired of arguing, you guys have training yet tonight so I won’t keep you further. You work as a team to help Ronald only.”

    All of them remain mute, all of them with questions to ask, yet I think I got through to them and I want to take my leave but Tom stops me, resting a hand on my shoulder, “You have yet to tell us what you know, tell us why you’re having someone else deal with Paul, what makes him such a threat to us that you’re going against the Mistress.”

    “Don’t speak as if we’re on equal footing, you are all still students here.”

    “And I’m an adult…” He pauses knowing he only just got his drive licenses over the summer.

    A sliver of a smile appearing on my mouth I tell him I’m just frustrated, finding this whole exchange unnecessary but productive. “I don’t believe that Paul lost his sanity due to Ronald’s death, nor his own wife’s death. Both of them where unfortunate. No, what makes him a Dead Husk is he murdered. Rely on Erin, he should be able to find information like that out in the public records, I’m not going to have any part in this, and don’t interfere with Paul as I said, Adam will deal with that.” They all give me quizzed expressions and I sigh. “Adam is part of a Guild…they do what we do on a large scale covering the whole world.”

    Everyone rising now from their seats, they know our conversation has ended. Fate pushes though the door first, she’s still mad and I understand that but it’s part of life, you can’t have everything, and you certainly can’t do everything if you aren’t able to, or unprepared and lack the experience to know how to.

    Tom, next to follow, with Hope last, I give her head a pat as she leaves, she’s not bothered by it but she looks up to me, “you got to stop keeping stuff from us, when where we going to hear about the Guild?”

    “It’s not something important to know about, but if you decide to continue fighting Husk it would be something for you to look into.” She seems pleased with this answer as she too leaves, leaving Naomi to stand in front of me, while still rocking Ronald in her arms, she’d make a fine surrogate mother. “Are you wondering about anything?”

    “I think I understand everything I need to know at this moment, but my Instrument is inherited from my mother, did she have a name for it?”

    “If I told you the name it would be cheating, I heard you and Mary had a similar conversation about Scarlet a few days’ back. What is it she told you at that time?”

    “That telling someone information would give them false memories, ones that they didn’t remembered on their own…”

    “Right, so even if your mothers instrument is inherited it would be detrimental to tell you its name. You’ll learn it eventually, so don’t worry.” She ponders what I told her because opening her mouth to speak and I cut her off, “as with Fate, this is about Fate right?” I question to confirm my suspicions to which she nods. “Fate is a leader, your mom was the same, but don’t let that bother you much, she’s stubborn and once you earn her respect you’ll have an easier time getting along.”

    She looks surprised at first, watching Ronald before giving me a blushing smile, “thanks, I hope we can get along.”

    “You and me both, I don’t like seeing her mad. But I don’t want her to cause you extra trouble.”

    “I can handle it, the kids at my old school never treated me with much respect, at least Fate knows I am here and that she cannot get rid of me.” She jokes with me, but I wonder how much of that is her own insecurities.

    Dashing past me, she leaves to, and I’m left alone. Peeking out the door I see Paul is still around and I wonder if we were too loud. “Damn it Danny, you’re suppose take him home, where are you?” I ask aloud, walking over to my phone, ready to give him an earful.
    1,959 Words

    Do not continue further, please go to post 18 and continue from there.

    Part 6: Mary

    Wednesday arrives all too soon and as I predicted he has arrived with a companion that I am familiar with. The air filtered by a recent downpour I exhale, watching as my students meet me in the twilight.

    “What a darling child,” I hear from Scarlet as Tom enters first. But he pauses and in a way I expected him to. There is not a chance in hell that he would not know who is here.

    “God damn it!”

    Tom is about to turn around back towards the entrance as he gets a right hook from the towering man who lied in the shadows, waiting for him. I felt it best that I should not warn him and let the two bond the only way idiots know how to.

    With easy the punch knocks Tom into the walls of the mansion while the others rush in to see what is going on. Naomi’s reaction is of shock as another punch is throw, this time by the now recovered Tom who lunges at the man only to hit what must feel like a brick wall to him, then again his ability has greatly improved over the few years since they last saw each other.

    Scarlet angers me as she is holding Ronald which is something two ghost should not do, they are two entities yet their soul is free from the flesh, meaning they can intertwine easily, and with no relation between the two of them, all the more reason to separate them. At least in thought. I at this time find no reason to, that is a simple theory Erin suggested when I talked with him about having two ghost within close proximity so I will keep an eye on them incase anything goes wrong.

    “Not this again…is this the reinforcement that our Dad talked about?” Fate asks, coming up to me while the others stay behind, now watching the fight and Hope trying to explain to Naomi that this is fine.

    “My thoughts exactly,” I answer her, feeling slightly more forgiven than usual. “We have a second guess as well.” I close an eye as Tom is launched into the woods with Adam jumping after him. Tom still holds no ground to his father, that is clear. The rest of my students walking toward me, Naomi dumbfounding expression asking for answers as I suspect Hope did not explain in enough detail to her. “That is Adam Bane, Tom and Erin’s estranged father.”

    “Oh,” Naomi exclaims, now caught up on the current situation, then her, do they have a sister?”

    Cocking my head toward where her line of sight is, I see the sister. A small girl, younger then my students who is dressed as a Nun and silently watches them, or listens, her eyes are close and her hands rest peacefully in her lap as a smile comes to her face. Sitting next to me, the wheelchair that Adam brought her in tells me she is still unable to control her Harmony, only repress it.

    I shake my head somewhat, “No, she is not their sister…”

    “But she is a sister.” Scarlet wisecracks to me as she comes up to us with Ronald in her arms.

    “Yes.” I answer with annoyance, “This is Eve Lancaster, she is here to help Adam with Paul. And you will have no duties concerning him, understand.”

    “Yes,” they all answer back, even Naomi is learning my ways of teaching and how I am supposed to be addressed.

    Eve opens her eyes and stares down Naomi from the corner of them. I am astonished they would let such a young girl Release, she was only seven the last time I saw her, now she is fourteen.

    My attention is quickly brought back to Tom and Adam with Tom landing face first in front of all of us and Adam coming from the woods dusting himself off and laughing. “You landed a single punch finally, guess the old hag can train you.”

    Another person who reference to me as an old hag…

    “That is quite enough you two, I would like them to scrimmage as they usual would without interferences, you know how it is.”

    “Yep,” He replies and lending a hand to his son who knocks the gesture away from him.

    “Don’t think we’re on friendly terms, Old Man!” he glares at him with hatred. Standing by himself and limping his way back into the line, “care to watch or pummel?” He asks sarcastically.

    “Why not both,” he replies in the same tone, walking his way around Eve’s wheelchair and grabbing ahold of its handles and I notice something more tide around the handles, a leash and I understand now how she is able to control her Harmony.

    “Well, with that ruckus done, why not get to the core of today’s training.” My cane moves as I follow, pressing it into the soft dirt from the rain prior. “I have said this before, but we are going to see the Harmony of those who inherited their Instruments. Hope, Naomi please step forward.”

    Doing as they are told, Naomi is shy to move and probably shaking by Adam’s boisterous personality but I give her a kind look to not fret. Her slowed pace quickens and she stops in front of Hope who has already took her position and dawned her Harmony, a simple frilly maid outfit with a short skirt dropping to her knees, and two garter belts just underneath where she draws Yuki from. Mary Jane shoes and white socks which stops mid-calf and a white bonnet to match.

    Naomi is quick with her own Harmony. A white blouse with brownish corset and yellow plated skirt. Yellow and brown patterned knee high boots with an off color brown stockings that stop mid-thigh. Lastly a yellow ribbon around her neck and a brown beret atop her head. This resembles nothing of her mother’s Harmonized outfit but that is not surprising, they are two different people. Yet the color scheme is similar.

    Taking a look at the line, I see we are shot one. “Tom, go grab your brother…”

    “Allow me.” Adam answers, walking quickly away from Eve and to the mansion, reappearing in no time carrying Erin under one arm before dropping him to the ground. He’s quiet, like he accepted being carried by his peeved look, he did not like it.

    “Nice seeing you again.” He says coldly as his father walks back to Eve, gripping the handlebars of the wheelchair and watching me silently as she is behind those closed eyes.

    Cutting off the pleasantries their I being. “Inherited Instruments provide a very unique ability to the wielder.”

    “So then there is more to them than just a name?” Erin scoffs.

    “Yes,” I respond, clearing my throat and walking the line. “They are inherited by definition, passing on from one generation to the next. That is what you understand. But also,” I pause in front of Erin, “a recollection. Hope and Naomi may not understand that but allow me to elaborating.” I say with a bit more excitement. “Hope, your movements, your actions, and everything about when you use Yuki…feels familiar. You have never felt lost when using them. You understand what they are capable of.”

    “Yes, Mistress,” she echoes that enthusiasm I showed earlier.

    “Yes, and you Naomi,” I begin to ask, as she turns to face me, and I rephrase what I was about to ask, “Did you feel your mother when you used your instrument against that Husk?” Letting her have the time to think, she has yet to respond as I add, “your grandmother?”

    “I did…” she says quietly, then spinning back to Hope. I think they are ready to experience a clash from the past. Isabella verse Marisa. I take my stance between where Fate now stands and Eve, my usual spot which Adam has decide to over shadow by being in front of me, but I let it slide as there are more important matters to handle.

    “Instruments that are inherited have memorized the movements of their past users. Hope; from Isabella, and Naomi; from Marisa and Kala.” I take a breath and open my mouth. “Thus let us being. I would like to ravel in this scrimmage I have not seen for years…and so that I may judge.”

    His voice high like that of a woman’s, yet manly, and I see his silhouette sneak up on the two as he passes them, and walks to us. “Like old times, now their daughters.” Danny has come to witness the match as well, I hear him pause and I figure he caught a glimpse of Ronald with Scarlet, because he utters a few words before walking to a spot at the end of the line up next to Erin. “Nice seeing you again, Adam, doing well Eve?”

    “Dandy!” Adam answers while Eve nods. Coughing I stop the chatting between old friends and cast my sight on Hope and Naomi.

    “Right, you may begin!”

    In no time at all the match was decided, it was clear from the get go that Naomi had the upper hand, continuingly assaulting Hope source of sight, her ears, by continuingly blasting her instruments so close to her head, the available sound to her was nullified and she stumbled. Getting encouragement from her sister and Tom, I discipline the two as I end the match, marveling as Naomi’s new found abilities displayed before us.

    The two walked back and took their positions while I have Tom and Fate go forward. “You did extremely well.” I tell her with delight but my thoughts are on the next part of tonight’s training, to show her the abilities of her comrades. That first night Naomi only saw a glimpse of Tom’s abilities and she has hardly seen Fate during a scrimmage.

    She is a range fighter, just as Marisa was—and she will be better able to understand how to move is she sees them fight as well, holding nothing back and going all out. Soon she can and all of them can train as one…I smile, rare as that may be I glace at Adam, the perfect dummy for them to practice on in the future if I can keep him here longer than it takes to deal with Paul.

    Taking down a Husk so easily, she truly is her mother’s child. But she is stronger. Her personality shows that much, with both the change in her inherited instrument and the new one. She is far stronger than any of my past and present students and to be able to Harmonize to such a degree.

    Glancing up to her from where I stand I can only see Marisa, although weaker by a lot, Marisa proved her valor many times before, can her daughter do the same. Her personality is not favorable but there might be something to work with, she has shown that she likes to be in the middle of a fight, she has shown that when threaten she can get the job done.

    “We’re in position, hag.” Tom shouts to me and I cringe. That brat has no respect.

    “Unless you want cores for a month, I suggest you honor what I say to you. Both of you go all out, we want to show Naomi your strengths we want her to understand you.”

