Entry Date: June 12, 6:05AM
I’d never quite seen anyone like him before. He just sat there, staring out the diner window like some moron who’d just gotten his car stolen. It took me a few minutes to read the text upside down, but I soon figured that he had a student loan application in front of him. The Ekinaude Academy Uniform explained it all. Boy was alone in a cheap diner, looking like he’d just gotten the crap beat out of him (without the bruises). Didn’t take a genius to know he was from that end of the money pool.
A few minutes later, the cheapest, lousiest damn burger I’ve ever seen was sitting in front of him. He doused it in ketchup and took a reluctant bite, careful not to spill onto his oh-so-important loan.
Not so sure what prompted me to go talk to him, but I did.
“Ekinaude Student,” I sniffed across my table.
He peered at me over the set of chairs that separated us, and then gave a little frown. Fricken prick. I tapped my spoon on the table and then continued on, “I’m thinking you’re one of those smart kids. Am I mistaken?”
“What’s it to you?” The boy scoffed.
“Just wonderin’,” I replied imperviously. “I just noticed the loan app, that’s it.”
The offended look touched his face at just about this point, “Would you mind your own business?”
A smile touched my lips as I stood. He watched me with furious but law-abiding eyes as I sat down right across from him. People actually turned to look at us. Not that I cared much what those old ladies were thinking; I gave them the creeps just walking into the place.
Entry Date: June 12, 8:16 AM
The boy was obviously pissed. I watched on, being my normal, curious self, as the punk-boy approached Mr. Ekinaude uniform. Why he was wearing his uniform at near six in the evening I’m unsure, but he looked serious. Besides being pissed, anyway.
“Would you please leave?” groaned uniform-boy.
“Name’s Iverson,” he said smoothly, giving Ekinaude boy a slick smile.
I swallowed, but whether it was out of fear or some sort of perverted admiration, I’m not so sure. This Iverson kid was good-looking. His hair was dark, like a midnight sky kind of dark, I could’ve sworn it even had a bluish tint to it. His clothes might’ve been dark, but they were all designer, real leather and real fur. I shivered just watching him, scrutinizing him with my eyes. What kind of person was he, to just walk up to uniform-boy like that? I would’ve been scared out of my mind…but the kid didn’t look so much frightened as he was…utterly furious.
“No need for introductions, I have no intentions of speaking with you.”
“Oh, but isn’t that what you’re doing now?”
Uniform-boy glared across the table and got right back to his burger, ketchup spilling over onto his thumb. He wiped it briskly onto a paper napkin before glaring at Iverson again.
“So who’re you?” Iverson asked in that same, liquid voice.
The boy glared once again and then motioned for the waitress. It took me several seconds to realize that meant me.
“H-how can I help you, sir?” I stammered.
“Take-out box. Check,” he growled, anger rolling off of him in ferocious waves.
I nodded and scampered off to ring him up.
Entry Date: June 12, 1:05PM
I watched the waitress scurry away, half wanting to punch this Iverson character in the face. I straightened out my Ekinaude uniform and then brushed my long, light brown hair to the side. Who was this guy? What the hell did he want with me? I tapped my fingers against the table, waiting for the waitress to hurry back. I’d eat my burger at home.
“I asked your name.”
I glared at him again, feeling the irritation bubbling up in my chest, as if I was talking to a naïve child, “I’m not giving it.”
“But I want it.”
I snorted, peered at my watch, and then muttered “Jake” just so he would shut the hell up.
The waitress finally returned with the take-out box and I stuffed the rest of my burger into the container, threw a five-dollar bill onto the tray, and then walked out in a huff. The waitress was watching me the entire time. She was either scared…or contemplating whether or not I’d paid for my dinner in its entirety. I glanced through the diner window to find Iverson still sitting at my table, flagging down the waitress for who-knows-what.
It was a long walk to the train station, and another ten-minute ride to the stop in Westfield, and from there I needed to transfer on the Rush Line just to get myself within walking distance of my local train system. The city was talking about a more extensive connected railway system, which really couldn’t have taken that long, but of course all that legal crap took decades. I cursed them the entire way home.
