Chapter 8: Old Friends
“Hello little one, what are you doing?”
“Oh, Hi. You were the one talking with daddy right?”
“Yes, he is a good friend of mine. You might not know me but I’m your Godfather. My full name is a little hard to pronounce but you can call me Bix.”
“Nice to meet you Bix. I’m drawing pictures. Do you want to join me?”
“Let me see. Oh, these pictures are quiet interesting. Hmmm, a pocket watch with seven different colored hands, how unique. And this, its looks like a large black tower coming out of a lake, there seems like the reflection is of a completely different tower. Your good at drawing but you have quiet the imagination don’t you.”
“Thanks Bix. Mom just told me that they were strange so I stopped showing them to her. Do you want to see what I am drawing now?”
“Sure little one, hand it to me and I’ll look at it... ...”
“What is it Bix? You look funny. Did I do something wrong in the picture.”
“Oh, there is nothing wrong. I just... It’s nothing. However I think this is the best picture out of all of them. Do you think I could have it?”
“Ok, I’m glad you like it. You can take any of the others if you want too. Mom would just throw them away if I keep them.”
“Well... maybe I should. It would be a waste if they were just thrown away. I’ll give them back to you when you are all grown up, then your mom won’t be able to throw them away. Do you have any other picture that you want me to make sure are safe.”
“Yeah, I have one more that I am hiding from mom. If you promise to keep it safe then I will give it to you.”
“I’ll be sure to keep it safe... ... Is this it? This.. this is... this is it... How? How did you?”
“Is something wrong? Wait, Bix! Where are you going? Come back.... Don’t leave... Bix!”
“Ema! Ema! Wake-up! I’ll miss school if you keep sleeping.” I was startled awake by my mother shaking me awake. I was usually good at waking up at the right time in the morning. I rubbed my eyes and sat up. That dream, I could still remember it though it wasn’t very clear. Was it something I was remembering or just a figment of my imagination. Did I really meet Bix when I child. I strained my mind as I tried to remember the dream, Bix’s face it looked the say but without the patchwork. However that didn’t didn’t tell me if it was a real memory or a imagined one.
I do remember that I used to like to draw when I was a child... but were my drawing really what I remembered in the dream. That would be too improbable because it would have been before the Great Change, wouldn’t it?
What was it in those two pictures, the ones Bix had been surprised at seeing, I couldn’t remember from the dream. As I got up and got dress I tried hard to remember but to no avail. Nothing in my real memory suggested showed that the dream was true. I looked out my window into the raising sun. But there was the dark tower visible from outside my window contrasted by the raising sun. Did my dream have anything to do with the Tower of Nothing’s appearance.
As I grabbed breakfast I asked my mom if she remembered what kind of drawing I made when I was a kind. However she shrugged her shoulders and said that she really didn’t remember, it was a long time ago after all. I supposed that made sense, I didn’t really remember what happened back then either, I was really young at the time. It was only after the Great Change that my memory had become really accurate.
I felt home to find Tina waiting for me outside. That was unusual, I was usually the one waiting for her in the morning. We talked about everyday things I we made our way to Krien’s house. However be both occasionally glanced at the Tower, even if we didn’t speak about it it worried both of us.
I tried telling Tina that Jamel was going to be transferring to out school today but it seemed that she had already found out about it. I guess that is one of the advantages of having a teacher as a mother.
We arrived to Krien’s house to find Jamel almost ready. Krien had already gotten ready and headed to school before us. Jamel on the other hand didn’t seem in very good health. She probably didn’t get much sleep last night, Krien probably kept her up with questions and tests all through the night. Krien didn’t worry about sleep in the same way as most people, she could stay up many days in a row before it finally started to show effects on her.
As we stepped back outside I asked Jamel I question which I thought I already knew the answer to, “You can see it, the Tower?” Jamel only nodded, eventually I managed to find out that she had spotted it only a few minutes after I had left and one of the reasons it she was so tried was that Krien has also pressed her for every detail about the tower. Krien apparently wasn’t able to see the tower but that didn’t stop her from believing it was there or trying to figure out why Jamel could see it and not her.
We managed to arrive at school on time and got Jamel to the teacher’s office to finish up her transfer before heading to class. It seemed Mink wasn’t here today either, I should probably pay her a visit after school to make sure she is alright.
However it was to our surprise when the teacher announced that we were getting a transfer student into our class today. It was unexpected because I had assumed that since Jamel was younger then me and Tina that Krien would be enrolling her in a different class. In fact I could have sworn I remembered seeing that she as in a different class on the transfer notice I had seen Krien give her yesterday.
However my memories and assumptions were correct. The girl who entered the class was definitely wasn’t Jamel. She was taller with pitch black eyes. Her hair and nails were the same color. She was also very beautiful, to beautiful if you ask me like she was a perfectly carved mannequin. What are the chances that there would be two transfers in one day, pretty good once you stop believing in coincidence. I knew without a doubt that this girl transfered here for a reason and she had deliberately found a way to transfer into the same class that I was in.