    Nodding they take their fighting stances and call upon their instruments and Harmonize. Tom crouching, he brings both arms down and turns his fists upright at his waist. His body brightens and purple jeans shorts cover his lower half while he becomes shirtless to display his muscular build like some primitive ape. I was appalled at his choice to look like that Hulk person on the television but he chose that in spite of me and after our argument over him wearing a tux at which he got Mike to step in and tell me to ‘drop it.’

    My students are spoiled. On the other hand, Fate dawns her gear in the same way—that black maid outfit with white pantyhose so she is faintly differentiating from her twin’s outfit. Her instruments appearing in her hands, she only bends her knees slightly, her longer katana, Cain in the right and forward most, while Abel in her left is drawn a bit further back. She’s taking a defensive position against Tom, as she should. Tom is a senseless brute.

    “Get her Hulk!” Adam yells and Danny laughs, parting from his spot in the line and walking away.

    “Glad I got to enjoy that fight, I’ll be see you around then.” With Danny leaving us, I have Adam in my sights and instinctively lifting my cane, going for Adam’s shins only to hit the metal from Eve’s Wheelchair, she seems startled while Adam glares at me.

    “Really, you never even trained me before.”

    “I apologies, keep quiet though.” My sights drift to Naomi on my right, taller than me, I speak directly to her. “Naomi, pay close attention, I do not want to waste time with having to show you this again, learn their movements and we will test to see if you are consistent with them in a few days’ time. There are no second chances here, if you are not able to match their movements when I send you out there in practice you will get hurt, you will cry and you will have no one to give you sympathy. This is how I teach my students. Got it?” Pausing and only hearing a whimper from her I add, “I am no longer going to hold back regardless of Mike.” I tell her straining my voice when I look back to Tom and Fate to see they have not started yet. “Begin you two, no more slacking!”

    Naomi lets out a scream by the suddenness of my two students colliding, frowning I witness their exchange with Fate sidestepping Tom’s blow and Fate’s instruments scrape his blackened arm. Tom may look as if he doesn’t have any instruments, just those gaudy shorts but he is able to be enveloped with his soul which helps protect him. Only parts that his Harmony is covering are protected, this is hard to do without clothing to manifest the soul, to give the soul a kind of insulation, but Tom does well without, he is a natural, only part is concealing it, but maybe he likes to have it be shown. Either way he has his strengths, as do all my students.

    Giving Naomi a rap on her shin with my cane, she flinches again, “I told you we are not going to waste time with showing you again, watch and do not blink. You hear me?” I tell her forcefully and she nods weakly. “Good. By far, you can see more than any of us. Tell me what just happened. You may have screamed but you were watching.”

    Stumbling on her words, she does manage to say what I was expecting after a bit, “Their movements are fast, Fate, she is able to cut through the air and Tom, his fists are bursting into flames each time he swings,” she points forward at them, and I smile.

    “Do you agree?” I ask Hope who is standing as stiff as a board, just as I told them less they want to be struck in the shins with my cane, Hope is by far the easiest to deal with, her personality is lax, but she knows her place and rarely disobeys, I can count on one hand how many times she has needed to be disciplined.

    She nods.

    “Right,” I tell her as we watch both of them not stopping and as we remain talking. Their little dance continuing with neither of them letting up which is due to the frequency of their scrimmages over the years and having to deal with school during the day, training at night and weekends, they have built up plenty of stamina and can go for hours as long as they are concentrating…they are not, but that is not why I have them fighting so I will let that go, just means they get harder training later. That and this is also why I will not be wasting her time by throwing her into the mix with my other students. Sure she has a strong personality and Harmony, but they will get her nowhere unless she is physically up to the task. Her past says so, but it has been years since her gymnastic and track days though her reflexes remain. She will have to train with Erin then.
    2,779 Words

    Part 7: Hope

    Her steps are what I notice first, heavy but soft. I can tell Naomi is getting tired of holding the ghost…they shouldn’t have no weight, but her perception is telling her otherwise. Because she’s holding a child, she believes she carries its weight. At least this is how I see it.

    “He never took his eyes off of me…” I’ve failed to notice she has already started a conversation with the others. I’m too distracted with my sight, I’m not used to seeing souls like that, yet it’s all I can consider. The Mistresses demonstration a few nights ago, about seeing the Third Eye allowed me to heighten my sense a bit, trying to understand the way she displayed everyone’s eye allowed me to understand how to concentrate and for the time being I can see Ronald in Naomi’s arms as a human figure of pure pink flames.

    “Would he even know you’re holding his son?” Tom asks and Fate takes over.

    “Doubtful, it’s more like intuition, or instinct, he thinks something is there rather then it really being there, but in this case, she does have his son.”

    “Hate to say it but you may have a point.” Tom answers with a bit of spite.

    Naomi chuckles nervously to their banter, only to add, “it felt creepy.”

    Everyone is quiet again, we’re close to the courtyard as another flame catches my vision, this one of Scarlet who with a joyous squeal rushes over to us and places all her attention on Ronald. “What a darling child, who’s is he?”

    “A ghost,” my sister answers dryly, continuing to the courtyard.

    Ronald stirs, finally awakening and speaks but softly, “Where’s papa?”

    “The pissed off…” I glare at Tom firmly, not wanting us to have any unnecessary troubles thanks to him and he teeters off, with a sigh, “no idea kid.”

    “Well why don’t you let aunty Scarlet show you around, maybe we can find him.” My gaze switches to her, and she doesn’t hesitate to have Ronald passed to her, he wanted to and plus Naomi didn’t see any harm. If they get to Paul it’s not going to end well, but can he even see ghost like we can?

    “God damn it!” Tom’s voice echoes though the hall as flesh on flesh sounds soon after along with some grunts by Tom as we rush into the courtyard.

    I’m blinded by this flame and I close my eyes, rather listening to what is occurring. A few punches rocket from both of them and I instantly recognize who this new person is. Their father, Adam.

    Naomi who remains standing by side clutches my arm as the fighting grows louder and I comment, “Their family.” I answer, wanting to get out of the way of their fighting, “come along now it’s nothing we need to worry about. Tom is fine.”

    She doesn’t reply as I lead her to the line. Asking the same question again, this time to the Mistress, she gives a bit more depth to her answer and Naomi accepts that. Opening my eyes, I see that my power has faded, I only see gray again and I’m worried now that this may interfere in my fight. Being able to see where a person is and that is not something I am acquainted to, I still need to get used to it and I am sure it will only grow with me and before long I’ll be able to see everyone as flames.

    The Mistress is brief, explaining to us what Inherited Instruments are. I guess I knew this all along, maybe she explained that ages ago and I forgot, however this time I am wiser to how I use Yuki, and we have Naomi’s company. Someone new and someone I feel is eager to learn, we’re both oozing with excitement. Listing, my eyes close until the Mistress has ended. Danny has arrived as well as Erin, and the new people here also want to see what we’re capable of. I can’t let them down. “Let’s show them a good fight.” I tell Naomi who sounds as if she just heard me.

    “Oh…okay.”

    Opening my eyes, Naomi is ready as she stands before me, in no effort at all as her Harmony emanates from her. My mouth parts as I see it again, in a brief flash I saw her flames from the usual gray. Where her hands are burst into that same pink flame and in them, two rifles take shape before the flames dissipate. One for each hand. Realizing I’m already psyching myself out, I close my eyes. I want to concentrate, allow my hearing to guide me, something I trust with all my heart.

    She takes steps to her right, in a semicircle around me, stopping and placing one of her rifles to my forehead. “Beginning slow I see.” I smile, a slight giggle to at my bad joke.

    In a swift movement I bring both hands down to my garter belts unlike her, I have to physically do the motion, it’s hard concentrating and pulling my instrument out of thin air like her. Pulling out four in each hand I side step to my left. Both of us in a standoff now which I have already taken the lead for she allowed me to move out of her way.

    Being the rookie that she is, she fires the first shot, I had already sidestepped it. I’m too quick for her, she relaxed her advancement. Feeling a pleasant aura around her. She’s really is happy though, and I already knew that, we both are but this is strange, like she’s been seeking a fight for a long time, something to test herself. It’s a feeling that feels out of place for Naomi, I know I hardly know her but this is odd. Is this our aunt and grandmother resonating within her instrument?

    Yet what I only now notice is my ears, are ringing with the sound of her first rifle shot. Opening my eyes out of instinct, I can’t hear anything, yet why do I think I can see anything…I desperately search for those flames I saw prior. I can’t see anything, and I can’t rely on my hearing now. Crap shooting, I throw my right hand and release Yuki on her. I hear metal on metal again and I try concentrating. Taking a step backwards I see her guns coming forward, the one which she has yet to shoot is pointing at my forehead. At which point I don’t make the same mistake. Releasing my other set, she jumps backwards and I know a few made contact.

    Using her unbalance to correct herself, her hand comes down to catch herself and she rolls, using her other arm to push herself off the ground. At the same time, she spawns her instruments again—seems she only has a single shot with each, that’s good to know. Kneeling, her right arm outstretched with one of her rifles.

    The shot sounds but I easily dodge, allowing myself to spin on my heel. But the ringing makes me hesitant, relying on my sight once again, I get enough of a flame from Naomi that I toss Yuki her way.

    I now realize my disadvantage against her having felt Yuki vanish into the void and being unable to hit anything. Jumping backward to gain some distances between us, I wait. Concentrating on the noises around me as the ringing fades, my ears are super sensitive, which is both my advantage and disadvantage. Like a dog’s sense of smell. When ears ring I have trouble locating where Naomi is, or if she’s even moved. Does she realize my handicap?

    The cocking of a rifle tells me my answer, she’s right next to me, and her rifle pointed at me head.

    “Dodge it!” I hear my sister yell to me. This is a scrimmage match, but even in these we’ve been seriously injured before. Fate and I have both got broken bones from being hit by Tom when we were younger.

    My hearing is back, but only just as I use all my might to serge with energy, moving so fast and easily to dodging the shot, but the ringing continues. She knows my weakness already. Doing a front flip and bringing my hands down, I feel her rifle hitting between my calf and I hold the rifle firm as I rip it from her hand. She can’t fire again because it’s a single shot, but I already feel the present of a second rifle in her right hand, this one was in her left.

    Leaping with my hands like an acrobat, I am back on my feet, during which time I tossed the rifle into the air. With that gone, I wait once again, she’s putting up a hell of a fight and it’s annoying that I am so distracted.

    She never does fire the rifle in her right hand; instead she comes at me, elbowing me hard in the stomach and sending me sliding back. Disoriented, I hear the cocking of her rifle again and haphazardly I dodge and stumble to the ground, tripping over my own legs.

    “Hope! What is with you, why are you so out of it?” I hear Tom yell, and it’s surprising for him to comment, he’s normally concerned with himself.

    The Mistress clears her throat. “I’m not surprised by her being timid towards Naomi, although she’s great; having now met someone who can throw her off her toes is new. She’s overcoming this, she needs to too become stronger and just by fighting you and Fate, she’s so use to you guys it’s not even a scrimmage anymore. This is perfect so stay quiet and both of you, no more helping her.”

    “Isabella never had the disadvantage that Hope does, she’s doing well though.” Danny adds his own statement which hurts me slightly.

    “Focus!” My sister yells as she’s hit by the Mistress cane.

    …She’s distracted, I pull out more knifes from my garter belts and run as quietly as I can to the opposite side of Naomi while she is paying attention to the Mistresses comments. But with the Mistress done I feel Naomi’s stance change. She’s noticed that I am gone from where I was before. Now behind her I let both hands loose and I go for more knifes. All together I let loose a volley of sixteen knifes her way.

