A chapter of sorts, not the first initially.
I'm planning on making a manga of this story, it's mostly all jumbled up in my head but I have the main characters sort out and drawn.
“First mission eh? You nervous kiddo?”
“Why should I be?”
“Hey, stop covering it up already! Just ‘cause you don’t remember anything doesn’t mean you can hide what you feel. Gotta let it out, bottling it up won’t do you any good”
“Maybe you’re right... but right now, I can’t feel anything, not even if I try.”
“Gotta try harder then, ain’t ya?” My partner said with a grin. I nodded and looked away, unable to return his comforting smile. Inside I felt empty. With no memories of emotions like happiness, sadness or anger, I don’t know how to react to situations the way people expect me to, like a normal human.
Anyway, me and Kaleido are on a mission, a simple one Teal said since it’s my first. Now I’m trained I can take on missions like the other Scarred members of our group.
We are called Scarred since we were all born with an ink like marking on our chest; this marking not only makes our bodies weak but eventually it will destroy us, turn us into black sand by the age of sixty. The group have been trying to find a cure for this disease, for years and years they’ve carried out experiments with some successes and some losses. Depending on our own abilities, some guard or carry out duties at the camp, others go on missions to recruit and offer support to others like us or they hunt and attack anyone who tries to halt our progress to find a cure. My uncle, a scientist, came through with a breakthrough a few years ago. He had developed a drug that counters the effects of the disease making the consumer very strong, presently he is researching a way to extend our lifespan.
“Hey, daydreamer snap outta it. We’re here.” Kal said shaking me, his hair with a tint of orange slowly merging with his usual shade of blue hair.
I gazed down at the tiny, peaceful village a little way ahead, here there are rumours that a Scarred man lives here. It’s mine and Kal’s mission to locate him and offer a place in our group. Unfortunately, most rumours turn out to be just rumours according to Jet but it doesn’t hurt trying. The two of us first decided to split up and explore the village, eavesdropping on conversations for clues and checking out anyone that seemed suspicious. After a few hours of no luck Kal suggested that we grab lunch and then try again, we chose a small cafe by the river; well Kal did since he spotted a few attractive, young waitresses working there and insisted we eat there. A lady with long brown hair and a pretty smile came up to our table asking for our order. Kal’s hair immediately turned to a violent shade of purple, interesting I thought.
“Hey Love. I’d like your finest cheese sandwich please. Oh and a cool glass of lemonade please, its sooo hot today” dramatically fanning himself with the napkin and giving her a wink.
To his disappointment the waitress only gave him an odd look and carried on taking orders from other customers.
“Better luck next time.” I said with a small grin. If this is what revenge felt like, I liked it quite a lot.
“Humph.” He said munching into a large cheese sandwich. “Anyway, if we can’t find this guy by evening we might as well head for home, it’s a shame really. We’ve had no new members since you came along and that was months ago.” Frowning at the remains of his sandwich then proceeding to gobble it all up in one big mouthful.
“Don’t blame me if you get indigestion.” I mumbled quoting Jet from last night’s meal.
“Oi! I’ll do as I wish thank you very much. What bother is it to you, or Jetty for that matter, if I get indigestion or not?”
“Hmm, I don’t know. But it’s my first mission so I don’t really want anything to go wrong I guess.”
“Meh, what could go wrong?” Kal answered with a shrug.
After he paid for the meal we headed off to the local farm. Another waitress had tipped us off, after a kiss from Kal, that very few people had met the farmer that works there or his wife. Since we had no other leads we trekked up a steep hill towards the smell of hay and manure. We walked towards an old cottage with a smoking chimney, passing a rusting tractor and a wooden chicken hutch. I ran on ahead and knocked on the front door, Kal moodily shuffled along behind me, apparently mud and chicken feathers didn’t go well with his jacket. A woman with long blonde hair in a ponytail answered the door.
“Hello, what do you want dears?” She asked
“Um hi, we were wondering if we could talk to you and your husband for a moment. If you’re not busy or anything I mean.”
