Story I – Chapter III [Part III]

For all previous parts, go here

Continued from Chapter III [Part II]…

By the time Annie got back to the grounds ten minutes later, Su Ae and Uther were busily chatting away. The scene made her smile. It was the first time she’d seen Su Ae take the initiative and befriend someone or even talk to someone in that wholly frank manner. With the three of them as friends, days would be much more fun, she thought.

Her thought was pretty much the truth-as soon as she had sat beside the two, they’d turned to her and a whole new discussion about after school hobbies started up. While Annie didn’t have much to add to it except for her reading, she enjoyed hearing the other two. And the way the other two chatted away easily assured Annie her thoughts were on the right track.

Her mood was dampened however less than half an hour later when she got a call. She excused herself and moved to the side to answer it, even though she knew it would be a short call-maybe even ten seconds at best. Her guess turned out right-it was her mother, simply telling her she and her father would be out of town for a few days and they left the key at the usual spot. Dial tone. It didn’t even take ten seconds, Annie thought with a bitter smile as she stared at the call log later. Shoulders drooped; she simply stood there, unable to bring a smile to her face.

When Annie simply stood away from them even after she had turned off the phone, her posture was enough to tell Su Ae something wasn’t right. With an apologetic smile at Uther, she got up and went over to her side.

“Is everything okay?” She called out when a few feet away. Annie immediately straightened her shoulders and within moments, turned back to face her. Although she’d plastered a smile on her face, Su Ae could detect the slight reddening of her eyes.

“Yeah, everything’s okay. It was just my mother. My parent’s will be out of town for a few days, so…”

“Oh! Business trips or vacation?”

“Business. They rarely take vacations at all!”Annie replied with a closer to genuine laugh. She clapped her hands together, as if in anticipation, but Su Ae noted the gesture was slightly forced. “This’ll be a fun few days then!”

Su Ae returned her smile. “Let’s make the best of it then! There’s no fun like the fun you have when parents are away! Ah, we definitely have to do sleepovers!”

“Not today! I’ve got to go home and make sure everything’s alright. Plus, leaving the key out beneath the front porch pot isn’t that safe anymore!” Annie winked at her.

“It’s alright; I can stay over at your place today! It’ll be like my night out!” Su Ae didn’t want to let Annie stay alone, at least not for now when she knew her friend was still struggling with something.

“Are you sure? Would Ian be okay with that?”

“I’ll just call him up and let him know. He’ll be happy to be rid of me!” This time, Su Ae winked at her and Annie finally burst out laughing.

When she called Ian and told him about Annie’s parents and how she didn’t feel like leaving her alone, he didn’t protest but rather asked her the exact address of Annie’s home. “I’ll set up a charm, just in case. Better safe than sorry!” he told her. “Is there anything you’ll need? I’ll drop it by whenever you want.”

The afternoon passed uneventfully as Su Ae and Annie went straight to her place after a small detour around the local shopping areas since Annie wanted to buy some painting supplies for herself. Su Ae messaged Ian once when she reached to let him know and then she and Annie spent the afternoon chatting away in Annie’s room after they had finished what little assignments they had to get done and finally gave in to sleep a little after midnight, both exhausted from the long day. Su Ae fell into a deep sleep almost immediately.

What felt like ages later, she was woken by a sudden thirst but there was a long moment’s pause before she actually realized the reason. For several seconds after she opened her eyes, her mind was half numb and uncomprehending. She looked around, rubbing her droopy eyes with the back of her hand even as she took the room in a blur. It took moments to adjust to the darkness and fully grasp her surroundings. Turning, she saw that Annie was fast asleep on her end of the bed. Reaching out to the bedside table, she turned on the lamp and reached for the water bottle but didn’t realize it was empty until she tried pouring water in to the glass and shook her head to try and get the drowsiness out and fully wake up. Annie slowly stirred when she heard the plastic bottle clicking against the glass.

“You okay?” She asked Su Ae, her voice sleepy.

“Yeah, I’m a little thirsty; I’ll just run downstairs for a little water.” Su Ae told her as she got up and turned off the lamp. “I’ll be okay without the light.”

“I thought I’d filled it.” Annie said drowsily before burying her head in her pillow again.

Even as Su Ae walked out, she didn’t notice the quietness.