My house was, thankfully, only three blocks down from the railway station. I took the final stretch home at a reasonable pace. The sun’s unwelcome fire no longer beat down against my scalp, and for that I was thankful. Though I doubted I was free of skin cancer, especially after standing in the sun all day just for the damn application loan that was in my pocket. Eventually, I reached my front porch. I gratefully slid out of my shoes and tossed my things onto the bench just beside the doorway.
“Mom,” I called out, my voice intermingling with the shadows. “I’m home.”
I don’t know why I even bothered. I passed by her room, tried the door, found it locked, and then continued on towards the ladder. My room was the attic. We’d gotten just enough money to install a permanent ladder and construct a minute little bathroom in one corner. My bed was a measly twin, jammed against the awkwardly slanting wall, resting between a bookshelf and my desk. Cardboard boxes took up the opposite wall, crammed to the brim with random crap and collectibles. The only consolation besides my books was a wide, double-paneled window that opened on door hinges. I kept a flower box right outside. It seriously reminded me of Snow White or some other old-fashioned Disney movie, and I could almost imagine myself singing to the birds and watering my minute rhododendrons. Almost.
I pushed my window open, first the right side and then the left, careful not to decapitate my flowers. A breeze managed to push its way into my room, bringing with it the odor of gas fumes and rain. It wasn’t a pleasant mixture, but it was better than the mildew smell from beneath my floorboards. It was that mixed with mice.
It was a charming skyline I have to admit, I was never so great with architecture, but one couldn’t help but to appreciate the towering skyscrapers and the winding, spiral towers of city hall. Every building had its own personality, some glittered playfully in the late sunlight while others loomed like guardian obelisks, watching over the city like hound dogs. With the city lights slowly consuming the twilight and the sky flaring into a majestic orange, Lovaki City’s evening scene was beginning to stir. If only I was capable of enjoying it. My life was pretty crappy. My partially-eaten ketchup-drowned burger was awaiting me on my desk. The loan was awaiting completion in my pocket. My mother was relying on me to open the door when her newest…client came in. Everything was waiting for me…but I was just waiting to die.
Artemis smiled as she finished reading the latest installment of Type. Everyone seemed to be doing perfectly fine, picking up on each other’s cues and dragging the story forward. But what she loved the most was Gabriel’s character background; she couldn’t help but to squeal at that last paragraph. Everyone was definitely beginning to paint the introductions of this new world; Lovaki City. She liked the name, for it didn’t remind her of anything real.
She leaned back in her computer chair and opened up the Messenger again. All five of them had a little folder of their own, a little manila-folder icon on the left-hand side that read ‘Type’. Her inbox was undoubtedly overflowing, most of the E-mails asking her about the storyline, what it was about, what made her think about it, and if she had another one; for out of the hundreds who’d received the E-mail, only six had been accepted. She scanned through them all; replying where needed, and slowly by slowly, thinned her inbox down to zero.
Pleasant, mechanical chiming suddenly caught her attention, a small box popping up in the lower-right hand corner of her screen.
Luka has just logged in
She blinked at it, and then sighed as it disappeared with another chime. She turned back to her inbox, where five new messages awaited her. She began to answer the first when a chat box popped onto her screen.
Luka: Hey, Artemis
It startled her so much that she literally jumped. She glanced at her door, out the window, and then turned back to the computer. Her heart was beating abnormally fast. Artemis swallowed, ran her fingers nervously through her hair, and then meekly placed her fingers on the keyboard. But she didn’t get a single letter in, for another, loud jingle startled her out of her thoughts.
Luka: It’s been too long
Taking a deep breath, Artemis started typing before she could get scared out of her wits again.
Artemis: Same here
Luka: How are you?
Artemis: Bored out of my mind…but still breathing
Luka: I guess so
Artemis: How’s Lex?
Luka: Stupid as ever
Artemis: LOL, still don’t get along, I’m guessing?
