I left my room with the intention of asking pa for an early birthday present – like letting me leave the house unsupervised for one. But my plans were cut short when I noticed pa talking with two people downstairs.
One of them was without a doubt my aunt Erin, exuding a mixture of relief and intense annoyance.
The other looked an awful lot like my dad.
“I’m still seriously pissed off you played the whole distress charade without giving us a warning – BUT, I’ll get over it.” Erin said with a humph. “Here it is.”
I watched as Erin handed a vial of something to pa.
“And you’re sure it’s going to work?” Dad asked.
“Oh yes, I’m sure this potion I’ve made for the first time and spent all night working on is going to work. There’s only one way to know isn’t there?” Erin said. “Drink up Edmund!”
Pa did as he was ordered, and then the three exchanged nervous chuckles as nothing happened. But they seemed satisfied with the results as dad kissed pa.
I couldn’t stop the grin on my face.
This meant what I thought it meant right? Dad was back? And he’d found a cure to make sure pa didn’t die on us?
It was done right? We were four again?
I raced down the stairs to give my dad a hug. “Dad!”
“Nikolas! I heard you’ve been getting into a lot of trouble lately…” Dad said before I could hug him.
I haven’t seen him in weeks and this is what he says. With a smirk and knowing glance at pa which clearly means he completely agrees with all the grounding.
I haven’t seen him in weeks and all he can talk about is how it’s a good thing I’ve been cooped up in here for what seems like ever for stupid reasons because grounding me isn’t doing anything good.
Well you know what?
“Good to see you too dad.” I sarcastically said through my teeth.
I feel like going outside right now. I think I deserve a goddamn break from being grounded.
I rapidly walked past my parents and opened the front door.
“Nikolas where are you going?” Pa asked in a warning tone because what was I doing leaving when dad just came back?
“I’m going to take a walk.” I snapped, closing the front door behind me.
I barely heard my aunt’s comment as the door closed. “Your boy needs to learn some manners. I didn’t even get a hello.”
I was tempted to open the door again and yell hello, but I’d been lucky enough to manage to get through the front door so far. And I didn’t want to see my parents’ faces again. God I was pissed just thinking about it.
I nearly jumped twice.
Once because I hadn’t realized my uncle Alistair was out here smoking. And twice because I nearly stepped on the green monster cat because I had, once again, not seen it.
My uncle Alistair nearly jumped too. He kind of stared at me for a few seconds, before pulling out his box of cigarettes like a bribe. “Want one?” He asked.
“No.” I muttered, sticking my hands in my pockets and speed walking away before one of my fathers decided they had enough of my attitude.
Sure, we talked on the phone. Sure, he told us he’d be home soon. But he’d never told us when exactly. We just had to wait and hope he didn’t decide what was best was to stay away forever.
I missed my dad.
I was happy when I saw him. But he probably didn’t even notice our absence. No, what was important right then was that I was grounded and that he encouraged this.
The highlight of my life right now.
What do you do with troublesome kids? You lock them up. I’m not even a troublesome kid!
But whatever makes them feel better.
Okay, I guess if my kid came back home covered in scrapes and bruises, I would be a little worried. But why won’t they let me learn from my mistakes before extra-punishing me for them?
I’ll probably get grounded for this even more.
It’s just a matter of time before they come get me.
When I say take a walk, it’s usually just go to the cemetery. I’ve always kind of liked this place.
“Hey! Look who it is.” I said to the statue in the middle of the square. “Keep your back to me, whatever that’s fine.”
The Reaper. It’s not quite clear in the mythical literature what he’s supposed to be. But generally people associate him with death, and the recycling of souls and whatnot. And that’s enough for everyone I guess.
I wonder who came up with that idea. I guess there needed to be a mechanism to our deaths?
Don’t tell me he’s real when no one’s ever seen him. It’s just a really convincing story people bought in the day.
So much for it being just a matter of time. It feels like it’s been an hour and no one’s come to tell me how rude I’ve been. I mean, I’m pleased I got away with it. But then again, there’s no getting away with it. Dad could easily pull out his fancy spell and know exactly where I am.
He just doesn’t care enough to come get me? Let him cool off they probably said. And that kind of pisses me off.
Wonder how long they’ll let me stay here before they decide it’s been long enough?
I had just wanted to cool off, but if they’re going to let me stay outside as long as I want I might as well go do something interesting.
Just as a few ideas came to mind, a car pulled up in front of the graveyard.
Scratch that – a limo. A long sleek black limo parked itself at the entrance, and the side door opened slowly letting the only passenger step out.
I could barely see who it was from where I stood, but the outfit and the limo definitely made it seem like someone important and rich.
I tried to see who it was – you don’t get important people around these parts. And on top of that the important people graveyard is on the other side of the bridge.
I guess I could’ve just left. They might actually be coming just to grieve and I didn’t want to be rude.
But there was something in the way the woman walked and held herself – or something I really don’t know, all I knew was that I was a little fascinated. She felt out of place.
I hopped behind the stone brick wall and hid, waiting – and expecting something interesting to happen.
She climbed all the way to my square, where she stopped and stared silenty at the statue of the Reaper. For a moment I thought she’d turn around and leave, but she stayed her ground.
“I’ve come to-” Her voice began strong and commanding, but then she faltered and sighed. “…If you do exist, you’re incredibly rude.”
And then I finally recognized her.