    She raises the rifle at me and shoots, scattering them around her and I drop to the ground, lowering myself so that the bullet flies over head. Naomi’s aim is remarkable, each time she’s been aiming at my face. I can’t hear again but I am getting better at detecting her. Running behind her, she turns to face me and the woods we’ve slowly found our way into.

    “We seem to be tied,” she comments, acting overly confident. She seems to be shy and sheepish but when in the mood, she goes all out…she’s a strange one.

    Making no remark of my own, and concentrating I begin throwing volley after volley her way, they vanish a foot out from me, then reappear, making a dome of knives around her. But her stances don’t change, she isn’t shaken by them at all…quite the opposite. I’m shaken by the presents I feel, her rifles, they are all around me just as my knives are around her. When did she do that…how did she hide their presents from me?

    What sounds like a spring releasing and I hear a gasp from the others, I even hear the word bayonet escape Erin’s mouth. Striking first I release the hold on my knives around Naomi and she does the same a millisecond later, her rifles fire first then flying where I stood previously as I sidestep them and try running through the mass only to get tripped by something. Standing, my sister shouts to me, “Concentrate!” I then hear flesh on flesh, she’s been slapped by the Mistress.

    Fate is right, I need to concentrate, and I do, with the help of the wind. I can hear subtle vibrations around me. It doesn’t take me too long to realize just what is happening. Naomi, using the trees, she’s called forth a different instrument that we hadn’t realized that she had. She used the trees to make a spider web and I’m caught in the middle of it. I try to move, understand my situation but Naomi speaks up.

    “The ribbon is wrapped around the triggers of my rifles. Try to move and you’ll be shot.”

    “Finish her,” I hear Tom chuckle followed by an “ow,” from, being elbowed in the side by Erin.

    The Mistress ignores them and advances on us where we stand, “You two both did well, but we never expected a second Instrument from you.” She addresses Naomi. “That was quite a show, your movements are your own but your handling is like Marisa. And Hope,” she turns on me and I feel the ribbons around me vanish “Looks like she won this match. You did well too for a first time against her. But remember Marisa was one of my best students and she’s her daughter.” Her stance shifts. “Tonight’s training is over for you two, go take your position. Fate and Tom, you two are next.”

    My eyes wide with shock, I only noticed the web for a second as Naomi’s glowing form takes up my sight and her hand reaches out for me, “need a hand?” she asks.
    2,267 Words
     
    #14 Moe, Sep 21, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2016
  15. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    And so, the long ass edit it complete, more or less...well first it was placing everything in the front of the arc, then it became placing a clear division to make it so everything doesn't happen on the same day, I mean there were a good 6 chapters all happening on the same day, one right after another so I took the time to divide it and they happen on two different days. Some of part 8 was apart of part 6, anyway enough technical talk.

    Part 8: Mary
    The clashing of the Fate’s twin katana’s against Tom’s metal coated arms continues and both their breathing have become ragged, it has not been more than a few minutes yet that are burning themselves at both ends and that is not how I taught them, to embarrass me in front of guess is a disgrace.

    Stealing a glace, Adam seems engaged, shouting here and there, encouraging his son. While Eve sits quietly, as to be expected of her. Seeing as they do not seem concerned by the flaws both Fate and Tom are demonstrating I turn my attention to Naomi who is also watching the fight closely. Her eyes are just like Marisa’s. Eyes of a true marksman.

    “Those bayonets,” I begin talking again, calmly as to not sound angry, yet I need to be strict and with a grasp on what I saw, I think I have the answer to why her inherited instruments gained an additional perk. “Marisa was never able to add those or she never knew she could, she thought the rifle was all there was, although this is a different form she was able to give it. She gained what would be called a sniper rifle in military terms, a tank buster. Mike explained this to me when he witnessed it. It was a marvelous sight to behold.”

    “Neat,” her enthusiasm is null, her eyes remain on the fight while I continue hoping she is taking all this in

    “Your particular personality added those, making that Instrument your own. That is also the Instrument giving you a hint at its name.”

    “Names are pointless,” Eve chimes in, speaking loud enough that both Naomi and I look over to her, questioning why but she keeps quiet, her soft voice hardly audible beyond Naomi in the line. She smiles at us. “if you can’t remember it, how can you summon it?”

    Standing tall and in position again, I ask, “what is your point?” Yet she remains quiet. Naomi’s ribbons are another matter though, having two Instruments is impossible at least how I understand them…

    Taking a moment, I spy Scarlet sitting cross legged passed them, carefully cradling Ronald in her arms, talking softly and acting as a mother would to the poor child. I pity him, I really do. But my attention is drawn on the scrimmage again. Slowing down now with Tom landing a heavy blow and sending Fate onto her back I spark the conversation between Naomi and I. “Naomi, tell me what you have seen between those two.”

    Quiet at first again even though we were speaking so fluently before she clears her throat while bringing a fist to her mouth. Dropping her hand back to her side, she tells me. “I can see their personalities in their fighting, but I guess I could already tell by the short time I have been here and how I have seen them act.”

    “Tom?” I ask.

    “He is rash, and arrogant, his fighting shows that he does not pause to think about his actions, he just does, he has no hesitation.” She tells me and I agree, then she says something a bit unexpected, “But he’s playful, he never takes anything to seriously and that is his strength.”

    Hope giggles at this and I shake my head, shocked by this and also a bit refreshed. “Naomi, I have been training everyone for a long time, but in my own ignorance and growing accustomed to each of them, I missed some of their stronger traits. Thanks.”

    Both Naomi and Hope look a bit stunned, Naomi because she’s only seen a grumpy old lady, and I admit I am, and Hope because she has never seen me nice to my students, mainly because they are all brats never cooperating. I have kind of loss myself with continuing to be the ruthless teacher I am, but with a fresh personality in the mix, maybe I will lighten up—ever so slightly.

    “Let us hear what your prospective of Fate is.”

    She thinks a bit and I look up, they are getting slower, their attacks nowhere near the blinding speeds before; I will stop them after I finish hearing from Naomi. “She is calm and calculated; she concentrates more and uses her strengths and speed when she can, not before.”

    “She playful,” Hope chimes in, asking the question I was going to ask to see if she will add anything more.

    Naomi shakes her head, “She is really focused and will not take no for an answer, I do not think I have said anything you did not already know.”

    “You are right,” I tell her, pausing and looking up, “Tom, Fate, you may stop.”

    “Your able to train them, I was right, but as to how, I see a severe lack of Harmony. They are running out of steam way to quickly…” Adam butts in, facing me from where he stands behind Eve, “are you able to give them proper training or not?”

    “What do you mean by proper, I am training these kids as I have my past students. You have some nerve asking if I am training them properly.” I answer him, quite annoyed by his reaction. “We are finished here.” I tell my students, Naomi and the rest of them looking perplexed.

    “You can’t be serious,” Fate asks.

    “That I am, dear,” I hiss at her. My eyes go from Fate who looks as irritated as I feel to Naomi who is now following Scarlet around. “And what are you two doing?”

    Hope jumps in the conversation, tailing Naomi and answers for them, “Scarlet, she’s acting funny and won’t let us have Ronald.”

    Laughter erupts from Adam as I glare at him from the corner of my eyes, “Your training is outdated, hell, you haven’t even let them progress to Release.”

    “You are not here to criticize my training methods; you are here to deal with Paul.”

    “Something which you should be able to easily deal with without my help. Are you really as frail and brittle as Mike said?” My cane drops to the ground as my hand goes for Adam’s neck, ready to force him to the ground. He does not budge but gives me a surprising look of wonder. A part of me stopped myself, yet apart of him allowed this to happen. “I am sorry to insult you.”

    “A brat such as yourself so know your place” I answer him, in a thick old English voice which I rarely use. My anger getting the best of me that part of me slips and he even saw my brief change to that of my younger self, back when I was in my prime. Blond hair, long face and not a wrinkle on me.

    Meanwhile though, Naomi and Hope have been getting more persistent toward Scarlet who I scan from the corner of my eyes. Handing me my cane, Erin backs off as I walk toward Scarlet. My body taking on the older appearance I had and it is sad to think I was once so young, but not now. “I am not in the mood for this insolents Scarlet, why are you not giving the child to them?”

    All eyes fall on me as Scarlet stares me down, Ronald in her arms and she’s clutching him to her breast as if he were her own child. Ronald does not seem distrust though, as if he is buying into that Scarlet is own mother, their souls did intermingle, I should not have allowed them to have contact.

    “He’s mine…”

    “Scarlet.” She stares at me, her face contorted with rage, “you know it.”

    Her voice is shrilled and I try to give her pity as she speaks, “what do I know? This is my child, why are you taking him away from me.”

    “Scarlet, this is not your child.” Forceful, yet calm, I am trying my best to not make this case worse, if they actually intertwine completely we could have something worse than a husk on our hands…

    “What, how can you say that, this is my child, my…” She is not responding at all to reason.

    “You do not even know the name, Scarlet, you do not have a child…” Nor do I, but that is not the point here, the point is to stop her from consuming the child’s spirit.

    Her voice cracking as tears roll down her face, “I do, he’s mine, this is my child!” She’s hysterical, I have to stop this now. For both her and the child’s sake.

    “Rebecca, you don’t have I child!” I let my old accent slip again and Scarlet gasps as she stares at me, her eyes wide before she practically drops Ronald who Naomi is quick to dash forward I grab. But in that instants, she vanishes, I doubt gone, but off to pout.

    Adam is the one to speak up first after the exchange as he approaches me, “we have many things to discuss…particularly your phobia.” He then looks to those who are here, pointing to Naomi, Fate, and Erin. “You three come with is, the rest of you are dismissed…right Mistress Mary?”

    I am silent as I look to Hope and Tom and nod, “We will talk with you guys later.” I hate so blatantly telling them they are excluded. But I fear that it is necessary at this point. With Adam and Eve’s arrival only trouble will come and I thank Mike for that.

    Both of them are okay with it, they do not seem bothered and I am happy for that, if only. They take their leave and Naomi stands by me, Ronald who is fussing about being hushed in her arms. A good surrogate mother, maybe she’s more like Marisa than I had thought.

    “What is this even about Mistress?” Her irritated tone deafens my ears. Just one more annoyance I have to deal with thanks to Adam.

    “The future,” Eve’s soft spoken voice softens the tense atmosphere from before. “about Releasing and Mary’s fear of that for you guys.”

    “And purifying you,” Adam adds, “your eye is full of taint, Fate?” He asks her as if that is a question and Fate lets out a laugh. Understanding Adam, she smiles at me, then walks away, the rest of us following. “You have odd students Mary.” Adam finishes, “yet that ghost, when do you plan on helping her.”

    “When she remembers, and I may have pushed her too much today.”
    1,752 Words

    The tunes I listen to during this whole process over the past few days.
     
  16. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    Part 9: Fate
    Planting myself in the lazyboy in front of Erin’s desk within the library where he spends his time doing research, it’s honestly been awhile. Over the past few years many changes have come to this grand room, it’s a circular tower of sorts standing at the back of the funeral home and containing more books than the library at our own school--with three floors. Around me, multiple bookshelf’s encircling his desk.

    He watches me as Mike comes from a back room with a flashlight in hand. Turning the top, I cover my eyes as he shines the LED my way, then stopping next my chair, and shining the light upon my third eye at the center of my forehead. Moments pass and backs up while shutting off the light and turning to our guests, that being Adam and Eve who are quietly watching from behind my chair. “Same as always, your taint is completely gone.”