Luka: Never will for as long as I live! Thought you got that back on the Island.
Artemis: Halfway…all you need is therapy :P
Luka: Very funny
Artemis: I’m sorry
Luka: oh, no. No need, I’m not about to get mad at you. Curse and insult me all you like.
Artemis: Do I sense sarcasm??
Luka: Oh, you know what mean. I haven’t talked to you in so long it ALMOST hurts.
Artemis: oh, HAHA
Luka: Now you’re doing the same thing I was. Cut it out, would you?
Artemis took a deep breath and smiled. Luka was back. She was practically bursting with happiness, knowing that on the other side of those words Luka was probably smirking, typing in his remarks as fast as he could just to beat her WPM. With him talking, it wasn’t so hard to imagine his face (or Lex’s, for that matter), and that trademark smile.
Luka: I miss you, Art
She stared at his words, and then ran her fingers through her hair. Her stomach didn’t feel so stable.
Artemis: You have no idea
Subject: Cold December Memories
Sender: Artemis <Azure_Diamond_Core@hotmail.com>
To: Oliver Payne <OliverPayne3056@hotmail.com>
Date: June 12, 2:46PM
How are you? I’m not sure why I’m writing to you all of a sudden…but I feel I’m obligated to.
Just wanted to ask how you’re doing, what you’re doing, where you are. I hope you’re doing all right with school and everything. I recently got in touch with Luka…made me remember everything, I guess, and I couldn’t help myself. Hope you write me soon! And maybe you can check out the new site…. www.ASTS.type.com
Lots of love…your friend Artemis
Entry Date: June 12, 2:51PM
Unsettle bit at my stomach as I watched a shady man walking up to the house beside mine; the one that belonged to the Aronis family. I’d never talked to them over the entire expanse of my living there. My family had moved into the neighborhood near three years ago, but I’d yet to be bestowed the pleasure of speaking to any of my neighbors. I knew that a boy about my age lived in that house, and he was really smart for all I knew (he had a snazzy uniform). Though every time I saw him, he always looked…hurt, like he was injured. On the inside. One could only wish to give him a hug, tell him it would be okay, even though you hadn’t the slightest knowledge of what was wrong.
Questionable men were always going to his house, and I could only know what they were doing. I cringed and turned back to my desk, scribbling in my notebook. I wasn’t even sure what I was writing, but it helped to smooth out my unease. That man was just as unwelcoming as all the others; a long, black trench coat flapping around his knees and a dark, olive fedora with the brim drawn low. His face was consumed in shadow, a rough line of stubble outlining his chin. By the silhouette I got of his face, he had deep-set eyes and squared jaws set atop a thick neck. He looked a bit Italian, curly black locks poking out from the brim of his hat and curling at his ears and at the nape of his neck. I shivered, watching those huge hands reach out for the doorbell, his lips moving with words I couldn’t hear, and then passing the threshold with those clunky boots that should’ve belonged to army men.
“Kazumi! We’re leaving!” my mother barked into the den, snatching up her knock-off purse and pushing my father out the door. I heard nothing more from her but the deafening slam of our ancient, three-inch-thick front door (the thing could probably withstand a shootout).
I sighed as I heard the rusty motor of our pickup truck pulling out of the driveway, screeching its way down the street. It must’ve been ten blocks away before the brakes were finally inaudible.
So I was alone. I’m not so sure what possessed me to do so, but I glanced out the den’s window and caught a glimpse of rustling drapery; coming from a window on the second floor. I couldn’t really see the window from where I was, only the outermost edges of a window planter and the specter-like ripples of the curtains. I wondered what kind of room that window led to. A bedroom? Was it the mother’s bedroom? Was the man there? Or was it that boy’s? Or was it just an attic, full of junk, where they opened the window only to air it out? But no…that window box held flowers, alive as could be, someone must have been up there often. Then again, I had no hopes of ever finding out, for I’d never expect to be told, and I was much too afraid to ask.