She refilled her bottle from one in the fridge and had just put the other bottle back when she felt it for the first time-the chill and the quietness. That little awareness was all she needed for her senses to be fully alert. All sleep and drowsiness finally left her. And with that, the feeling of dread increased tenfold. She was alone-away from Ian and there was no way she could hold out for long and nor could she think of any way to get word to him. The chill was what worried her most-it was unlike she’d ever felt and warned her this was probably one of the times she wouldn’t be so safe. Straightening as nonchalantly as possible, she turned back to the counter and picked up the bottle she’d put there. All the while, her eyes scanned the area around her without actually turning her head. There was nothing unusual about it. Bottle in hand, she headed out the kitchen and turned back the way she had come. The first thing she’d do is to locate a phone and call Ian. With that thought, she hurried her footstep slightly. But when she reached the footsteps of the stairs, the flicker of light from a slightly ajar door to a room further down the hall caught her eyes. Watching it seemed to put even more dread in her yet she could not ignore the instinct to approach it and walking down the hall instead of up the stairs, she approached the room without much thought. All the while, she tried to ignore the chill and assure herself everything was alright. It could be nothing; she told herself-Ian had already seen the place, hadn’t he? He’d also left a charm. She repeated the words to herself as she finally reached the half ajar door. Letting out the breath she didn’t even realize she’d held back, she slowly pushed open the door.

“Lawrence!” The words were out of her mouth before she’d even realized it.

Lawrence turned back to look at her with a slight smile and nodded his head at her.

“What are you doing here?” Su Ae asked as she stepped into the room.

For a few moments, Lawrence didn’t reply and Su Ae just stared at him as he seemed to be gathering things. She turned and saw the light was on behind her, just above the door. Inadvertently, she began to take in her surroundings. The room was a library cum study space with large cabinets of books adorning the walls opposite to and on the side of the door. On the further end and by the large window on the perpendicular wall, a huge study desk of rich dark wood color sat. The only remaining wall had been painted the same haunting shade as the desk and was adorned by a single round clock, about to chime three o clock in the morning. Two small settees were in the middle of the room, facing the desk with a small neat coffee table in between them. Lawrence stood in the corner by the writing desk, his hand holding several plain papers and many more scattered around him on the table, some falling to the ground.

“I had a bit of an errand to run.” Lawrence told her as he placed the papers down and moved around to the other side of the desk, opening up a drawer. “You look like you have trouble sleeping.”

“Yeah… No, not really!” She corrected herself after unconsciously blurting out the truth. “I was just thirsty, I guess.” Errand? What kind of errand would bring Lawrence here-her mind seemed to be shouting at her but somehow the warning simply escaped meaning. After all, it was Lawrence, not some other demon! The drowsiness and numbness that had left her before was already engulfing her again. She stepped forward, looking around the room, scanning the layers of books on the cabinets and decided against putting the water bottle down onto the coffee table. She raised a finger and slightly scratched her head as she turned back to look at Lawrence when she heard noises from his end. She still couldn’t feel herself completely aware even as she saw him withdraw a series of pens and pencil colors from the drawer and dump them unceremoniously onto top of the pile of papers on the table. “What are you doing?” There’s no one here, her mind shouted at her again, no one but you and Annie-YOU!

“Sometimes, when you’ve got a little too much to worry about, people say it’s best to let it all out!” He replied as he clapped his hands once as he turned and walked back forward towards her now. “Isn’t that what you’d always do?”

“What do you -?” Su Ae was confused even as she took an inadvertent step backwards but then suddenly found herself firmly rooted to the ground. Her mind was telling her to move back more but somehow, she couldn’t move. She scowled as she tried to hear the meaning behind Lawrence’s words-let what out?

A smile was spreading across Lawrence’s face, even as he stopped two feet away from her and leaned down, peering into her face.

“Sometimes, we have to quicken things up a little bit.” His hand reached forward, two fingers pointing to touch her forehead. “Otherwise, it’s not as much fun. Hiding like this is definitely a no go. It’s time to put things into motion, high time to start the war.”

“What -” Before she could say more, she felt the cold touch of his fingers on her and as soon as she felt them, her body jerked violently as if a current had suddenly passed through her. She had no time to react and the air around her grew quieter as her mind’s voice died down, numbness spreading through her fast now. Amidst the numbness, she felt herself fall backwards. Her eyes were wide open but slowly, her vision was becoming blurry. Her mind registered no pain, only the sound of a thud as her body hit the ground even though she could feel her body jerk at contact with the ground. The bottle, still clutched in her hand rolled away freely, its capping falling away, spilling the contents onto the carpet. A dark shadow moved into her blurred vision and although she somehow registered it was Lawrence, she couldn’t make any sound.

As she lay on the ground, unmoving and paling in color, Lawrence knelt by her side, placing two fingers on her forehead again. At the touch, Su Ae’s body jerked again but there was no sound from her. He closed his eyes, keeping his fingers firm on her forehead as he muttered something under his breath. Finally, moments later as the clock on the wall chimed three o clock, he drew back his fingers and peered into her face. Her eyes were still open but he doubted she could see him well. Still, he raised his hand at her, as if in greeting as he stood up.

“Sweet dreams!” she heard him mutter as the shadow moved out of her vision. Little by little, she could feel what was left of her consciousness completely slipping away from her. No matter how much she tried to tell her mind to react, willed her fingers to move, her eyes to blink, she felt no response. The only sound around her was of water spilling from the bottle in her hand yet at that moment, she had trouble placing it. Her fight to regain control of herself was leading her nowhere. Lawrence was gone in a matter of seconds, Su Ae could tell from the way she unconsciously felt the chill disappear. Yet no matter how much she tried and willed herself, her mind was becoming more and more blank by the minute and by the end, she didn’t even realize the moment she completely lost her consciousness.

