Back from my trip! 2017 here we are 😀
Warning: TMI and some disturbing/gory themes (only written)
I’m very ashamed to say I didn’t last very long.
You know when you tell yourself you’ll never do this. That there’s nothing that could convince you? And then you find a good reason and tell yourself, ok, but this is the ONLY time?
I’m back in Nikolas’ basement.
At least the beast is gone.
I glanced at the big door on my right. “Why can’t we use the door again?”
“Because my dad put a spell on it. Speaking of, don’t touch it, he might sense that. I swear he senses everything.”
I stared blankly at the door. If his dad made it a point to put a spell on the door…and kept it there even with the monster gone…
Nikolas rubbed his hands together gleefully. “This is great because my parents are out at a friends’ for supper and Niki couldn’t care less about me! Let’s figure this basement out!”
He went straight for the area with the chest (treasure chest?) and I drifted towards the middle of the room, where the plant monster had been. The chest creaked loudly as Nikolas swung it open.
“It’s been gnawing at me…where the hell did you send this thing?” I asked.
“Hey look! A baseball bat! I think it even has dried blood on it…wood can’t get rusty anyhow.” He exclaimed.
“Hey,” I said, finally snapping his attention to me. “Where did you send it?”
“Oh, haha…” He put the bat back down and got up. “Don’t worry, it’s in a really safe place. Somewhere I’m pretty sure NOBODY has gone to or will anytime soon.”
“If that was supposed to be comforting it isn’t.” This is Niko’s judgement after all. His concept of SAFE seems very flawed. “Where is it exactly?”
“Remember the bank that got robbed last summer? We were there? I sent it to the basement, well the area of it I saw anywho. It’ll be safe there, and WE’LL be safe with it there.”
“Did you just put it’s safety before ours?”
Niko bent back down. “The rest of this box is pretty dull. Some blankets? I think? Canned food…ooh and an old notebook…more old note books. There are even more of them in the cupboard. Journals maybe?”
“Are those crystals? In plants? Four of them…they don’t feel like decoration…” I said, touching the plants. A notebook slammed against the back of my head. I shot a glare behind me.
“I bet you all the answers we need are in here.” Nikolas said with a grin, already setting down to read.
Turns out Niko is kind of a bookworm. I couldn’t last very long. After a few phrases I got incredibly bored and went back to examining the objects and opening lights.
This house is a great example of how messed up our world is. At the surface, where everyone can see through the wide clear windows, it’s a happy little family. Bright and…colorful. I glanced at Niko as he bore through the notebooks with wide eyes, mouthing a few of the phrases.
But underneath the floorboards, there’s a basement. A room with a monster, surgical tools that don’t look like they were used for healing purposes, and a bloody baseball bat. All of it locked by a spell cast by what is low key known to be the most powerful witch alive.
As I noticed Niko’s face contort into a worried maybe even horrified frown at whatever terrors the old occupant had documented…my own little need to stay at the surface and leave my tattoos in the basement with all those other unexplained things felt selfish.
My fingers lingered at my chest, where half the puzzle to my powers was inscribed permanently into my skin. I was a natural before my coma. And I turned a blind eye to the horrors the supernaturals were suffering from because they could handle themselves. With their fancy add-ons.
Here I am, trying so desperately to cling to that normality, the surface, when Nikolas here’s been a supernatural his entire life. How does he do it? How does he not lock himself in his room from fear when the news talks about another attack, another school bombed? Another kid jumping to his death? Another family refused a roof over their heads, because they had a weak version of wings attached to their backs?
I clutched my chest, only now realizing how fast my heart was beating. How does he live with this constant terror that you might be the next random victim?
“Uh, you okay? You look like you’re going to be sick. You’re going to have to keep that in, I don’t see a toilet around.” Nikolas said, suddenly at my side, setting a notebook down on the small table.
I swallowed. “I’m absolutely fine.”
There was a slight moment of hesitation where I thought he’d question it, but thankfully he didn’t.
“Ok cool. Wanna hear what I found?” He asked, practically jumping on his toes. “Geesus this guy was a psychopath!”
“That’s inviting.” I muttered.
“Okay, so this guy was a werewolf right,” Nikolas began, sitting down on the surgical table. Oh it’s this kind of story is it. I followed suit. “And also a scientist. He was really interested and concerned over the whole supernaturals going extinct, but being a supernatural in Ridgevalley who at the time was being attacked by a new kind of creature – they call it the ‘Weapon’ for some reason – well anyway it wasn’t very supernatural friendly, more supernatural wary, and nobody wanted to fund a research towards finding what really was causing the whole drop in supernaturals.”