My dinner was so miserable that I half didn’t want to eat it. But…a rumbling stomach couldn’t contest to my distaste. I wolfed down the cold soup and bread as fast as I could, and then with a bitter taste in my mouth, I slunk to my bedroom.
It was here that I would sit for hours on end, staring at the walls, wishing the teachers could perhaps assign me more homework…for it was the only thing I could do. My mother would never let me touch her things…I was always cleaning them the wrong way. Father never allowed me to help him, either, but his work wasn’t pleasant in the first place, sitting on a desk doing the same thing over and over again, and then later on having to get out of your office and get dirty. No phone meant no communication, which had long since chased away the few friends I’d managed to round together. Tears were often upon my cheeks; I strained myself trying to keep them in because tears fallen was water lost, and water meant life, and living meant that I was moving towards something better. But then again…. I looked over at my drawer, then up at the mirror above it. I was pale…so very pale. But I was moving towards something better….
Entry Date: June 12, 4:18PM
I was tired of the thrashing. This man was even more violent than the rest of them…and it made me sick. Quickly as I could, I donned my Ekinaude uniform for jeans, throwing on a long-sleeved white shirt and a black T-shirt over it. I could still hear them downstairs. My stomach churned unsteadily.
I glanced about the room, checking to see if I’d need anything...but just before I was about to leave, my eye caught on a yellowing strip of tape, peeling off the side of one of those cardboard boxes. I’d never quite looked at them before, and I was surprised to be doing so now. The box I’d picked out was labeled ‘Lane’. It dawned on me that they were my father’s things. At this point, all that was running through my head was ‘screw it’, and I pulled it out from the stack. Gently, I opened the flaps to find…a haphazard pile of knick-knacks. I squinted at the random items laid out before me, wondering where they’d all come from.
My hand found the pull-switch for my bedside lamp while the other groped for my backpack. With the new light shining down over my shoulders, I delved into the box and its contents…which I readily dumped onto the floor.
Soon, I found myself staring at a pile of deliciously intriguing crap. Crap that had belonged to my old man; the man my mom called a good-for-nothing traveler who couldn’t keep a job or a correct view of the world. Whatever that meant. I never listened to her, mostly due to the fact that whenever she talked to me, she was usually drunk.
That made this crap intriguing.
Resting right on top was one of those thick coats, like the ones you see in old detective movies. I pulled it from its place and felt the fabric; soft but watertight. I set it to the side and picked up the next set of items, which after a few seconds of observation I took to be cherry bombs. I was a bit more careful with them as soon as I realized that they were explosives. After that, I began to move through the box’s contents faster, wondering what else he could’ve possibly kept. Knives. All kinds of knives, it seemed. I pulled one out and ran it across my dingy floorboards. I twitched to find that they were still sharp. But not everything was particularly dangerous. Just beside the knives was a box of paperclips. And beside that was a deck of trading cards (what from, I couldn’t tell you) and a small, blank notebook. I shuffled through the box, wondering why he’d kept all of it. And even more so, why my mom still had them in the attic.
I thought that I was just about done when my hand brushed over a smooth surface. I blinked, and then looked to see what it was.
It was a box. A flat iron box, done over with emerald paint. There was no lock, and nothing quite distinguishable about it besides the fact that it was…green. I pulled it out and pulled open the cover, which opened surprisingly smoothly on its hinges. The inside was lined in red velvet.
And the inside…gave me an even greater desire to leave the house.
I don’t think I’d seen so much money. Or my mom. Else, it would’ve already been spent at the nearest liquor store. The breath caught in my throat and I quickly clamped the box shut. It was just a bit bigger than two shoeboxes, and filled to the brim with notably large denominations. Where the hell did my old man get all this money? I wiped my brow, damp with a nervous sweat. My hands skimmed over the ground and found my backpack once more. I pulled it towards me.
The thoughts were all scrambled, but I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to leave, and it wouldn’t be with my mother.
But I wouldn’t be alone, either.
Subject: Your thoughts?