Ian woke up with a jolt and was on his feet within moments. He could sense something was wrong but when he closed his eyes and reached out for the charm, it was still there in place and not breached. When he tried to reach out to Su Ae, he felt no response but that wasn’t uncommon-he couldn’t feel her when she slept. And yet he’d felt something-something strong had jolted him out of sleep like that. Picking up the phone, he dialed Su Ae.

Annie was woken by the vibrations of Su Ae’s phone and called out to her friend to answer the phone, turning back in for sleep. But when it kept vibrating with no response, she turned back and saw that Su Are wasn’t back yet. The clocks chimed three o clock. Sighing as she rose, she was up now, Annie reached out for the phone but by then, the call was cut off. Taking it anyway, she got out of bed and headed downstairs, deciding to look for her. When she reached the end of the stairs, she was surprised to see the light running in her father’s study. Taking a few steps, she saw the empty kitchen and turned back to the library, figuring Su Ae might have gone for a read, unable to sleep. Pushing the half ajar door completely open, Annie went in to the library but was stopped short just two steps in. By then, the mobile in her hand started vibrating again. For a few moments, she simply stood there, stunned and shocked.

When Su Ae didn’t pick up, Ian decided he’d simply head out and check things anyway, his sense of urgency taking over and within a few minutes, he was downstairs and out the door. As soon as he walked out the door, he dialed the number again, dreading each bell that went unanswered, silently urging her to pick up. When the bell finally cut midway-someone answered on the other end, he burst out without waiting for a word from the other end, “Su Ae, I’ve been feeling a strange vibe, are you okay?”

The labored and choked breath on the other end was enough to tell him Su Ae hadn’t answered the phone and something was wrong-terribly so, “Annie, is that you?”

“Yes.. it’s me!” Annie was nodding her head vigorously as she answered, clutching the mobile with both hands, staring straight ahead of her, “Su Ae… she… something… Something’s wrong with her! She won’t… she’s…” Annie’s voice broke and she choked back a nervous sob.

When he heard the sound of rustling paper in the background, Ian didn’t wait for her to respond anymore and burst into a run. he knew exactly what was wrong now. “Listen to me, Annie. Stay there! Nothing’s going to happen to you or to her, just stay there. Open the front door and I’ll be right there! Just open the door and then stay with her!” With that, he hung up, picking up pace on his run. Five minutes later, he burst in through her front door-a distance that would take even half an hour by car, sweating and panting for breath.

He spotted the library light across the hall within seconds and was tearing through the door just as Annie turned at the sound of his arrival. She was still standing, slightly trembling just beyond the door. She moved out of the way as he walked in and Ian saw the scene ahead of his eyes, swearing under his breath.

“I walked in and she was like this,” Annie spoke up, her voice trembling but yet somewhat steady, “She won’t respond. No matter how many times I call her. She just keeps doing it.”

Ian looked at Su Ae, his eyes taut with worry now. She sat on the ground before them, oblivious to everything and everyone with blank eyes but a ferocious frown wrinkling her forehead. Clutching pencils and colors together tightly, she was drawing away on papers, scattering them once finished. Already, dozens of drawings lay around them, the paper sometimes smudged and crinkled.

“How did this-?” Ian turned to Annie but was unable to complete his question-his own mind already juggling worry and scenarios, “What happened? How did she-?”

“She was thirsty and said she’d come down for water!” Annie told him, “The bottles were empty although I’m sure I filled them up. But she couldn’t find-”

“Wait!” Ian cut her off, “What did you say?”

“She was thirsty-”

“No no, the bottles! You filled them up but they were empty? Are you sure?”

Annie simply nodded. Ian turned away back to Su Ae with a loud swear. Her eyes weren’t blank anymore and her mouth was turned down at the corners, the creases on her forehead still there, as harsh as before-all signs that cut his heart even more since he felt helpless.

“Something, someone got to her!” Ian whispered to himself, “But how?! How can it be-?!”

“What do we do?” Anni asked him in a quiet voice. “What’s wrong with her?”

“She’s in a trance… and in excruciating pain.” Ian said quietly, slipping to his knees, “And there’s nothing we can do but wait!”

To be continued in Chapter IV! Stay posted! 😉

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About hitomiakiko

Architect and Aspiring Writer

Posted on September 12, 2012, in Entertainment, Potpourri, Stories, Uncategorized, Written Excerpts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m hooked up with your story, please continue asap!!!! I’m in awe of your imagination and writing talent!!!

  1. Pingback: Story I – Chapter IV [Revelations] « Akiko's Morning Coffee !! :]

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