“Sure, I suppose. It’s not anything serious is it?”
“No it’s not, thank you.” She led us into a small kitchen with only a few pieces of simple furniture. An oak table with four chairs, pots and pans hanging off the rafters and an old fashioned stove in the corner. Kal sat down and cleared his throat.
“Now Miss, I’d like to-“
“Excuse me, but please don’t sit on my chair with all that muck on your coat. Clean yourself up young man or get out.” She glowered “And none of this ‘Miss’ business. I’m Coral Farren. But you sonny can call me Mrs. Farren.”
Kal was stunned; I wanted to take a photo to show Jet back home, it would make him sore with laughter.
“Umm, I, err, umm sorry Mrs Farren” He mumbled and stood up making a few feathers fall to the floor.
“That’s better, right I’ll go get Denver, you two wait here” Coral said before trailing over the back door and shutting it with a loud bang. The stunned silence lasted for about 2 seconds before-
“DID YOU SEE HOW SHE SPOKE TO ME?! THAT COW GOT NO DAMN RESPECT! IF I WASN’T THE PASSIVE KIND GENTLEMAN I AM I’D GIVE HER A GOOD PUNCHING SHE’D NEVER FORGET, THE BITCH!”
“You shouldn’t swear Kal.”
“I DON’T GIVE A DAMN; YOU’VE HEARD THE WORDS HUNDREDS OF TIME. HOW OLD ARE YOU SCARLET!?” He yelled, and then suddenly a load wail came from a blue bundle in a basket near the window, obviously scared by Kal’s shouting.
“Oh you’ve gotta be kidding me.” He said in defeat as I wandered over to the basket and lifted the bundle up to my face. A smaller face looked back at me, its big tearful eyes, rosy cheeks and small hands were something I had never seen before. He looked human ‘though, which put more questions into my already confused mind.
“What is it Kal?” I asked peering at the small bundle with curiosity. “Is it a human? Seems a bit small to be a human…” To my surprise he exploded with laughter.
“What! You’re telling me you’ve never seen a baby before!”
“No… what’s a baby?”
“It’s a very young human. That one’s probably only a year old or so. You know how years work and all don’t you?” I nodded “Well you know then that a baby grows up to be a child, then that child grows into a teenager, like you, and then onwards to adulthood then old age that unfortunately you and I are very unlikely to see.”
“So, this is a baby? Was I one once? It seems so small…” I put my hand next to the babies “And I’m so big…”
“Well yeah of course you were! God, didn’t anyone tell you about the birds and the bees? Ah never mind, what’s-her-name’s back” He growled, his hair going red once again. Following Coral was a tall man with a muddy jacket and a flat cap over his short black hair; he gave me and Kal a smile and sat at the table.
“Aw did you wake up from your nap already Finch? Did someone wake you?” Coral said suspiciously looking at Kal, who was trying to look as innocent as possible.
“It’s my fault Coral, I had a little coughing fit and it must have woken him.” I smiled handing her the baby.
“Right then let’s get down to business” Kal interrupted. “I think you may already know why we are here Mr Farren.”
“Yes, the moment I saw the young lady I guessed that we are on the same level. And to confirm it I’ll show you.” He unbuttoned his shirt and revelled a black scar on his chest, perfect and identical to mine, Kal’s and everyone back home.
“I see. Then I hope that what I’m going to explain will be of interest to you. I am Kaleido and this is my friend Scarlet, we are representatives from the organization Scarred.” Kal explained the group’s history, aims and outlooks for the future, Denver’s eyes never leaving his. He didn’t say a work ‘till Kal had finished, he lowered his head and though for a while.
“I can see what you’re saying, I do believe you and if the circumstances were right I’d be away with you right now but…” He looked at his wife and son. “I can’t leave my family and I don’t know what I’d do with the farm, it’s the only income we have and if I’m not working I can’t provide for them.”
