Chapter 1

Chapter 1

          It was a particularly average day. I woke up the same way, same time, the same curse didn’t brace me today. Since it actually hadn’t happened yet… the day that changed all this forever.

          Had it not have happened though, I fear this story may not have existed. So, I unwillingly drooped out of my soggy (with sweat) bed. The pyro atmosphere was boiling and today was no exception. I emerged from the house. It was a normal home: layered with fine pebble-dashing, glazed windows and a warming roof. None of this was taken for granted. I was lucky, not to be in this dreadful climate but to be in such a refined home. Staring over my home village of Izionarza from the bold hillside where my house rest, I observed what could’ve been. Mud huts as far as the eye can see. Grotty little things and it was ever since the respected professor migrated to the village that I have been residing here.

          Speaking of which, my father craned out of the highest window and called.

          “Son, the professor is making an announcement.” My gazing was an obvious signal that I wasn’t that bothered. “Come on, Aquilo. The whole town’s going to the square to hear his words.” I bent down and felt the dusty rock. Bleak powders that swirled down to the village. A Bedouin sight. I pondered… why am I living luxury when those people struggle? Strong-willed, I didn’t wish to be snobbish. My dad leaned out further. “Plus Charlotte’s going to be there.” That was it. You didn’t need to tell me twice. Charlotte is the name of my lover, she who makes me confident and comfortable and makes my heart swoon. My beloved was waiting. What gentleman would I be if I left my maiden calling?

          Aquilo raced down the ridge, losing his footing many times. He couldn’t pay attention, his legs were numb. He had tasted the words of his lover’s name. Alas, he zoomed on- rock breaking off and pushing his feet off the ground even more. Soon, the gradient increased. Aquilo however, wouldn’t halt for his dear lady. Not now, not ever. Mocking the pathetic slope rather than running down its vertical composition, he braved a leap into the air. He soared for a second then sky dived down by its ever-closing wall. Suspended in the whooshing air particles, Aquilo toned down his surface area in a streamlined nose dive. His joyful screams rocketed down to the village.

          Meanwhile, the village huddled by the square. A declaration by Professor Tyranto was a big deal her; most of the time, the depressed people would mope about their boring business. They hadn’t experienced Aquilo’s spirit to create his own (slightly dangerous) entertainment. Yet, the ragged citizens flocked to hear this speech. Their spirits crushed and shattered, they could only enjoy this. One person among this hobbling crowd was Charlotte. She helplessly shoved through the restless crowd. They shoved and shoved and shoved. She shook and squirmed until she came onto the clear side out of the crowd. Just as it was beginning to uproar. Luckily, Charlotte had also been gifted with a nice house but for what reason?

          Escaping the hordes of tired people, she hustled through the rows of dingy mud huts seeking for something valuable. She approached a powdery hillside and faintly heard a scream. Rotating quickly to check if anyone followed her, she decided a scream was physically impossible. She returned back to the processions from underneath the looming shadows of the shanty houses.

          Back on the podium slunk a middle-aged man with tinged specs, a shiny lab coat and a long scroll. He seemed somewhat nervous this time, an attribute not yet seen by the citizens of Izionarza. Under the red hot sun and colossal purplish clouds of ash he stood. Quaking heavily, he shot a glance at his corporate advisor. A reassuring wink from this shady man pushed Tyranto to unpeel the scroll’s prepared words. Bringing himself to read aloud, Tyranto gazed upon his demanding people who had already been kept waiting long enough. They stared spookily, creating a weird space in which everything suddenly fell silent. Death wormed into their hearts as if they were frozen (slightly freaky in a pyroclastic dome such as this).

          Coughing, the professor reluctantly spoke.

          “I had expected revolutionary work to happen in this place. When I first arrived, I saw a bleak village fighting for survival. I questioned myself, aren’t we all?” The people agreed easily and intently listened. “It is in the greatest disgrace in myself that I admit that I have failed in bettering this place. My inventions were traded and exported rather than sold locally to those I owe a dept to… you, people of Izionarza. You, who willingly invited me here. I should have paid you back by now.” A pause broke out which shocked everyone. The script floated to the ground. “So, to keep my promise I need more time… so I am closing down access to my laboratory until I find an invention that will improve all your lives.” Everyone gasped. “Being in deep grieving means my daughter Pegucy will also be concealing herself from any interaction here.” Professor Tyranto fled the stage shortly after the strange news.

          Stirring, the crowd was in an outrage. A frenzy of questions burst through their minds and voices in harmony. Alone, Charlotte thought: This is rubbish! I think the professor has no faith. He doesn’t realise that he himself has bettered this place. He’s invented many useful things for us. But most of all, Charlotte thought this indignity was just Tyranto’s alibi; to create an invention in secret rather than revealing it to the village. After all of the rabble had parted, the silent girl fell back into the deep dirt. The professor’s shy daughter appeared. She quietly greeted her friend.

          “Hey Pegucy,” Charlotte saluted. Pegucy neared her and slowly sat down. She murmured not, she barely breathed.

          “Do you know why you and Aquilo have been supplied with a greater house than anyone else?” she finally said. A baffled Charlotte shook her head in misunderstanding. “It’s because Aquilo was my childhood friend. I grew closer to him every day. But my love for him was not to be…”

          “What!?” retaliated Charlotte as she sprang to her feet in anger. Bearing down on the innocent girl, she shrieked. “You and Aquilo were in love?” Calmly, Pegucy replied.