Sender: Gabriel <Gabrielzechozauvelist@aol.com>
Date: June 12, 8:40PM
Artemis, I would just like to know…what do you think? Am I pulling the story in the right direction, or did you have something else in mind? I’m not so sure how to get you all incorporated…so I’m going to butt out until somebody else posts. Thanks. I’m going to sleep now….
Entry Date: June 13, 7:17AM
Once upon a time, my father told me, “son, don’t open the damn door for anyone you hear me? Don’t care if it’s a damn girl scout tryin’ to sell you cookies don’t open the damn door!”
I pondered over that for a week. I just couldn’t figure out why; he’d just rampaged into my room in the middle of my tutoring session, started howling his bald head off, and then stormed right back out again, screaming something else. It took me a total of twelve days to eavesdrop enough to figure that there was a hit on him; he’d cheated someone out of money and they were out to get him. Supposedly. Because he never really did anything wrong in the first place and it was all some muttering from someone else in his district. In my opinion, he was too obnoxious and too blind to figure out that nobody gave a damn of what he was doing until he really screwed them over. Which he hadn’t really done yet.
He hadn’t screwed anybody over…except me.
It wasn’t a month until I realized this for myself. My father was relying on me to make him look good, to prove to his lackeys that he was doing a good job not only in his government position but at home too. He was raising a prim and proper teenage boy who was hitting all A’s and had an entourage of distinguished tutors besides going to a wonderful academy. He was raising a ‘very attractive’ boy who would surely marry rich and bring another wealthy girl into the Lox bloodline, and then give him a litter of fine little Lox children and add to the oh-so-distinguished Lox clan. And then later on in life, I could spoil away my studies and sit on my fat, lazy, rich ass and have my maids come in whenever I wanted a ‘pick-me-up’ between working the city schedules and balancing out the company dues and firing people and repossessing things to ‘teach people a lesson’.
Don’t think so.
Two months later, I also figured another meaning to his not-so-well-thought-out fury that was actually quite…well thought out. It was my ‘appointed lover’. Yeah, one of those things. She was from the Ecoillet family, a ‘well respected family of noble stature’…and her name was May. Blonde May, pretty May, popular May, blue-eyed, intelligent, fashionable, ‘loving’ May, who couldn’t keep her damn paws off of me. I hated her. Fabiola Ducross, the girl I’d picked out to get rid of May...wasn’t much better. Neither was Jill or Erika or Mabel, until I finally settled on being single. I wasn’t about to touch another of those girls for as long as I lived. The door to the heart was about to be dead-bolted.
I walked the lonely streets of Lovaki City, my hands in my pockets and my blue-black hair drifting over my eyes like a silk curtain. I was tired of life like this. I wanted something fun, and the sassy rich girls just weren’t fun anymore. And in trying out a few of the not-as-wealthy, I found myself drowning in their shopping sprees. I needed a release and I needed one fast; I needed to find something fun, something dangerous, something outright…
I didn’t complete my thought, but I never really needed to. The Jake kid had just knocked me on my ass. He stared down at me, shot a glance down the street, and then held out a hand to help me up. I obliged, wondering where he was taking things, or why, in hell’s name, fate had brought me back to him. For a minute, I pondered the possibility of him being an entirely different person, after all, he was sporting an overly large coat, a dark brown fedora with the brim drawn low, and a backpack that was just a slight bit too conspicuous.
“Hey, Jake,” I grinned. “What’s the rush?”
Entry Date: June 13, 9:30AM
“My name’s not Jake…” I sighed, “It’s Liam. Liam Aronis. And I need you to help me…despite the fact that I snobbed you. My apologies where they’re due.”
Iverson frowned slightly, and then folded his arms over his chest. I awaited a response, watching him closely. He didn’t seem likely to attack me or anything.
“What help do you need?”
“I’m running away,” I told him bluntly. “And I’m not going alone.”
Iverson looked at me like I was crazy, “you expect me to run off with some crazy-ass kid? Some crazy-ass boy?”