    Even with everyone here, Naomi and the Mistress included, it’s not any of them who speaks but Adam. “Why are you preforming needless purifications?” And who are you to ask questions, I ask myself, keeping quiet all the while observing this exchange between two rivals. Who even is the girl in the wheelchair the nun named Eve.

    “Because it’s good to keep the eye clean.” My father answers. And I agree. “Yet you are the one who suggested it…did you think without looking again?”

    I can tell Adam isn’t patient as I hear his heavy boots step forward and his face appears before me. Sunglasses on that he doesn’t even need in this room, not the mention night has fallen. His graying hair slicked back yet long it’s almost like he has a reverse pompadour. “the eye can handle a bit of taint, that is to say Fate can handle it.” Bring forth his left hand, a leather black and fingerless gloves moves its fingers before me. Proceeding to take off the glove a small crystal like shard is revealed to be embedded in the back of his hand. Opaque yet giving off a rose hue. “You still purified the usual way though, using quartz crystals right?” He completely ignores my father’s comment about looking before you leap.

    “It is the only way.” The Mistress answers in her unnerving tone, “do you have a reason to ask us this?”

    “Don’t get your bloomers in a twist hag,” he answers back, more defiant than his son to say the least and I am speaking of Tom, not Erin. “I am wondering what you’ve done with the shards.”

    Sounds from Erin silences all of us as he fumbling though drawers in his desk before pulling out a shoebox and handing it to his father. Adam takes the box, opening it before frowning at Mike. “You call this purifying? They all contain taint still…”

    “Adam,” Eve interrupts as he closes the lid of the box and places it back on Erin’s desk. Walking back to Eve and brining her forward, “Naomi, come closer too, I don’t want to speak loudly.”

    Naomi approaches and I have a question that’s been bugging me. “Who is she?” I state, plain and simple while standing and pointing at Eve to the right of my seat where she has been wheeled to with Adam’s help.

    Speaking from behind us Mistress Mary responses to that question. “She is an old student of mine.”

    I almost laugh at this, “but she’s so young, where were we when you were training her?”

    “I tried seven years ago. She is special, and under the circumstances I had to pass that responsibility to the Guild. I can see that she is doing well there.

    “Thank you Mistress, I am.” She answers back plenty but quietly. Her eyes remaining close this whole time and she has hardly move a muscle, only speaking when needed as if she were a doll. “It sounds like we can ignore the purification for now, let’s look over your fear. Mary.”

    Utter silence in the room sends a chill down my spine as I feel an uneasy aura around the Mistress. She does walk forward to and stops behind me, looking at Eve as we all are. “Naomi, please remove my habit.” Naomi is hesitant and looks confused as I point at Eve’s hat, the habit so to say which she then understands and removes it from her head. All of us, well not my father, the Mistress and Adam, but the rest of us all gawk at Eve’s pink hair, laying neatly upon her scalp. Cut rather short, it wasn’t visible at all from underneath that.

    Adam smiling but at the Mistress with a mocking gesture. “Mary, you are stifling their training, they should all have fully Harmonized by now. They should be Full Released.”

    “What,” I frown, “you mean I am supposed to have pink hair like that? I’m supposed to full release?”

    “Yes, you are.” Adam adds, your eyes also go pink, but that’s beside the point…”

    “No,” I answer. “That isn’t beside the point I been trimming my hair for months now, cutting off that dye.”

    “As you should,” the Mistress responds to my small outburst. “Full Releasing leads to torment, chaos on loss of one’s sanity.”

    “No it doesn’t you bat,” Adam yells, “why is it so ingrain in your mind that Full Releasing is bad.”

    Nothing, the Mistress is quiet and all of us, all our eyes are now on her. Naomi is the first to speak now, “Mistress, is something troubling you?”

    “That’s why we’re having this conversation,” Adam says sarcastically. “Go ahead, tell them about it, or have you kept quiet like you’ve done before…” Still nothing as Adam tells us a name. “Sophia Autumn.”

    A sharp inhale comes from the Mistress as Mike rises a brow, “is that it, is what happened to her the reason why you are keeping the kids from Releasing?”

    “It does not concern her…”

    “Mary don’t lie, this is exactly why my sister hated you,” With my father mad, something makes me think this whole conversation has been played out between these three many times before. Glancing at her, she’s silently telling him to stop, but just like a speeding bullet, he won’t stop.

    The Mistress does speak up a hollow, “stop.”

    A ping in my heart and I almost feel sympathetic for her, is this really that bad, is what happened to Sophia tragic?

    “You didn’t tell her about Josef until after the fact... You are mad to withhold information when that is how we learn,” Adam is nodding in agreement as is Eve. Naomi and Erin expressions are as confused as my own, Josef? “I mean how the hell would we know half the stuff if I hadn’t done all that researcher when I was younger.”

    I have no idea what’s going on but there is some serious tension, something between the Mistress, Adam and my father. But between all of this, the equally quiet Naomi—compared to Eve—speaks up. With them talking about her mother, it was coming. “Who is Josef?”

    Tensions high, it’s my father who snorts and leaves the room like the raging bull he just was, I sometimes know exactly why I am so stubborn and when he does that I see myself. A trait I am both fond of, yet conflicted with. This is about the time where everyone storms off, as usual the Mistress is never good with keeping things in check however much she’d like to believe that, it’s usually her who always makes things worse.

    “If you would all excuse Mike for being smart with me,” she sighs, “I will tell you of her, of my first apprentice, the one who first Full Released.”

    “I wouldn’t say he was being smart with you. You’re just an angry old woman who doesn’t want to admit to help when it’s presented.”

    “And I think I’d much rather hear about Josef.” Erin growls at the Mistress and she turns on him. Erin is probably the person with the least trust in the Mistress, but after this conversation I too am having my doubts about what I’d like to hear. She’s only going to tell us about one, she never goes on drones on like Erin sometimes does.

    “You will only get one story today, and I have already chosen to tell you about Sophia, not the brat Josef.” Called it.

    “Who is he,” Naomi adds, also defensive in her own way. Adam stays standing tall behind Eve while Eve is now watching the bookshelves seeming uninterested in the current conversation. Her habit has been returned to and Naomi is standing in front of me, her eyes on the Mistress who has come around to my left.

    I’ve chosen to say out of all this, remaining quiet, yet hopping to leave soon because I’ll be able to tell my sister about my hair and what it all means. She’s but making a fuss ever since I lobbed more than half of it off last year.

    “I will tell you about Sophia because you want to add more to your theories; you have always liked the rational so this will give you that,” the Mistress is talking about the wild theory that Erin has about Husks, about how they didn’t appear till two hundred some years ago, how will something like Sophia add to that? “Talking about Josef is not relevant at this time, you want to know about him why not talk to Mike about it.”

    Naomi looks like her confused dumb self, and Erin, he looks as if he wants to strangle a cat, “You’re withholding information,” Erin responds and the Mistress brushes it off.

    “Good, and after my story,” she looks down to where I’m still sitting, swinging my right leg over my left, getting myself a bit more comfortable. But the Mistress taps my shin with her cane and motions for me to leave my chair. I leave it, walking over to Erin’s desk and taking a seat on it while Naomi stands to my side. Erin, remaining in his own seat this whole time. “Tom and Hope both can hear everything, either by me or you, it does not matter.”

    “They should have known this for ages…” Adam adds in sarcastically again, but the Mistress doesn’t react in any way.

    “Of the three kinds of Husks you know, there are two others, only one is relevant, which I believe.” She gives a glare at Erin and I know Erin wants to say something but the Mistress struck before he could, “do well and remain quiet while I tell my story, I do not want to repeat myself.”

    I can’t help but gulp. The Mistress has strange methods for everything but when she’s serious there is no interruptions, she would break from any train of thought or sentences to deal her harsh punishments.

    Clearing her throat, she begins. “I once knew someone well.” She starts. “I met an orphan living in town, she was fascinated by moths she loved watching them at night flocking around the candle flame which she watched over and give her her only warmth during those bitter winters.

    Tending to her as best I could, one night I found that she was nothing but skin and bones, Yet the surprising thing is her third eye was always bright, she had no taint at all, through all of her hardships that led her to that point, the frail and brittle sixteen-year-old, Sophia. Her last name I gave her for two reasons, it was autumn when I met her, and her hair, was beautiful, the colors of the falling leaves around us. Sophia and I became quick friends.

    And at the time I knew nothing of anything that was going on, I could see the third eye and instinctively I knew all about it.”

    “Where does this new type of Husk come in? I don’t want to hear some story when none of it is relevant.” Erin mocks the Mistress and she ignores him which is surprising, usually she’d beat him, or any of us with her cane, she’d fire an air cannon at us like she was going to do with me a few days back, is telling a story about her friend making her forgiven?

    “Very well, there is no need for the history of her. Soul Husks that is what we call the forth type. It happens when a person who has gone through the Full Release and changes into a mythical creature due to their regret at the time of death. Sophia regretted never saving her parents from a fire because she was too young. As we trained together and we both learned stuff she befell to her depression. She was getting stronger to the point where her hair went completely pink and her eyes…” She looks at Eve, “that will happen to Naomi and Fate if they so choose. But I must warn them, allowing that sways your emotions, and that is harder to control. Because of that they will be at high risk to becoming this.”

    “You know that’s bull.” Adam responds, “Those within SMILE are fine and content. Full Releasing allows a constant flow of your Harmony to be emitted and you have better understanding of your own soul.”

    “They have a hard time as it is, making any of my students Full Release now will causes ill changes and that I do not want them to experiences.”

    A vain begins pulsating on Adam’s forehead. His expression natural, yet below that is a storm of anger. He’s easy to read but he quiets down, “finish this god awful story, I have work I want to get to.”

    “I wonder if that’s the color of the soul…” Naomi asks, as I laugh at her comment even though I have to agree with her even if the question came out of the blue, it does make sense seeing as Eve has gone through it and it sounds as if many, many others have as well.

    Erin remains motionless behind me as he soaks in everything and the Mistress continues. “It’s ironic that she liked fire even though it killed her parents. She went missing sometime after the full release—as your calling it. It was not till years later that in December of 67 I met up with her and saw the aftermath of that regret, of her continuing regret.”

    I see Erin perk up at this, and the Mistress smiles, liking that she got Erin’s attention. “What is on your mind, Erin?” she asks.

    While Adam cresses the bridge of his nose, Erin answers with his almost infinite knowledge of the mundane. “I can think of only one major thing happening that year with a mythical being, rather a monster. Are you referring to the Silver Bridge collapse?”

    She nods, holding out a steady palm, willing Erin to continue. “The Silver Bridge once connected Point Pleasant, West Virginia with Gallipolis, Ohio over the Ohio River and was built in 1928. On December 15, 1967 during the rush hour and heavy traffic on the bridge it collapsed killing forty-six people. Now going off of what the Mistress is saying, some have speculated that a creature known as the Mothman caused the collapse. Rather was the harbinger of that incident.”

    “Your text book knowledge is like no other,” the Mistress comments, “that is precisely what happened, and is why I fear that Fate will turn out like that. Only difference is she keeps gaining and loosening taint.” She now stands from the chair, approaching me and grabbing my chin to hold my face in place so she can get a good look at my third eye. “The only reason for the eye to become untainted is for you to change your thoughts, so is everything in this world so foreign to you that you have come to the conclusion that nothing matters? It’s rare for anyone to have such a pure eye, yet yours is as clean as Sophia’s was back then.”

    Gazing into her old eyes, I can’t understand what she is getting at, but me turning into a creature that would hurt others. I’d never do that. I don’t know what I changed about me to cause my taint to come and go even… “Mistress you even said at our young age our minds are constantly changing, it’s that why my taint is vanishing.”