“We guessed this would be a problem, but you don’t have to worry. Your family can live with you and you don’t need to worry about work. The location we live in has a small area of farmland that currently is under attended to; you would be paid to work there if we get Teal’s permission.”
Denver nodded and put his hand over his face sighing deeply. “I’ll need to talk with you Coral, please excuse us.” Coral handed me Finch and they left the kitchen.
“Well, that went well.” I said bouncing Finch on my knee.
“Hey, it takes a lot to convince someone to drop everything they have and come live somewhere else. You’re lucky you have family already there and not many other options, making it ideal. I had to wait months till I’d paid off my loans for my flat and quit my job, then again some people have it even worse than me.”
“Hmm” I mused, the baby giggling and reaching out for Kal with his chubby hands. “He wants you to hold him Kal; here you play with him for a bit.”
“No way, keep him away from me. I don’t like babies much all they do is smell and make noise in my opinion” He glared at Finch “Nothing but trouble.”
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him; he’s quite… cute really.”
Ten minutes later Denver and Coral returned with a smile on their faces. They agreed that they’d come with us, Denver would work on the farm and Coral would assist in the kitchen. She wanted Finch to grow up in a friendly environment and with so many people to make fuss of him, she was sure he’d love it too.
“I’ll have to sell this farm but I honestly don’t mind, business is bad in the town. As long as I can bring my chickens I don’t mind at all.” Denver said with a grin, winking at an embarrassed Kal.
With everything sorted, the two of us headed home. The family would be picked up in a week by some guys at Scarred and have time to settle in. The ride home was tiring but to our delight we were back in time for dinner. The main building was alive with gossip, laughter and full stomachs. I left Kal and ran over to my cousin Jet in the food queue.
“Hey. How’d it go then?” He asked
“Yeah fine, no problems.” I smiled
“Hmm, did rainbow head give you any trouble? Bet the idiot tried to hook up again.“
“SHUT YOUR MOUTH JETTY!”
“Oh, speak of the devil.” Jet sighed “Anyway, Scarlet meet me at the oak tree once you’ve finished eating, I need to talk to you in private.”
“Um, yeah sure...” I trailed off as I watched him walk out the building. My growling stomach brought me back down to earth. I hurried over to the nearest table and gobbled my meal. A familiar voice drifted down from above my head.
“Hey kiddo slow down, you’ll get indigestion.“
“Shut up.” I couldn’t care less. With a final gulp I dropped my fork and sprinted outside, spotting a dark figure standing by the looming tree a little way off. This is odd I thought as I walked towards the tree, Jet rarely speaks to me so why would he want to tell me something in secret? I pushed all thoughts out of my mind as I approached him. He gave me a small smile and motioned for me to sit down.
“Here” He said handing me a hot chocolate still boiling hot.
“Thanks” I was grateful, the night sky was beautiful but you could feel the cold edge of the north wind against your skin.
“So, I wanted to ask. Have you... remembered yet? Is anything, anything at all coming back to you?” he asked staring at the sky. I looked up and tried to read his expression but his long fringe covered his eyes. Staring into my hot chocolate I thought about the past few months, were those fuzzy dreams memories or were they something else? They didn’t seem to take shape and they told me nothing of my past, nothing noticeable anyway.
“Nothing at all, you sure?”
“Yeah, I can’t remember anything. I’ve tried to but... nothing’s happened...” I mumbled, unable to look at my cousin. There was a moment’s silence that seemed to last hours until Jet pushed himself away from the tree and turned to me.
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember now, just promise that you’ll tell me straight away when you do. Your memories will come back, I’m sure of it” Another pause, suddenly without warning Jet grunted with annoyance and embraced me, holding me close to his cold chest.
“Just promise me, please, that you’ll tell me as soon as you know. I don’t want anything to happen to you again.” He spoke with anger in his voice. What had caused him to act like this? What did he mean again? Jet let me go and backed away with a low “See you” before turning, his ponytail swinging from side to side as he ran back towards the main building. You may have tried to hide it but I’m sure there were tears in your eyes cousin, just what exactly are you keeping a secret?