“No younger than you,” I snorted. “You in or not?”
“What, are you leaving now?” Iverson gawked.
I only stood there, and he only watched me.
“I…don’t know,” I replied. “You tell me.”
Entry Date: June 13, 10:53AM
The doorbell was ringing. I blinked, and then stood to go answer it. I glanced out the peek hole, but it was much too dark to see anything. I sighed, and then cracked the door open…only to start screaming. The door was suddenly pushed open and I went flying…until I’d been caught, pulled against my assailant, and had a hand pushed firmly against my mouth.
“Quiet! I’m not going to hurt you, damn it!”
Tears were streaming out of my eyes and my heart beat like a jackhammer against my ribs. He had a distinct smell, a delicious smell, but I wasn’t sure to be afraid of it or to allow it to calm me down. I chose the first on instinct, but didn’t allow myself to squirm; he might’ve been dangerous. That’s when I saw the fedora…and started screaming again.
“I said I’m….!”
Entry Date: June 13 11:23AM
“I’m not going to hurt you! I just need to….!”
Iverson suddenly pushed past me and in a shocking movement, he’d pushed her against the wall and held a dagger against her throat. I nearly screamed out, but having spoken to Iverson on the way there, I knew he wouldn’t have the gall to do anything to her. He might’ve been punk material and carried dangerous toys around (like that one there, which he’d so proudly shown off to me on the walk back to my complex), but he was a rich boy. He knew manners when he needed them. This was such a time…and I could understand his frustration. This chick was like the reincarnation of the Giant’s Harp, ready to scream “Master, Master!” as soon as something suspicious popped up.
“My name’s Iverson Lox…and that there is Mr. Liam Aronis…your neighbor.”
She seemed to calm down a little bit.
“We’re here…well, we were here to ask if you were tired of living like this,” with that said, Iverson pulled the blade away. “Because we’re running away.”
She was utterly shocked; he’d basically just done what I’d done to him. And nobody in their right mind asks someone they don’t know to run away with them. I’m not so sure what had made me propose going to the girl’s house, she was only my neighbor…and I only knew she lived there because she took my train sometimes. Never took much notice to me…but she was cute enough for me to steal a few glances at, as much as I’d like to keep it to myself. She was probably a bit younger than I.
“Why?” She squeaked.
I looked from her to Iverson, and then shrugged.
“Boy’s tired of his ma,” the blue-haired boy chuckled. I still couldn’t figure out his awkward hair color, glowing beautifully with the rays of the street light. “And I…am getting tired of my pa. Hell, don’t know the kid but he seemed crazy enough.”
“Just…annoyed,” I responded gruffly. “You in?”
“But I don’t even know who you are!” She rasped. “You’ve never spoken to me before!”
“Your name’s Kazumi. Kazumi Ayase, and you live in this house,” I nodded towards the door on the far-right of the hallway, “and you sleep in that room. You own a 35-year-old moss-green pickup and your mom is the cashier at the grocery store on 5th….” Just to freak her out, I added, “Register number seven.”
“How do you…?” She was terrified; I’m thinking that she found me a stalker.
“As Iverson already pointed out, my name’s Liam Aronis and I’m your neighbor. Y’know, the one with the prostitute mother?” She cringed, and then looked to the floor. “I live in the attic; keep the window open. And your mom? She likes to talk really loud ‘bout those ‘damn women at cashiers 6 and 8’ and ‘that girl and her corner room’.”
“Eavesdropping much? You freak me out, boy!” Iverson snorted.
“Shut up and let me finish,” I sighed. “But anyway…I know you aren’t happy.”
She raised her eyebrows at me, and I sighed once again, grabbing her arm. She was wearing long sleeves. Again.
Entry Date: June 13, 12:35PM
I started crying as he exposed my forearm. Even in the dim lighting, I could the scars against my creamy, pale-white skin. Every last one of them, never deep enough to truly rupture that vein, never angled quite well enough, but still there all the same. His hands held my arm abruptly in place, right where I could see them, where he could see them, where Iverson could see them. A sob escaped my chest. The razor? I knew where it was at that very moment; at the very back of my middle drawer, tucked inside of my pajamas, the blade clicked all the way in.