    “That is true to an extent, but taint always remains, for someone to be completely pure is rather unheard of.” Eve answers, and the Mistress pulls her hand from my chain. My sights on Eve now. “Adam is constantly filtering me, she points a finger to the collar around her neck and the leach that Adam is holding, “if I’m not filtered then I will overflow, losing control of myself. But taint is different, it’s sanity and yours is pure. It’s as if you are ignoring your sanity. That is possible.”

    “Regardless,” the Mistress responds, “you are special, and as Sophia as the same, you will likely follow her lead, and become a Soul Husk. You and your sister both.”

    “I’m not someone who follows, if I know it can be prevented than I won’t allow it.” I reply, getting slightly annoyed that they believe my mind is constantly clear and containing no taint. It’s good but still bothersome that they would continue to badger me about having none.

    “Mistress,” Naomi speaks up, “if what you say about Mothman is true, what about other creatures like Big Foot, or…” Her interrupting the conversation is welcomed, and not just by me, the Mistress looks a little relieved to.

    “Not all Soul Husks are bad. As we said before we are all learning and Erin will now enlighten us with his theory. She now looks at Erin as I rub my chin from her forceful grip.

    “Theory?” Adam know asks, “What theory are you talking about?” Eve looks just as confused, only tilting her head.

    “It’s a long story,” Erin replies, “I just find it odd that Husks are relatively new to our world, there is nothing in the history books spanning past two hundred years, at least not until now with the involvement of Soul Husks. What that means is creatures in all cultures are involved. Centaurs, Cyclops, Mermaids, there are vast possibilities and it will take some time to gather my thoughts…but going by what I previously though it still only ends up being two hundred years and I am not about to forgo that conclusion because of this. Something is wrong here.” Hopping away from his desk I watch as his face reddens and his eyes are directed upon the Mistress. “I’d also like to add that I want to know about Josef.”

    “What does he matter, he doesn’t involve you.” She comments holding her arms out to gesturing why. “If you want to learn of him talk with Mike.”

    “Boy, that isn’t a topic you should worry about…” Adam chimes in to get a glare from Erin, I have never seen him this mad before, well that’s a lie, when he argues with Tom it’s the same, but I feel more hatred from him, this has been brewing for a long time.

    “In what we know about Husk, Harmony, everything, they are all parcel analysis because I don’t have the information to fill in the blanks. You are hiding more stuff then you are telling us all become of how relevant it is. I’d like to know about Josef! Dad, piss off.”

    Simultaneously, both Adam and the Mistress shakes their heads, “well once it becomes relevant,” she emphasizes the last word, “we will talk.”

    “That doesn’t involve you…” Adam adds.

    “Listen to him,” The Mistress finishes as she turns away to leave.

    “Fine, give me a week...”

    Stopping, she asks, “A week for what?”

    “You’ll see.”

    She spins around, “You are bargaining with me?” Her question is the same as mine. My sights drifting back to him he’s smiling.

    “What are you bargaining with, it’s stupid to put a pot on the line and not know what’s in it.” Adam sighs, “what exactly will we see?”

    “She’ll see, but allow me to keep those,” He now points to the shoebox Adam is holding, “they’re needed.”

    “I’m going to regret allow this aren’t I, honestly my interest is also peeked so make sure to make good on your word, but after the week is up, after Paul is dealt with I need to properly purified these less we have a Cluster on our hands.”

    “Good choice dad,” Erin face grinning as he nods at the Mistress, “and you, will you agree to your end? Will you tell both Naomi and I about Josef?”

    Waving her hands in front of her face, Naomi response, “Don’t bring me into this.”

    “But it involves you. Mike knew about it but he’s as stubborn as the Mistress."

    She too nods, “one week, no more.” And then she leaves. Slamming the door to the library and dislodging a few books from the floors above.

    A thud here and there and Adam laughs, “son, you are good at getting on her nerves, glad we have that in common.”

    “Again, piss off, I’m not in the mood to look at you.” He answers in a low growl, he shrugs and says no more as he and Eve both leave, Eve waving back to us before the door closes.

    “You know what you’re doing right?” I ask, “you made a deal with the devil.”

    “I know exactly what I am doing.” Erin sneers.

    I’m frighten of him for once, he’s never been this forthcoming before, he’s almost mad, I do wish I could see his third eye and maybe tell what he’s thinking. Maybe it’s best for him to stew in this, to leave him alone for a week like he suggested. And although I hate to help Naomi, she looks too dumbfounded to budge so I grab her wrist, “we’ll be going then…good luck.” We leave him, and I let Naomi go as soon as we’re outside of the library. “Best we leave him be.”

    Only a nod from the scared Naomi which I try to give her a pleasing look but for me that’s hard. But her response is acceptable as she says thanks, taking off in the other direction, heading for her room as I am too. I can tell Hope about my hair and I can stop cutting it. I guess I wouldn’t mind pink, it would differentiate Hope and I even more and I can stop feeling like we’re always being compared to each other and being a pair. I am my own person.
    3,805 Words

    Wow, the previous version of this chapter was only 2,861 words, but including two new characters and more dialogue as well as information sooner then in the past version, it's to be expected. Well enjoy the chapter, been working on it on and off since Monday so I'm glad it's finished and next week another chapter will be posted. It's back to my old self after that retardation of needed to move so many parts around and editing that to flow. As a plus this is also the longest chapter in my story so far.
     
  17. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    Part 10: Hope
    Following my father’s instructions to only help Ronald, we do so. My sister and I splitting into groups. Tom and I, while she is with Naomi and being unusually friendly with her after Wednesdays dismissal. I don’t know why Tom and I were left out of that interaction. But we were told everything they chatted about. Mothman, Soul Husks, and ever some wager between them so that Erin can get get more information out of the Mistress about Josef.

    Our father wasn’t pleased at all with this but he said it was out of his hands since Adam is allow it and mentioning it would have happened sooner or later.

    With all that going on, Tom and I are hunting for clues about Ronald, we found that his class has already graduated and so to the ones that came after, it’s been three years since he was present at this school before his passing. Because of this our search has been impaired. We only know that much because of the year books and old newspaper clippings which had his obituary. We’ve gathered just about as much information as we can on Ronald Westly that we’ve been coming up dry without a single new lead.

    “That’s the third person to tell us he was sick.” Tom tells me as I watch the pink flames of Ronald spirit running up and down the halls enjoying himself clearly. He was a senior four years ago, that’s the most we’ve gathered as of recent, and that he was sick, as to what that sickness is, we don’t know. The girl Tom was chatting with walking the opposite direction of us since we have lunch at this time. We’ve been trying to talk with all the seniors we know since we’re freshmen and the seniors are the freshmen from three years ago.

    I can see Ronald’s spirit a bit better since I’ve been hanging out with him, Fate giving me that job so she can fully immerse Naomi in gathering information and to have her be less distracted. Him and my sister I can see clear as day enveloped in those flames. Grumbling at the dead end, I call Ronald back to me so I can pick him up, he’s a handful even for someone who is dead.

    “How’s he treating you, you’ve seem really pissed lately?”

    Ignoring him I turn around, “I’ll ask the next senior that we see.” Of course I’m pissed, it was stupid all of them to not tell us about the Full Releasing and the other stuff, “I’d expect the same of you if we weren’t told about something.”

    “You mean from Wednesday night?” He smiles, “well I guess you know how I feel all the time towards my dad. That seeding hate that makes you lash out…”

    “I’m not reckless such as yourself.” I cut him off, kneeling and holding my arms out for Ronald to get scooped. “Let us just focus on Ronald, how long did the Mistress give us, two weeks? A week is almost up.”

    “She meant that for Paul, not this little brat.”

    “We know Paul killed him…” I begin speaking in whispers, and walking close to Tom and we head towards the lunchroom. “You think we’re ready to be even remotely involved in this kind of case, Dad was pretty annoyed that the Mistress would even suggest it to us.”

    “The old hag can go die,” He answers as I expect him to do. “Any who, with how dry the trail has been, maybe we could call the graduated calls of last year, something that might help. Probably still living with their parents.”

    Lighting the mood, I laugh at this lame attempt to break the tension and my frustration, “I doubt they are as poorly educated as you.”

    “I’m doing fine, I have a C average, passing even.”

    “Glad you’re at least thinking…”

    Rounding the corner to the hall that will lead us to the lunchroom. My sense to see spirits overwhelmed me as I grow dizzy which has been happening frequently, since I’ve began seeing the fire. Handling it as best I can, I try not to draw attention from Tom as he rises a brow, “if you really aren’t feeling well I can take you to the nurse.”

    “I’m fine.” Being in a crowded school will help me learn and focus. Possibly. I can’t sense beyond walls yet…I can feel but can’t see like I can now. My world has gone pink as of late. Resting my eyes, I begin hearing now of ghouls and ghost from a familiar voice coming from an exceedingly large group that have gathered.

    “What is she up to now…” Tom questions while scratching his head.

    My eyes flutter open as my sight is back to gray, I don’t get this ability of mine yet, but it’s connect to souls. We look at each other and rush over to the table where she’s sitting. Not seeming too surprised to see us. Nope, she sounds pleased as we push our way through the crowed.

    “You just missed your sister and Naomi…” her tone saddens a bit when she says Naomi but she perks right back up, “You holding that ghost,” she whispers, leaning over to me.

    “What…what is this,” Tom asks confused and I hear him rustling some papers. Talking for my eyes, he reads aloud some of the article in the issue of the Voice that Miia wrote before stopping, “This isn’t funny!”

    “It’s not supposed to be,” Miia talks quietly, “I lost my brother, I used this as a way to grieve his death.”

    “No, you’re screwing with Sleeping Beauty. She’s new, we’re all trying to get along and the situation at home isn’t the greatest. Toying with her while at school is borderline psychotic. We know you’ve been interested in us…”

    “Now isn’t the time Tom,” I tell him holding out an arm, feeling Tom approaching Miia in a hostile manner. “Don’t forget you haven’t been much help in that department either…I can’t say the same for me…”

    Miia giggles with uncertainty, “My actions are poor, but we all want to help her, right?”

    “That’s not the issue here,” Tom tells her as the bell rings signaling for us to head for our next classes, most of the crowed now dispersing. My dizziness fading as I have to deal with less and less spirits in proximity of me. But I nod in agreement with Tom.

    “She trusted you to not publicize this. She’s not the greatest people’s person but you consoled in you. You’ve betrayed her.”

    “Then you understand?” Tom ask, speaking for my sight. She’s begun rustling papers of her own, packing up the newspaper she’s wanting the school to read. She’s not supposed to know anything, Naomi’s at fault but this is every bit on us as it is her. We should have taken more precautions when dealing with her brother and dealing with her in general. Although, maybe she’ll help bridge the gap growing between us all. I’m beginning to worry what will come of all of us. The Mistress says it’s a breath of fresh air, but I see this as a wedge. “Miia, you have information, you’re a journalist, and maybe you can be of some use to us. What do you know of a Ronald Westly?”

    Tom feels shocked that I’d be so upfront about our situation but I don’t want bad blood over something like this, maybe Naomi is right, we just need to trust Miia. Tom and Fate are both stubborn, I’m here to look after my sister, Erin does the same for Tom, but he’s made a wager, I’d figured that would be what the Mistress would want us to do instead. ‘Erin needs to find himself,’ where her words the day after.

    “You can’t be serious Hope,” he grabs my shoulder and spins me around so we’re not facing Miia. Talking in hushed voices, “the Mistress is going to have our hides if we ask Miia,” he now emphasizes her name, “for help.”

    Frowning I turn myself around and set Ronald on the table that Miia remains setting behind. “What can you tell us of Ronald?”