“So he decided to find out on his own, and that was the point of all this – well originally anyway. After the second notebook his goal veered off to something else once he made a peculiar discovery. All of his research was really fruitful, and in one of his notebooks he talks about magic, as in a universal magic that everyone has – even naturals. He describes it as our essence and he goes further to say that for supernaturals part of the magic is usable and that’s how we can use powers or have wings. Now it gets a little weird and spiritual, but he thinks that there’s like a balance in magic, like a yin and yang. And then he says one of those equals necessarily lost ‘weight’, the source of magic he dubs it, and it ended up shifting the whole balance causing supernaturals to lose their usable magic?”
“I don’t follow. At all.”
“I didn’t understand it that well either. His notes weren’t very clear, plus he has no proof whatsoever, he did keep mentioning the creature – the weapon thing on more than one occasion. He wrote about it like it was a big deal discovery. Either way, somehow this led to him concluding that there was no way to save the supernaturals from extinction. This is where it stopped being about the greater good and more about his little self. There was a good half of a notebook about him justifying why he was searching after immortality.”
“You heard me right. He felt cheated. His lifespan was way shorter than the books said a werewolf’s was, and he couldn’t transform at all. So he searched for immortality and he knew it was possible and in more than one way. He only managed to make one work and that’s after he stole – well he says found but it sounds a lot more like he stole it – books. Really really old scientific books of old experiments from the first family who ever experimented – the Hans!” He exclaimed.
“The ones who keep winning science awards?”
“The ones and only. Seems the noble doctors had a dark branch in their family because our werewolf managed to get his hands on a recipe for immortality, the key ingredient being humans and the stove being the beast.” Nikolas finished in a dark voice and wicked grin.
I resisted gulping. “You mean…”
Niko opened the notebook to reveal a sketchy drawing of a plant, with the head of a cow. “It eats, produces milk, and the milk lengthens your lifespan.” He said slapping the book shut. I jumped a bit. “But, your neighborhood psychopath first had to find it. He doesn’t elaborate on it much, but he alludes to a lot of bartering and dealing with colorful shady people who, i quote, ‘are in the end just as selfish and masked as I am. Only they do it better.‘” Niko closed the notebook again. “He got an egg or a seed, I’m not sure, but he planted it and raised a baby cowplant.”
“That’s what he called it?”
“Yup. Very original. He tried giving it a scientific name too, but I decided not to remember that. He describes it as a very picky animal-”
“It didn’t seem very picky when it tried to eat my jacket.”
“The one thing it couldn’t live without was moonlight. Sunlight kills it, darkness kills it and water drowns it. The smart guy found a way to give it eternal moonlight with those crystals. It’s really disgusting what he had to put together to make those, so I’m not going to elaborate. But there you go! A functioning cowplant powered by four moonlight producing crystals! All you need is some meat to get immortality juice. I’ll give this to him at least, he tried with animals first. It did work with animals and he says it was probably because they had magic in them, as with everything. But then he hypothesized that animals were too weak in magic, the milk produced bought him a few days at a time at most. It wasn’t enough for him…so in came the victims.”
“Ugh” I groaned, staring glumly at the empty spot where the cowplant had been.
“He wanted to ration though…so he’d grab himself a passerby, testing ages and gender for maximum production he called it, and he’d cut them into pieces and feed them to the cowplant. The milk went bad quickly, and a leg bought him easily a few years, which made rationing easier. Oh and a question I’m sure you were burning to ask, he used that plant to measure his life.” Nikolas said, gesturing at a plant in the corner.
Some of its leaves were surprisingly still green, while others were crispy and black. Even though some of the leaves were green…it still looked dead. My eyes might have been playing tricks on me, but one of the black leaves looked like it was shaped like a skull.
“He calls it a death plant, another of his discoveries. He’d chew on one of its fruits and spit it in a cup of water. The amount of seconds it took for the entire cup to turn black apparently told him how many years he had left. If he really wanted to get technical he used a big bucket and milisecond timer for months and days.” Nikolas said, carelessly tossing the notebook across the room.
“That’s messed up.” I said. “This whole thing is messed up.”
“Yeah.” Nikolas swung his legs. Once. Twice. He grinned at me. “Want to check how much time you have left to live?”
My mouth twitched. “Fuck yeah.”
No One’s POV
“Oh oh oh! Will you look at that!” Nikolas exclaimed.
“By a milisecond. A milisecond.”