“It’s not your fault,” Liam crooned. “There is a way to stop.”
I looked at him skeptically, shaking my head. What the hell did he think he was talking about? Of course it was my fault! I bought the razor, I opened it, and I put it against my skin and began sawing away at my childish arms. Who else could’ve possibly been at fault?
“Your mother never checked, she never stopped you,” Iverson pointed out, as if having read my thoughts. “She never stopped making you feel like you were worthless, that you couldn’t do anything right. So you thought that the only way to relieve some stress, the only way to maybe get some sort of attention would be to go down to the store and buy what everyone in your class already had. Besides drugs, anyway—you’re too good for that…no use actually killing yourself.”
He was correct in thinking that. My tears were relentless, now dripping down onto my blouse, fogging the vision that was my damaged arm. I didn’t want to see it. I didn’t want to see it any worse.
Entry Date: June 13, 12:50PM
She just kept me guessing. She was always just leading me on with her uninformative… vagueness. My head, forever spinning, thoughts sent sprawling just with the picture of her face in my mind. Reliving her words, the cryptic jumbles of promises and honors lost. Tales of the olden days, things I’d never need or have to remember, but those were the only things that really mattered. For some odd reason, they were the only things that mattered. I was the only one who came to visit her anymore…but she would never utter a single thing to me. She was all I had, she was the only one that had ever really given a damn about me. She was the one who’d convinced the charity groups that I was truly worthy of the scholarship to Ekinaude. But that was the last thing she ever did, besides laying in that hospital bed, her brains as worthless as rock soup—and just as likely to disease.
All I had was a school at which I was morally unaccepted; I was all alone in it, save for a few other scholarship boys who did their best to steer clear of me. My life was a mess. My mother didn’t really need me.
I found myself with the class contact sheet in my hand. Liam Aronis; one of the other Ekinaude scholarship boys, was right in my neighborhood. I hoped that he was just as sad and friendless as I was; and hopefully, not as homeless. After getting kicked out of my uncle’s house, I was either in the hospital, sleeping in my mother’s armchair, or out and about Lovaki City, wishing I could grow up, get a job, and get myself in a house again.
Finally, I got myself to the address. But I wasn’t sure what I was doing, and I was a bit too afraid to ring the doorbell.
Artemis nodded at the screen. Everyone had been introduced…except for her. But she was waiting for the correct time to fly herself into the midst of the story. And she wasn’t about to give them an easy way out to introduce her. It might’ve been her story, but she wasn’t about to allow herself an easy in. Her story was going to be intricate; but how to convey it, she would have figure out from their escapades, laying themselves out quite nicely on the world of Type.
Luka has just logged in
She blinked at the little message, and then pondered over speaking to him when...
Luka: Why haven’t you entered the story yet, Artemis?
Artemis: I’m waiting for the right moment.
Artemis sighed, and then got back to her E-mails. Nobody else had really noticed yet…but she couldn’t run away from Luka. He knew her; he knew her in real life. He was awaiting her entry to Lovaki City, and he was probably angry that she was leaving him to fend for himself in the virtual world. It had been she to pull him through in the first place.
Luka: Artemis, you can pop in whenever you like, I mean, it’s not like they’ll be shunning you. I mean, look at Noel, he just randomly threw in his intro…and we’re going to have to compensate, yes, but it makes the story interesting.
Artemis: It’s not that. I just want to make sure I get the right effect. I don’t want to randomly throw myself into the story without a good reason. You know how I am…I need to make the correct entrance. Otherwise…my spotlight will get stolen away by some story twist and the effect is lost. You’ve got to think about these things when you’re doing a collaborative story. Mel had the right idea by cleverly inserting her name into the story, but Noel was kind of throwing himself at the plotline.
Luka: You really think about these things, don’t you?
Artemis: Not so much…I just notice them.