    She smiles as I concentrate on her soul, and I begin to make her spirit out, even the black sliver of her smile appearing with in the slowly intensifying off-colored rose flames. Which is new, I didn’t know this ability would allow me to see mouths, but I can see indents for eyes on some figures, so why not. “He was sick most of the last year he was here at school, his father murder him but because he’s underage his records aren’t for the general public. His father was found not guilty and was released from prison after the trial ended a year ago. This was all three years ago.” Smug with her response she sits back in her chair, “the bell rang.”

    Taking in the information I go back to picking up Ronald and she stands up herself, finishing cleaning the table of her left over newspapers.

    “Well thanks, just stop giving Sleeping Beauty troubles.” Tom tells her.

    “She doesn’t like to be called that you know,” Miia responds.

    “He’s not going to listen, he started calling me sweetheart for the past few days now.”

    “Wanna tell me why Ronald is a kid?” Miia now asks about to take off and I shake my head. “Worth a shot…”

    “You told us Fate and Naomi dropped by, where they go?” Tom butts in, “did you tell them the same information?”

    “Naomi remained hovering behind Fate while Fate questioned me, I never thought she liked Fate but maybe cause of my actions…”

    “Damn right your actions,” Tom spouts and I hit him in the chest to shut him up while trying to balance Ronald. I give a pleasant smile back to her and she acknowledges me, clearing her throat.

    “Fate said they were going to find Paul.” And my pleasant smile flips.

    “Damn it!” Tom yells a bit loud, causing a teacher to yell at him, “damn it,” says again but with a slight laugh within it.

    My blank expression returns too normal as I glare at Miia. That may not be her fault but now, now this is, “You don’t by chance know where Ronald’s father lives do you? Did you tell them that?” There is no response from here and I sigh, taking off down the hall, a brisk pace at first but transitions into running.

    Ronald clinging onto me as I begin sprinting, Tom follows my lead, “we’re going after them, Fate is far too reckless!” Strain in my voice, for once I think Tom is on the same page as me as we both dash away from Miia. “Grab the van, I’m calling my dad.”
    1,810 Words

    Now being past the huge switch around, I should be pumping these our more frequently.
     
  18. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    I'm really back tracking here...again. I realized the cluster fuck the past few chapters have been and more or less been stalling this whole time to do any kind of work on it. Hopefully that stall is over. A previous chapter I had taken out, I have come to know that I do need the chapter because it adds more depth to the 5 main characters. Erin, Tom, Fate, Hope, and Naomi.

    So here we are, redone.
    Part 6: Fate
    “This way.” She gives me a confused look as I motion with my hand, “come one slow one.” I frown at her, “we need to talk...all of us.”

    “About what,” she whispers to me, trying to keep Ronald sleeping. I can’t see the child but he’s already a nuisance. He always was, “Put him down and follow me.”

    She doesn’t move, “I’m not leaving him, what is it we have to talk about.”

    Spinning, I give her the cold shoulder as I walk away, “I don’t need to deal with you.”

    Everyone else has already gathered in the same room we had our grandmother sometime ago. Tom sitting up front, already pulled out a folding chair that unoccupied. Erin and my sister in the pews and all of them stare as I enter. The door slamming behind me in my frustration.

    “Of course you left her,” Tom chuckles, “miss panties in a twist can’t even get Sleeping Beauty here.”

    “Don’t threaten me,” acknowledging my sister and Erin I take my own seat, “she is keeping that damn kid with her, she’s not letting him go.”

    “And why should she?” Erin asks, “it’s not like she isn’t the cause of our current situation.”

    The door opens again, and all of use fall silent as Naomi enters, her arms swaying freely by her side. “Scarlet is keeping an eye on Ronald.” She comes forward, taking a seat in front of my sister’s pew, and on the right side of the room. “What are we talking about.” She asks, her voice sounding annoyed, what can I expect, she’s been a wise crack for a while, like she’s even annoyed with us.

    “Everyone just breath,” Her voice is soft as she tries lightening the room, “Naomi, we’re all working together, we’re all a team.” She glares at Tom and I, “we need to get along and that is why we’re all here. You’re among friends.”

    “But this isn’t just about that,” I interrupt Hope, “We need deal with what we’ve just been told, both Ronald and Paul.”

    Hope is on her feet and stomping towards me, “Tom’s right, but I won’t use those words, why are you still on that, still determined to fall in line with the Mistress, we all hate her. Yet now we get a possible death case...well we didn’t. Dad told us not to bother with anything but Ronald, and you’re still going against that?”

    “We’re playing along,” Tom answers for me.

    “Play along?” Naomi questions, “we all heard what Uncle Mike said, I know I’m not deaf but you want to go after Paul still?”

    “That’s not what you should take from this Nao,” I answer.
    “Nao?” Her eyebrow rises while she watches me.

    “What should she be taking from this idiotic conversation then?” My sister wonders, her own voice cracking under the strain, she’s never been one to yell, but she’s mad too.

    “We hate the Mistress,” I state it simply, turning back to Naomi who’s has her arms cross as her eyes show signs of curiousness, “Not being here as a kid as we all were dampens how you see the Mistress...how do you see her?” Turning that question on her, ever cautious of her. “You’ve taken all the attention from the Mistress these past couple of weeks.”

    Standing inches from me, my sister glares with cold eyes, “Wait, this is about the Mistress coddling Naomi?” Her reaction is to take a step back, at least what would usually happen, but she stands her ground, further leaning towards me, her own eyes shimmering a dull pink, “what do you want from Naomi, this is about her right, not about Ronald or Paul, this is about her getting all the attention, about her being special as oppose to you, even if you were just given the reins from Mistress Mary.”

    “What about it?” I yell.

    “Simmer down you two,” Tom butts in rushing forward and pushing the two of us apart, “We’re only here to tell Sleeping Beauty how we see and have gotten along with the Mistress, not a cat fight between you two...how ever enjoyable that would be...” Tom’s voice trails off with a thud, Erin having finally stood up and come forward to tame his brother and voice his own thoughts.

    “What we’re all trying to say is that we have never gotten along well with Mistress Mary, and the sooner you learn, or hear from us our thoughts on the matter, the better we think we’ll all get along, but after this...Fate has a long way to go, our leader needs to be considerate.” His words soft, to try and easy the tension while stern, as if warning me.

    Breathing in, I try, try to calm myself down while bashing Tom’s hand away from me, “Yes, that is right.” I don’t add more, having enough of this stupid conversation. No point in me arguing further about any of this, better go deal with Paul myself.

    A stillness fills the air for a time as Tom speaks now, “Although the main point of this has been brushed over by miss Angry…”

    “Finish that I dare you.”

    “...”

    “We do have a slight oddity that we experienced and have yet to reveal to Father and Mistress Mary.” Hope words are soft, “we can’t describe it all that well because we don’t even understand what happen. We just know what we saw.”

    “That would be?” Erin asks, intrigued.

    “Two weeks ago, the night Grandma Kala passed, she released an incredible harmony. We already knew that would bring Husks who’d otherwise be hidden out in the open, we were to defend the woods up to Devil’s Reservoir until our father reached there.”

    “But that is the strange part, as the Husks showed up, they all went up in flames, purple flames.” Tom adds, sounding perplexed as we all now are.

    Naomi face contorts as if she’s trying to understand this too, still standing she faces us, “this isn’t normal is my guess.”

    “Good guess,” Tom replies.

    “Then thoughts, causes, was anything else out of the ordinary?” Erin asks.

    “A woman. A woman in a torn white trench coat from what we saw, she was able to teleport around us and laughing all the same. She appeared near me, said ‘whoops’ and disappeared again. She took care of the Husks that were going for your grandma.”

    “Then those flames I saw coming from the woods weren’t from you guys.”

    “You saw those flames?” Hope, Tom and I ask in unison. All of us now more confused, “you have no Harmony, yet you were able to see those flames…”

    Silence again, “That woman wasn’t like us then, either Erin grew or that woman used some other kind of ability unlike ours to get rid of those Husks.” Hope answers for all of us.

    “Why tell us?” Naomi asks, “this is not normal for you guys, should we not talk with Uncle Mike and the Mistress then?”

    “No, they have enough on their plate, the Mistress is getting to old for these troubles and even if we told her, she’d probably be mad at us for withholding information, making all of us clean the gutters and with winter nearly here, I don’t like that idea.”

    “None of us do,” Tom answers, “but to be a team we must share information, and we hardly trust the Mistress. We can at least discuss this between ourselves.

    My sister giggles, “we can get along,” she wraps her arm around my neck and the other around Naomi’s as she brings us together, “we’re in this for the long haul, we have to get use to each other.

    “Sleeping beauty,” My eyes staring at Naomi as she smiles, “Angry Face.” Then they dart to Tom.

    “I told you not to complete that sentence.”

    “I never did,” he laughs, “Sweetheart,” he points both hands toward my sister who releases us.

    “When was I ever called that? Are you pulling names out of thin air?” Her tone of annoyance yet playfulness as she understands that Tom is merely trying to lighten the mood further.

    “Then what is yours?” His brother asks, “Buff Jack? Muscle Head?”

    “Either or,” he jokes, “Brain?”

    An irritated sigh leaves Erin’s mouth. “This is over, I’m heading to bed.”

    “Night, Brain.” I grin, joking at Erin’s expense. But with him gone it’s now my sister, Tom and her. “We shouldn’t worry about the unknown woman, who knows if she’ll show up again, it sounds like she disappeared along with all those Husks. I don’t see any need to bring it up to dad and Mistress Mary either.

    In between all this, Naomi agrees with a quick nod, “I am not sure what I have done wrong, Fate, but I want to get along with everyone. I will not mention any of this to anyone besides us.”

    “See, she isn’t bad,” Hope replies, “we’re all getting along...well we’re are done here as Erin said, it’s late, lets get some sleep.” Hope in a far better mood now then before, she smiles before turning and leaving, Tom following close behind.

    “Wait up, Sweetheart.”

    “Do you want to die?” My sister answers while drawing Yuki and pointing her at Tom’s throat, the throwing knife a few centimeters away from Tom’s blackened neck—he was fully prepared for that attack.

    A sharp inhale comes from Naomi as she sighs noticing the flint well after I already had. She’s not as close to us as we all are. “You’ll get there,” I tell her patting her on the back and following my sister and Tom out of the room glancing at Scarlet who has been pacing up and down the hall in front of the room for sometime now. She sees us all leaving and enters the room. Ronald still in her arms and sleeping soundly.

    Grimacing, I find Ronald annoying if anything, if we had gotten to the Mistress without having to talk directly with our Dad—as per usual—we would have dealt with Paul...that’s not the case, and neither is how I’m going about it. I know I can handle Paul.
    1,695 Words

    Some calming turns which helped.
     
  19. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    Part 7: Hope
    Her steps are what I notice first, heavy but soft. I can tell Naomi is getting tired of holding the ghost…they shouldn’t have no weight, but her perception is telling her otherwise. Because she’s holding a child, she believes she carries its weight. At least this is how I understand that.

    “He never took his eyes off of me…” I’ve failed to notice she has already started a conversation with the others. I’m too distracted with my sight, I’m not used to seeing souls like this, yet that’s the only answer I have. The Mistresses demonstration a few nights ago, about seeing the Third Eyes allowed me to heighten my senses to see them. Attempting to see the Third Eye since that day has proved fruitful as I’m able to clearly see Naomi’s figure as if she were displaying herself, something feels unaware coming from her, an uneasiness if I where to guess that envelopes her in pink flames—those same flames coating Ronald. I’m seeing their Harmony, their soul.