“Looks like I’ll be outliving you!” Nikolas grinned as the black water in their cups began to evaporate.
“Well that’s only normal, I am a year older.” Zac huffed and Niko laughed at him. The two stared with mild surprise as their cups fully evaporated before them.
“Huh.” Niko checked his watch. “Oh we’ve still got a bit of time.” He lightly slapped Zac’s shoulder. “You know what we should do? Test the limits of your powers.”
“You know what we should not do?”
“Come on! I bet you 50$ you haven’t fully tested it out at all. You weren’t even sure you could teleport me, or the cowplant away! What else could you possibly do…” Nikolas said. Zac would lose that bet if he took it.
“It’s not like I’ve had forever. It’s only been over a year since I’ve had this.” Zac tried to defend.
“Oh yeah, they come from your tattoo.” Niko said, switching to knowledge-aquiring mode.
“Tattoos.” Zac corrected. Niko squinted at him. With a sigh Zac pulled off his shirt to elaborate. “I’ve got one on the front and one in the back.”
“You mean they both let you teleport?”
Zac nodded. “Didn’t have any tattoos at all before my coma. And I don’t really have any other powers apart from teleportation. It kind of makes sense to me. Teleporting is going from one point to another…it’s gotta be complicated too, to transport people like that. My front one is probably the start and my back one the end or something.”
“Or maybe one lets you teleport…and the other lets you see into my astral world – or use it as a shortcut?” Niko said, mostly to himself, poking the black tattoo in the form of a dragon. One that looked a lot like the amulet his uncle wore.
Zac surpressed a shiver. “Ok your hand is cold.” He said, stepping back and slipping his shirt back on.
“I can slow down time.” Niko announced staring blankly at Zac’s shirt. “Well in astral mode that is.”
“Is that what you did at the police station? That really fucked with my brain.”
Niko switched to astral mode without any warning. “Here I’ll show you.” He said, looking at his own body.
There was something he wanted to see for himself. Before Zac could protest, Niko grabbed onto his shoulder and willed him to stay like he’d done in the corridor.
Zac’s body once again collapsed to the floor which made him sigh loudly, but Niko focused on himself. He’d watched as his emotionless body had slipped his hand in his back pocket and taken his wand, only to give it a small twirl and cast a spell. Niko wasn’t an expert like his dad, but he could tell the spell was sloppy with a lot of magic uselessly wasted in the casting of.
His lips hadn’t moved though…apparently there hadn’t been a need for an incantation? Plus where had his body learned to cast that spell? Was it just instinct? There was a spell for extracting people’s spirit forms? Niko’s body had some explaining to do.
“I don’t know what you mean by slowing down time. My body fell at normal speed.” Zac commented. He swatted at Niko’s hand, but his bandana friend didn’t move it.
“Last time I let go you went back to your body.” Niko explained. “Now believe it or not, I’m pretty sure I’ve slowed down time.”
“Fascinating.” Zac said, casting a look around the still room.
“There’s just nothing moving right now….oh there’s something else I can do. I can teleport too you know.” Nikolas said with a grin. In a blink the two had transported from the basement to Niko’s living room.
“Ah see! Look at that car there!” Nikolas said, gesturing at the taxi driving at turtle pace past his house. Zac still hadn’t gotten over the fact that he couldn’t see his body anymore. The horrid, probably irrational, fear that by being separated he’d end up going back into a coma again gripped him. He subtly held onto the lower part of Niko’s vest, just to make sure he didn’t let go of him prematurely and somehow sent him hurtling into this unsettling bleak dimension.
“Time travel wooo,” He weakly said.
Niko looked like he’d been slapped with a light bulb. “It’s not time travel per se, but…” Nikolas looked out the window, playing at slowing time or bringing it back to normal speed as cars zoomed past. “I can slow down time…” He said, squinting at the window as he willed time to go even slower. The black car in front responded in kind, slowing down so much it looked like it had stopped. “Maybe I can slow it down to the point where it reverses…” Niko muttered as Zac looked at the car, waiting for it to suddenly start driving backwards. What if indeed?
Nikolas’ eyes shot wide open as he recognized the stationary vehicle – and the people inside it.
“Oh shit, my dad’s home!” Nikolas said, letting go of Zac. Both catapulted back to their bodies. After taking a second to recover from his body’s sudden exhaustion from casting the spell, Niko dragged Zac to his feet.
“Hurry up! Teleport us out before my dad senses us!”
Out of sorts, Zac did as he was told.
The experiments were over for today.