Luka: what about me?
Artemis: you started it.
Luka: I had originally intended for it to be Noel; but when Gabriel started up, it ended up being just as effective. The whole thing was to introduce all of the characters, but I guess Gabe is too important to pass up an intro scene :P
Artemis: I guess??
Luka: You know, Art, I was serious when I said I MISS YOU. I’m getting lonely; and your words have yet to touch our story. Makes me a bit emo.
Artemis: You’ve heard my excuse.
Luka: Yeah. But it still doesn’t help with the missing you thing.
Artemis: Nothing I can do at this moment….
Luka: LOL, yeah. See your point.
Entry Date: June 13, 3:14PM
We were just leaving Kazumi’s house when I spotted a boy standing right outside of the Aronis residence. I nudged Liam, who was at the moment helping the girl to drag a few boxes out of the house and close up. He glanced down the sidewalk and then grinned as soon as he found the long-haired boy standing just outside his front door. Liam was gone in a flash; nearly tackled his visitor to the pavement.
“Quin!” He exclaimed. “You too! You need to come!” Suddenly, he peered around, wary of the fact that he was standing outside of his house, and his mom was something capable of hearing him. “We’re running away, Quin. And…I know you’d be coming as well.”
I half expected this Quin to look at Liam as if he was smoking something (Kazumi and I did, for instance), but all he did was grin. I was just about as shocked as the girl, but those damn boys looked devious as ever. I wondered if they were friends. I thought not; on the way up, he’d told me that he was a loner. But, seeing how they reacted to each other…it seemed they were both loners who suddenly…clicked. Strangely.
It wasn’t a few moments before Liam introduced Quin Desmond to us, one of his fellow scholarship students at Ekinaude.
I’m not too sure why he was so easily taking three of us along with him—and arguably, we were all strangers. Strangers who’d been lassoed together in a sheer stroke of luck; for we’d visited Kazumi on a whim, on his hunt for companions. I had a sinking feeling that so many of us might be…hazardous. Following him up the concrete pathway, I just watched him, wondering what was going on in that smart little head of his….
Before I knew it, we were inside, and he was leading us to the far end of the hall. I could hear some unpleasant noises wafting in through a closed door on my right, a dim light peeking in through the bottom of the door. On my left was a coat hanger, on which Liam hung his olive-colored fedora, over a trench coat that was a bit less well-made than his own. At the very bottom was a pair of heavy workers’ boots. I noticed Kazumi eying them warily, a very faint blush touching her cheeks.
Liam was pulling us down the hall, cautioning us to be silent. Eventually, we came to a ladder, built sturdily into the wall. A rope hung down on the right-hand side of the hatch (I supposed that it could be used as a pulley), and Kazumi used it to pull herself up. I couldn’t help but to watch as she ascended; a very clear view of light pink as her skirt fluttered this way and that with her movements. I chuckled to myself; I was still a perv on the inside. Until this moment, I’d forgotten about Kazumi’s things. Liam and Quin were silently attaching them to the pulley and hoisting them through the tiny hole. I half didn’t want to assist them…but my better half got the best of me.
I dashed up the ladder before Quin could, and found myself standing in a musty, but reasonably large space that was the attic. That same, unnerving sound was coming up through the floorboards. On this note, I guessed that Liam hadn’t been lying about his mother’s…occupation, and his explanation for having to forge his mother’s signature on the student application loan.
All to my right was a wall of cardboard boxes; stacked all the way to the top of the slanting ceiling. One of which was on the floor, open. I glanced inside to find a cache of knives and whatchamajiggers. Made me wonder what else was in the room.
“We’ll leave when my mom’s officially done with work,” Liam whispered, loud enough only for us to hear it. “Until then...”
Kazumi pulled open one of her boxes and tossed something at me. I glanced down at it; a traveler’s backpack. Liam was already pulling one of the boxes down from the gigantic pile, sliding it in my direction.
“Take what you think you’ll need…we don’t have too much time or too much space…so make it fast.”