I practically jumped out of my hiding place. “Biker lady?”
Her expression went from serious to pleasantly shocked.
“Oh the little graveyard boy!”
“It’s great to see you again because I have a question.” More specifically, how did you know there was going to be a bank robbery that night?
Her face sobered up and she stared up at something behind me.
I glanced back –thinking it was god forbid my parents – …but there was nothing, jut endless rows of graves and stairs. When I looked at her again, she was slowly glancing between the statue and I.
She stepped towards me cautiously. “How long have you had that?” She asked, her eyes snapping from me to whatever she was seeing behind me. I looked again, but there was nothing.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. What I want to know is how you knew there was going to be a bank robbery that night. At the beginning of summer.” I demanded, slightly put off by her way too cautious attitude.
The only warning I had was a nose twitch on her part.
She surged forwards and grabbed my chin in a violent grip. Her eyes flamed with greed and her face scrunched up into a snarl. “How long have you had it?” The harsh raw intensity rolling off her set the hair on my neck standing.
I reflexively punched her.
She let me go, bringing her hand up to her cheek.
Her head had barely even moved when my fist had collided with her face. Geesus, my knuckles kind of hurt.
“I’m sorry.” I immediately apologized. Hitting women isn’t cool. Even if they’re being scary.
She silently looked down at me, her gaze glancing once more to whatever it was I couldn’t see. “What’s your name?” She asked in a cold stern voice.
“What’s yours?” I countered mockingly. She could’ve at least said sorry too.
“I asked first.” She hissed, her glare burning holes into my skull. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t push this. She’d been less scary when she’d looked like a gangster.
“We seem to be at a crossroads. I need to head home…” I said, backing away slowly.
She reached out and grabbed onto my arm. “What’s your name?” She asked again with a dangerous glint in her eyes.
I resisted the urge to gulp. “Tom.” I replied, shaking my arm free and speedwalking away.
She probably hadn’t believed my line, but at least she had the decency not to ask for my name again.
I headed home, deciding it was high time to face whatever it was my fathers had in store for me.
Still it would be nice to have some sort of idea what I was heading into.
Maybe if I just took a quick sneak peek at what they’re saying… maybe I can lessen whatever punishment they have in mind. Yeah sounds like a plan.
I closed my eyes and felt myself drift off. When I opened them again, the world was black and white.
Well except for the one spot of green in front of me. The one I can’t believe I didn’t see. Again.
I swear the cat smirked when I opened my eyes, as if it was saying oh the foolish boy has fallen into my trap yet again, just as it began to morph into what would no doubt be that freaky green creature.
I didn’t need to be smirked at twice. I opened my eyes back to the present.
The cat came down the stairs to sit at my feet, as if insulted that I’d stopped its fun so early.
“You’re really annoying you know this right?” I grumbled as I bent down. The cat let itself be picked up. “Today is really not the day to mess with me.”
I opened the trash can-
And dropped the cat inside.
It fell in with a delightful squish and surprised meow. I slammed the lid back onto the garbage can before it could jump out.
“Just stay there for now.” I muttered at it as I headed for the front door, knowing full well it would probably get out on its own soon.
And then, I went to face my sentence.
As expected, my fathers were not happy. I guess my whatever attitude didn’t help either.
My pa had originally only wanted to ground me for a week, but I was so eager to jump into trouble that he’d been forced to extend, yet I still didn’t seem to understand. So now that dad was here, they were going to add some extra punishments and see if I get the gist this time.
I was apparently going to be monitored 24/7. Dad wanted me to write essays on common sense. Pa wanted to know what I was doing all the time.
Oh yeah, and they know.
Pa must’ve told dad about his suspicions – in which case dad would then immediately know about the basement. And boy were they pissed I hadn’t told them. I was pestered with questions on how many times I’d gone down there and if I’d touched anything. I said no.
Dad decided to be nice, I guess, and tell me he’d put a spell on the basement door. I would not be able to go down there anymore. And they didn’t trust me enough to not go.
So, of course, one night, I tried to sneak downstairs to water my jellybean. I tested the door which was more locked than the very first time I tried to go down. I tried to see if I could maybe unlock it with my magic, but I clearly wasn’t strong enough. I might have to ask for Tyzel’s magical key again.
When I came back upstairs, dad was waiting in the living room with a disapproving shake of his head.
I was scrubbing the driveway the next morning.
Dad liked to sit me down when he saw I had nothing to do.
And then he wanted me to elaborate on everything. Why did I try to break into the police station? Why did I go to Dealer’s Avenue aone? Why did I keep the basement a secret? Why did I feel the need to do things like run across rooftops?
Sometimes I’d answer truthfully, and dad would go on saying that even though my intentions might be pure I’m going about this all wrong. I should discuss things with someone. I should discuss things with him, to make sure it was the best solution.
Sometimes he’d start saying these weren’t my problems to solve.
Most of those times the conversation turned sour.
At least I tried to see their way. But they just kept repeating the same things over and over again. Don’t do these things alone (because I can’t take care of myself). Warn them of any plans I have to run off (so they can just close the lock on my cage). Think about whether it’s your business to meddle in (because helping others is a big no no).
What a 16th birthday this is going to be.
I’m expecting a ball and chain as gifts.
You might’ve guessed it – Next chapter is dedicated to Niko’s birthday! And by the looks of it, it’s a long one. 😀
and a very fun one