          “Never, never would I dream of interrupting your personal relationship. But back then, when I did kind of, you know, like him, I begged with my father to improve his life because I liked him so much. I felt so filthy when I visited his hut whilst I lived in luxury. He would grant my wish but only if you were moved too.” Halting, Charlotte had restraint and sat peacefully. “I know you’re suspicious of my father’s recent outburst but it’s only for the same reason he upgraded your house, it’s because he cares greatly about this village and keeps everyone out of harm… goodbye.” Without another word, she departed.

          Later, Aquilo arrived in a dirty vest on the outskirts of Izionarza. Mount Izio smiled down on the ragged human that had been rolling in the dust a few minutes ago. Within a small glimpse of the empty square, he knew- damn it! I missed the presentation. Seeing no specific reason to linger here like a pubic urchin any longer, he clambered behind him and crawled back into the rocky hills. He wasn’t crawling long until something stopped him. Something that excreted danger and Aquilo was drawn to danger and adventure.

          He slunk over the hills while rock crumbled and rolled to the unsuspecting village. A figure arose… the Professor Tyranto legging it towards his secret lab’s secret location that was secretly hidden in secret but Aquilo had enough access to it… Pegucy had told him years ago. Yet it was happened next that really baffled him. Wide eyes glared at this new-coming traveller… a shifty man in a shrouding blue-stained cloak. A menacingly but cute hood covered his face in imposing darkness.

          As if he was enchanted, Aquilo dashed crazily and flung himself over the barren, bloody lands. On the other hand, the mysterious man lurked, a desperate hound snuffing out his doomed prey. He stalked the peculiar sort intently. The man suddenly flickered round like a flash of flames. Sensing many strange presences watching him. Strolling cautiously over the crag, he hopped down, landing perfectly on the wasted floor. It only took him a second to lash out ferociously. But he had restraint. Continuing, he searched for the secret porthole to the… Rustle!! He felt constricted to speak; he couldn’t blow his weak but expensive cover.

          For only a minute moment, he thought himself safe and alone. In front of him bounded a young chap. He peered upon his malicious figure. A tinted brown waistcoat with extensive purple rings around the buttons. He tightened his buttons further and gazed up. Corporately, he spoke politely… it was Aquilo.

          “Well, who are you to be stalking his high and mightiness, Tyranto the professor?” Reacting in a suspicious way, the man dashed backward, awkwardly stumbling onto a sharp rock. Squealing in pain, he tried to muffle his deep voice. The foolish Aquilo flopped toward the disguised man. The shrouded man like a dark cloak brushed off onto the unforgiving ridge. Not exposing his voice too much, the man begged faithfully (not hinting his true strength).

          Aquilo continued his speech, feeling oh-so clever and heroic.

          “You scare me, you know that? I have no idea why you’re following the professor in the convenient day that he’s made a declaration. Do you need him or something?” Chuckling, the man wallowed around like a pig before impenetrably positioning himself into a strong stance.

          “My legacy exists forever. I’ve been immortalised into the face of crime so now I’m invincible!” he laughed before striking an unbelievable blow with log-like legs sweeping into the young boy and felling him into the shards of dust. Aquilo lay paralysed on the ground. He flinched and twitched in his lifeless arms with small signs. The tables had turned so revolutionarily in such a moment that he was now lying helplessly on the floor. But he, the mysterious man, walked free again, free to resume his rampant romp of rage. Anxiety and anger built up in Aquilo: this guy surely wasn’t right. If he would hammer Aquilo down, he must have something to hide. Plus his looming cloak and scrapped hood concealing him drilled into Aquilo’s mind… Aquilo was now hungry for revenge. If I ever find that guy again- the one who seems suspicious with his repulsive figure and billowing cape- I will spare no expense… in bringing him down; that was his ambition.

          Now that the hulking target had prevailed, Aquilo’s aspiring mind conked out, a machine that flailed into submission; he saw no apparent reason to linger there in the mars-like craters. His defeat purged his skin so you could witness his foul odour. The way his charismatic walk drooped. That man was going to pay. It, however (this dream Aquilo fought so hard for) was impossible for a witty child to transgress. Slumping back to his perched house high above the bustling Izionarza, a disgraced Aquilo paused. Like a parrot, she observed the area. The female Charlotte who embraced Aquilo emotionally.

          “Where have you been, boyfriend? Getting yourself into more danger?” This critical question struck Aquilo. The rest of Charlotte’s feeble questions and statements faded through him. “And you missed the speech… Professor Tyranto announced the immediate closure of his lab today. He’s also taken Pegucy down with him. I can’t bear such a lovely friend to be alone. Let’s go see her. I’m sure she’ll be glad to see us.” Aquilo queried Charlotte’s willing mind.

          “What do you expect to do? Bust in there? There will be guards patrolling everywhere!” His point was important yet understated. It baffled Charlotte. Despite this threat, Charlotte shoved past her lover. The brush alerted Aquilo. She strolled off into the distance, Aquilo watching like a hawk (eagle).

          “Wait!” Aquilo outstretched a comfortable arm. In acceptance, Charlotte smiled and the two walked into the wasteful spirals of chaos.

          Perched onto a small ridge, a shady figure slept. However, he still observed the couple. Had he unfinished business. If it weren’t for the ominous hood of sins, I might’ve told you!      


The End

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