    My sights drifting from Tom to my sister, neither of whom I see quite as clear as Naomi and the kid. My sisters is dim, hardly anything there for me to see. Tom’s is nonexistent, he remains gray.

    “Would he even know you’re holding his son?” Tom asks and Fate answers interrupting Naomi who I thought would say something.

    “Doubtful, it’s more like intuition, or instinct, he thinks something is there rather then it really being there, but in this case, she does have his son.”

    “Hate to say it but you may have a point.” Tom answers with a bit of spite.

    Naomi chuckles nervously to their banter, only to add, “it felt creepy.” And I don’t blame her, I think the same thing. Paul has been here every evening since we first saw him. Always sitting at the bench, and smelling of alcohol and cigarettes.

    Everyone is quiet again, we’re close to the courtyard as another flame catches my vision, this one of Scarlet who with a joyous squeal rushes over to us and places all her attention on Ronald. “Mind if I watch him during your practice?”

    Ronald stirs by the commotion, finally awakening and speaks but softly, “Where’s papa?”

    “The pissed off…” I glare in Tom’s direction and his voice cuts out, with a sigh, “no idea kid.”

    “Well why don’t you let aunty Scarlet show you around, maybe we can find him.” My gaze switches to her, and she doesn’t hesitate to have Ronald passed to her, he wanted to, reaching for Scarlet while Naomi let him leave her arms.

    “You’re saying with us.”

    Her voice is dry and cold as she speaks with Scarlet and glares at Naomi. Her steps begin again as with Tom’s and they slowly fade into muffled sounds of grass. Raining earlier today I was not expecting a practice but the Mistress wanted us to meet, and so we are.

    The fresh air and soft ground puts my past uneasiness aside as I feel right at home here, over numerous years I’ve trained in this courtyard with my Tom and my sister.

    “That’s different,” I question my own sight as I see nothing, and by that, I use to see the Mistress as I see Tom currently, a gray figure in this gray world I’m so use to. The Mistress is different, nothing there, she blends in with the dull colors but her cane taps the soft dirt and I since her impatient. We’ve spent too much time talking before getting here, we must hurry. Grabbing Naomi’s arm, we take our positions in line while Scarlet follows closely behind. Her stance changes, the Mistress is leaning on her left leg more, she has her eyes on Scarlet, I can tell because Scarlet’s figure hesitates as she passes her to wait behind us. Yet the Mistress says nothing to her.

    Shifting her footing, she walks forward, then in front of us like a drill Sargent. “Core of today’s training,” Her cane presses into the soft dirt as she passes me, “is to see the Harmony of those who inherited their Instruments. Hope, Naomi. Take your places.”

    Doing as we’re told, Naomi is still but I give her a kind look to not fret. Parting from the line I’m ready before her. Her slowed pace quickens and she stops in front of me. Waiting, the Mistress tells us to Harmonize. Mine is a simple frilly maid outfit with a short skirt dropping to my knees, and two garter belts around my thighs where I draw Yuki from. Mary Jane shoes and white socks which stops mid-calf and a white bonnet to match. I don’t understand my sister’s dislike of our outfits, I think they’re cute.

    Through diving I’ve gotten to see how we look, and the same goes for Naomi in a difference sense. Though Miia I was able to see her Harmony, how ever brief it was, I know hers by heart. A white blouse with brownish corset and yellow plated skirt. Yellow and brown patterned knee high boots with an off colored brown stockings that stop mid-thigh. Lastly a yellow ribbon around her neck and a brown beret atop her head. She’s quick as she ready herself for the Mistress’s next order.

    “Inherited Instruments provide a very unique ability to the wielder. They are inherited by definition, passing on from one generation to the next. That is what you understand. But also, a recollection. Hope and Naomi may not understand this but allow me to elaborating.” She says as if we don’t understand it, but for a long time, I’ve understood just what inherited Harmony was. As if the Mistress knew I already known, she calls me out, “Hope, your movements, your actions, and everything about when you use Yuki…feels familiar. You have never felt lost when using them. You understand what they are capable of?”

    “Yes, Mistress.”

    “And you Naomi,” She starts to ask, her footing changing again, her dominate foot, the right pointing towards Naomi. “Did you feel your mother when you used your instrument against that Husk?” She is slow to respond, as if trying to remember that, that feeling of being one with your soul. The reply is too slow for the Mistress as she adds, “your grandmother?”

    “A third generation?” I question as I feel the Mistress smiling, now sure how as I can’t see her but the mood is that of fun, not dread like usual during our practices.

    “I did…” she answers quietly.

    A cold, and eerie laugh erupts from the Mistress as she points her cane towards us, “I am excited to see this pairing again. Naomi in place of Marisa and Kala. Hope in place of Isabella. When your mothers where here, they were quite a handful, but they loved testing each other...I know I am a cranky old bat, but I enjoyed teaching them as I have you.”

    Literal gasps come from Tom and Fate as I giggle a little myself, she’s not all bad has been my thinking all along and this shines a little light on her friendly side.

    “Right, you may begin!”

    Crouching, readying my hands at my garter belts I display a grin for Naomi, “Let’s have a good fight.”

    “Oh…okay.” It’s a weaker response than I would of wanted but maybe she is nervous as this would be her first real fight with any one of us. If that were the case I’d be able to tell I would think, but as I watch her flaming figure I see nothing but confidence as two pink flames spread from either hand, she’s drawn her instrument. Two rifles take shape before the flames dissipate.

    Closing my eyes as I’m more comfortable fighting without them, trusting my hearing as that’s how I trained myself. Muffled yet still audible, I hear her taking steps to my right, semicircling around me, stopping and placing one of her rifles to my temple. “Beginning slow I see.” I smile, a slight giggle to at my bad joke.

    My movements swift as I bring my arms forward, four Yuki in each hand, side stepping to my left, both of us are in a standoff which I have already taken the lead for she allowed me to move out of her way. Predictable because of her inexperience.

    Her rifle fires as my eyes fly open and watch as she ditches the instrument in her right hand, it fades away and I’m stunned by the suddenness of her shot, I was being way to cocky. With my ears ringing I sidestep her, positioning myself further away and watching as she approaches. Unlike my sisters, Naomi’s aura right now is of joy and fun, even so, I need to watch myself, I didn’t realize those rifles sound real. I hardly know her, yet, how she is acting right now is out of place from what I’m use to. Are Grandma Kala and Aunt Marisa resonating within her instrument as my mother is within Yuki?

    The ringing of my ears prevent me from listing and I’m forced to watch Naomi’s figure. I release my right hand, firing Yuki her way. Metal on metal sounds as I watch them get deflected and vanish to nothingness before hitting the ground. Deflecting them with her rifle I take a few steps back, and now she’s pointing the rifle in her left hand towards my forehead. I’m not making the same mistake again as I jump backwards, tossing my other hand at her, Yuki making contact this time. But with our Harmony the damage is minimal if any. The stronger an attack, the more potential there is to hurt our opponent, and I’ve found that perfect balance.

    Her rifle is tossed aside but she’s lost her footing from my previous attack, falling forward she corrects herself. Her hand touching the moist ground first before she rolls, using her other arm to push herself off the ground so to kneel. At the same time, she spawns her instruments again—seems she only has a single shot with each, that’s good to know. Her arm outstretched, I’m staring down the barrel as my eyes stop ringing. My eyes close as another shot rings out.

    An easy dodge, allowing myself to spin on my heel. But I’m hesitant, opening my eyes, relying on my sight, I toss Yuki her way. In that short amount of time, I didn’t even notice she is no longer where I threw them. Yuki vanishing as I jump further back. “Concentrate,” I tell myself, closing my eyes and listening, the ringing all but dull now, I try to use my ears as best I can. Much like a dog’s sense of smell, my ears are super sensitive. Both my advantage and disadvantage. She knows my handicap…

    Turning my head to my right, she’s next to me, her rifle pointing at my head.

    “Dodge it!” I hear my sister yell. This is a scrimmage, but even in these we’ve been seriously injured before. Fate and I have both got broken bones from being hit by Tom when we were younger.

    I thought I had my hearing back as I serge my momentum, moving easily to dodge, but the ringing in my ears is back as I do a front flip, and bring my hands down, I feel her rifle hitting my shins. Deadlocking it between them, I rip it from her hand, she can’t fire again because it’s a single shot, but I already see her drawing a second rifle in her right.

    Leaping with my hands like an acrobat, I am back on my feet, during which time I tossed the rifle into the air. With that gone, I wait once again, she’s putting up a hell of a fight and it’s annoying that I am so disoriented. I’m not use to this.

    She never does fire the second rifle; instead she comes at me, elbowing me hard in the stomach and sending me sliding back. Stunned, I hear the cocking of her rifle and haphazardly I dodge and stumble to the ground, tripping over my own legs.

    “Hope! What is with you, why are you so out of it?” I hear Tom yell, and it’s surprising, he’s normally concerned with himself.

    The Mistress clears her throat. “I’m not surprised by her being timid towards Naomi, although she’s great; having now met someone who can throw her off her toes is new. She’s overcoming this, she needs to too become stronger and just by fighting you and Fate, she’s so use to you guys it’s not even a scrimmage anymore. This is perfect so stay quiet and both of you, no more helping her.”

    “Focus!” My sister yells as she’s hit by the Mistress cane. And I try to focus...my eyes shut, I note that Naomi is distracted, I pull out Yuki from my garter belts and run as quietly as I can to the opposite side of her while she is paying attention to the Mistresses comments. But with the Mistress done I feel her stances change. She’s noticed that I am gone from where I was. Now behind her I let both hands loose and I go for more knifes. All together I let loose a volley of sixteen knifes her way.

    She raises the rifle at me and shoots, scattering them around her and I drop to the ground, lowering myself so that the bullet flies over head. Naomi’s aim is remarkable, each time she’s been aiming at my face. I can’t hear again but I am getting better at detecting her. Running behind her, she turns to face me and the woods we’ve slowly found our way into.

    “We seem to be tied,” she comments, acting overly confident. She seems to be shy and sheepish but when in the mood, she goes all out…she’s a strange one.

    Making no remark of my own and concentrating I begin throwing volley after volley her way, they vanish a foot out from me, then reappear, making a dome of knives around her. But her stances doesn’t change, she isn’t shaken by them at all…quite the opposite. I’m shaken by the presents I feel, her rifles, they are all around me just as my knives are around her. When did she do that…how did she hide their presents from me?

    My eyes opening I look, yet I can’t detect them, only Naomi who stands before my knifes. Shutting my eyes tight, what sounds like a spring releasing and I hear a gasp from the others, as they have followed us into the woods, not sure where to place them but I even hear the word bayonet escape Tom’s mouth. Striking first I release the hold on my knives around Naomi and she does the same a millisecond later, her rifles fire first then flying where I stood previously as I jump forward, inching myself closer to her only to be tripped by something. Standing, my sister shouts to me, “Concentrate!” I then hear flesh on flesh, she’s been slapped by the Mistress, a very rare punishment.

    Fate is right, I need to concentrate, and I do, with the help of the wind and the time between her last few rifles shots I can hear more or less, and I hear subtle vibrations around me. It doesn’t take me too long to realize just what is happening. Naomi, using the trees, she’s called forth a different instrument that we hadn’t realized that she had. She used the trees to make a spider web and I’m caught in the middle of it. I try to move, understand my situation but Naomi speaks up.

    “The ribbon is wrapped around the triggers of my rifles. Try to move and you’ll be shot.”

    “Finish her,” I hear Tom chuckles.

    The Mistress ignores the comment and advances on us where we stand beneath the foliage from the trees, “You two both did well, but second Instrument is unheard of...” She addresses Naomi a bit stunned as are we all. “That was quite a show, your movements are your own but your handling is like Marisa. And Hope,” she turns on me and I feel the ribbons around me vanish “Looks like she won this match. You did well too for a first time against her. But remember Marisa was one of my best students and she’s her daughter.” Her stance shifts as she walks away, “Tonight’s training is over for you two, go take your position. Fate and Tom, you two are next.”

    Sighing my relief, I’m glad it’s over, but I learned some valuable lessons, I can’t rely on my hearing as I have been. Naomi’s glowing form takes up my sight and her hand reaches out for me, “need a hand?” she asks.
    2,810 Words

    I loved reworking this fight scene, again but yah, took out like 4 extra characters that never were needed. Enjoy the less confusion.

     
  20. Moe

    Moe Fed to the Rancor

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    Part 8: Mary
    In no time at all the match was decided, it was clear from the start that Naomi had the upper hand, continuously assaulting Hope source of sight, her ears. Blasting her instruments so close to her head, the available sound to her was nullified and she stumbled. Isabella never hand that issue, but non the less I was glad by the progress both of them made, and Naomi lasting far longer than I expected against someone far more experienced.

    The two walked back and took their positions while Tom and Fate go forward. “I want to fight Naomi, why do I get Tom?”

    “Same to you, Miss Angry Face,” Tom rebukes as he did not like the comment.

    “Children!” I yell at them, “Acting as you are, while also being disrespectful during their scrimmage is why...no, because Naomi is not as durable as you three are.”

    “Mistress, I feel fine though...” Although she falls quiet as I will not answer her yet, and those other two walk into the open field to begin there spar.

    “You did extremely well.” I tell her with delight but my thoughts are on the next part of tonight’s training, to show her the abilities of her comrades. That first night Naomi only saw a glimpse of Tom’s abilities and she has hardly seen Fate during a scrimmage.

    She is a range fighter, just as Marisa was—and she will be better able to understand how to move if she sees them fight when they are holding nothing back. Soon she can and all of them can train as one…I smile, rare as that may be.

    Taking down a Husk so easily, she truly is her mother’s child. But she is stronger. Her Harmony shows that much, with both the change in her inherited instrument and the new one. She is far stronger than any of my past and present students.

    Now in our positions, I glance up to her from where I stand. I only see Marisa, although weaker by a lot, Marisa proved her valor many times, can her daughter do the same? Her personality is not favorable but there might be something to work with, she has shown that she likes to be in the middle of a fight, she has shown that when threaten she can get the job done.

    “We’re in position, hag.” Tom shouts to me and I cringe. That brat has no respect.

    “Unless you want cores for a month, I suggest you quiet down. Both of you go all out, we want to show Naomi your strengths we want her to understand you.”

    Nodding they take their fighting stances and call upon their instruments and Harmonize. Tom crouching, he brings both arms down and turns his fists upright at his waist. His body brightens and purple shorts cover his lower half while he becomes shirtless to display his muscular build like some primitive ape. I was appalled at his choice to look like that Hulk person on the television but he chose that in spite of me and after our argument over him wearing a tux at which he got Mike to step in and tell me to ‘drop it.’

    My students are spoiled. On the other hand, Fate dawns her gear in the same way—that black maid outfit with white pantyhose so she is faintly differentiating from her twin’s outfit. Her instruments appearing in her hands, she only bends her knees slightly, Cain—the longer of the two katana’s that she wields, in the right and forward most, while Abel—the shorter—in her left is drawn a bit further back. She’s taking a defensive position against Tom, as she should. Tom is a senseless brute.

    My eyes back on Naomi I speak directly, and clearly, wanting her to soak in everything she is about to witness, while at the same time ignoring the coos coming from Scarlet fawning over that damn child. “Naomi, pay close attention, I do not want to waste time with having to show you this again, learn their movements and we will test to see if you are consistent with them in a few days’ time. There are no second chances here, if you are not able to match their movements when I send you out there in practice you will get hurt, you will cry and you will have no one to give you sympathy. This is how I teach my students. Got it?” Pausing and only hearing a whimper from her I add, “I am no longer going to hold back regardless of Mike.” I tell her straining my voice when I look back to Tom and Fate to see they have not started yet. “Begin!”

    Naomi lets out a scream by the suddenness of my two students colliding, frowning I witness their exchange with Fate sidestepping Tom’s blow and Fate’s instruments scraping his blackened arm. Tom may look as if he does not have any instruments, just those gaudy shorts but he is able to be enveloped in his soul which helps protect him. Only parts that his Harmony is covering are protected, this is hard to do without clothing to manifest the soul, to give the soul a kind of insulation, but Tom does well without, he is a natural, only part is concealing it. Either way he has his strengths, as do all my students.

    Giving Naomi a rap on her shin with my cane, she flinches again, “I told you we are not going to waste time with showing you again, watch and do not blink. You hear me?” I tell her forcefully and she nods weakly. “Good. By far, you can see more than any of us. Tell me what just happened. You may have screamed but you were watching.”

    Stumbling on her words, she does manage to say what I was expecting after a bit, “Their movements are fast, Fate, she is able to cut through the air and Tom, his fists are bursting into flames each time he swings,” she points forward at them, and I smile.

    “Do you agree?” I ask Hope who is standing as stiff as a board, just as I told them less they want to be struck in the shins with my cane, Hope is by far the easiest to deal with, her personality is lax, but she knows her place and rarely disobeys, I can count on one hand how many times she has needed to be disciplined.

    She nods.

    The clashing of the Fate’s twin katana’s against Tom’s metal coated arms continues as both their breathing becomes ragged, it has not been more than a few minutes yet that are burning themselves at both ends and that is not how I taught them, to embarrass me so…

    “You told me they have endurance, I do not see that.” She tells me as I am surprised she grasp that by their movements, even with a trained eye, they have flawless form, yet she can tell. Her eyes are just like Marisa’s. Eyes of a true marksman.

    My mind buzzing now with my previous thoughts on what she was able to produce from the fight with Hope I question her. “Those bayonets,”

    “Yes?”

    Calmly, as to not sound angry as I have been a bit peeved, I talk, strict and with an inkling on what I saw, I think I have the answer to why her inherited instruments gained an additional perk. “Marisa was never able to add those or she never knew she could, she thought the rifle was all there was, although there is a different form she was able to give it.” My eyes glance at her and she’s only paying attention to the ever dwindling scrimmage from Tom and Fate. “She gained what would be called a sniper rifle in military terms, a tank buster. Mike explained this to me when he witnessed it. It was a marvelous sight to behold.”

    “Neat,” her enthusiasm is null, her eyes remain on the fight while I continue hoping she is absorbing all I am saying.

    “Your particular personality added those, making that Instrument your own. That is also the Instrument giving you a hint at its name.”

    Ever quiet, she pays attention to the fight, never budging and no signs of if she heard me. I tap her shin and she looks down to me, “what else do you see between them.”

    Her eyes back to the fight immediately as are mine, though, my attention is drawn on their slowing passes.

    Quiet at first, she clears her throat while bringing a fist to her mouth, thinking about what to say, then dropping her hand back to her side, she answers. “I can see their personalities in their fighting, but I guess I could already tell by the short time I have been here and how I have seen them act.”

    “Tom?” I ask.

    “He is rash, and arrogant, his fighting shows that he does not pause to think about his actions, he just does, he has no hesitation.” She tells me and I agree, then she says something a bit unexpected, “But he’s playful, he never takes anything to seriously and that is his strength.”

    Hope giggles at this and I shake my head, shocked by this and also a bit refreshed. “Naomi, I have been training everyone for a long time, but in my own ignorance and growing accustomed to each of them, I missed some of their stronger traits. Thanks.”

    Both Naomi and Hope look a bit stunned, Naomi because she’s only seen a grumpy old lady, and I admit I am, and Hope because she has never seen me nice to my students, mainly because they are all brats never cooperating. I have kind of loss myself with continuing to be the ruthless teacher I am, but with a fresh personality in the mix, maybe I will lighten up—ever so slightly.

    “Let us hear what your prospective of Fate is.”

    She thinks a bit and I look back to the field, their attacks nowhere near the blinding speeds before. Tom landing a heavy blow to Fate’s chest, she’s sent onto her back some feet away. I will stop them after I finish hearing from Naomi. They went all our and will be scolded for such a sham of a fight, even with Naomi retaining what she has seen here. “She is calm and calculated; she concentrates more and uses her strengths and speed when she can, not before.”

    “She playful,” Hope chimes in, asking the question I was going to ask to see if she will add anything more.

    Naomi shakes her head, “She is really focused and will not take no for an answer, I do not think I have said anything you did not already know.”

    Nothing more needs to be said as I both Hope and I agree completely with her assessment of Fate. “Tom, Fate, you may stop. We are finished.” I tell everyone. Both Tom and Fate collapse, resting sprawled out on their backs. Hope runs over to her sister while Naomi blinks a few times, realizing where she is and what she’s been doing, looking perplexed. “You may leave,” I tell her directly.

    “You can’t be serious,” Fate questions from where she lies, now sitting up.

    “That I am, dear,” I hiss at her. That was a pathetic scrimmage.” My eyes deadlocked with Fate who glares right back, but I break the line when Hope begins speaking with her. Tom leaves us, muttering under his breath and knowing in the near future he will have plenty of chores because of this. Some irritated yells come from behind me as I see Naomi who is now following Scarlet around. “And what are you two doing?”

    Naomi answers, “Scarlet, she’s acting funny and won’t let me have Ronald...Scarlet please...”

    “I am not in the mood for this insolence Scarlet, why are you not giving her the child?”

    All eyes fall on me as Scarlet stares me down, Ronald in her arms and she’s clutching him to her breasts as if he were her own child. Ronald does not seem distrust though, as if he is buying into that Scarlet is his own mother.

    “He’s mine…”

    “Scarlet.” She stares at me, her face contorted with rage, “you know it.”

    Her voice is shrilled and I try to give her pity as she speaks, “what do I know? This is my child, why are you taking him away from me.”

    “Scarlet, this is not your child.” Forceful, yet calm, I am trying my best to not make this case worse for either of them. Both being ghost, they no longer have physical bodies to keep their souls whole. Ghost intertwining is not a good thing.

    “What, how can you say that, this is my child, my…” She is not responding at all to reason. The further she deludes herself the more risk the two have becoming one…

    “Scarlet, you do not have a child…”

    Her voice cracking as tears roll down her face, “I do, he’s mine, this is my child!” She’s hysterical, I have to stop this now. For both her and the child’s sake.

    “Rebecca!” Her eyes widen as she stares at me, “You do not have a child!” I let my old accent slip, one of old English, and Scarlet gasps as she stares at me, practically dropping Ronald who Naomi is quick to dash forward and grab. But in that instant, she vanishes, I doubt gone, but off to pout.

    Footsteps come from behind me and Fate stands by my side, “Rebecca and what is that accent.”

    Glaring at her, I only note that she needs to be purified, her eye is...now frowning I remain silent, only pointing to Hope who was walking over to us. “You may leave us.” She does not look hurt or confused by what I asked of her, she just does, leaving us. Naomi, Fate and I are all that are left here, and the boy. “Us three are visiting Erin in the Library. Mike will be there waiting.”

    “Nothing about Scarlet having a different name, yet having Naomi sit in on a purification, great.” Fate says to no one in particular as we all start walking, Naomi trailing behind and Fate in the lead. “I don’t understand you Mistress.”

    “I do not need to be understood, just heard.” I tell her bluntly. “And you to listen.”
    2,418 Words

    Took out all references to Danny, Erin, Eve, and Adam, none of whom needed to be in any of these past few characters and I was too stubborn to take them out in the first place.

     

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