I was also absolutely certain what she was also able to see the Tower of Nothing. Though as for the why, I didn’t know. I somehow didn’t think that she was one of the Seven Hand, however that might mean that she was one of the people that Bix had spoken about, those who would stop at nothing to prevent me from opening the Tower of Nothing.
“Class this is Etern Void, everyone be nice and give her a warm welcome.” I could only stare, what sort of person calls themselves Etern Void. It was obviously a made up name what that sounded like Eternal Void... Was she trying to be smart or was she just and idiot.
Etern didn’t respond to our teacher’s introduction and instead just began walking toward her chair which was just behind mine. Somehow I didn’t think that was a coincidence either. She stopped just as she was about to pass me, no that isn’t right. It was more like everybody else had stopped. It was like time was paused, was that just the feeling as we looked at each other or had time really stopped.
“Your crime, it will never be forgiven.” Her voice seemed as dark as her eyes.
I didn’t know what crime she was talking about but I responded, “That isn’t very frightening coming from someone with such a ridiculous name.”
It seemed I had hit a nerve because her face twisted in what I thought was anger. However the expression passed and I hear the teacher say, “Is something wrong Ms. Void?”
Etern didn’t respond and instead simply moved to her seat behind me. Throughout the rest of the class I could almost feel her eyes boring into me. It made it very hard to concentrate.
As soon as lunch arrived I quickly left to escape from her and to see how Jamel was doing. I didn’t take me long to find her. It seemed she had become infamous the moment she had entered class. Apparent she introduced herself as “The Monster Jamel” which seemed to catch the attention of the entire class. It had yet to be seen if that was a good thing or a bad thing but at least she wasn’t pretending to be normal.
I wondered how much see was going to tell everyone about what happened but I doubted they would believe everything anymore then my other friends did. Speaking of friends I decided to try and find Quell during lunch. I could probably convince him to come with me to visit Mink after school and that would help cut down my explanation about what happened.
I found Quell in the library as usual. He seems to spend all his free time in the library while at school. He was even eating his lunch in the library. He saw me and motioned me over, pulling out a chair. It was sometimes hard to notice Quell in the library because he almost looked like a book himself. His skin was a papery color and it felt like paper too. His skin was covered in writing and pictures which made him look like he was a book as well. However the writing on him had a habit of changing every so often.
“Hey Quell, have I got a story for you” I pulled out a chair and sat next to him.
“Really well I would love to here it.” Quell looked up and me. He there glanced around, “I don’t see Tina with you, I hope nothing happened to her.” While he expressed real concern I knew he was usually totally oblivious. He probably didn’t even know that me and Tina had been missing from school for two days.
“Yah, she’s fine. Actually I was planning on paying Mink a visit after school because she was missing yesterday and I was hoping you would come along. I wanted to tell her the story too so it would be better if I told you together. I promise that the story won’t disappoint you.” Quell seemed nervous, he was always uncomfortable in unfamiliar places even if it had been someplace he had been numerous times.
Eventually he nodded. “Great” I said, “I’ll meet you after school at the gates.” I stood up and pushed the chair back in. “I’ve got to get going now, lunch is almost over and I still have things to do.”
I exited the library and began heading to the science lab. I wanted to pay a visit to Krien because I had a few questions I wanted to ask. Krien was in the lab and was apparently using the burners to cook something in a beaker. I don’t know how she was able to call something like that lunch, but I guess it was one of the least of her oddities.
“Krien, could I speak with you for a moment. I wanted to ask you about the student Etern who mysteriously transferred into my class today.”
A puff of black smoke came from the beaker as Krien turned to me. She flashed me her creepy smile, “Now that’s an interesting question. Yesterday when I was applying for Jamel’s transfer I heard nothing about it but this morning all the paperwork was completed. It seems the principle did her transfer request personally. However everything about it oozes of secrecy.”
“I see, well keep me notified if you find out anything else.” I left the lab just as Krien’s lunch began billowing black smoke and emitting a noxious oder.
I returned to the class room with just enough time to finish my own lunch before class started again. The rest of class went relatively smoothly despite Etern sitting behind me.
When class ended I grabbed Tina and headed out of class. I stopped by Jamel’s classroom and picked her up before heading out from school. We meet Quell just outside school and began heading toward Mink’s house. She lived a ways from school so it took us a while to reach her house.
Her house was quite large, bigger then mine or Tina’s. Both of Mink’s parents were doctors, so they had a lot of money. Her parents were also the reason that she was able to get such excellent care whenever she was sick, which was quite often.
I knocked on the door. Mink’s parents probably weren’t home because they usually have to stay late at work. However to take care of Mink when she was in bad condition they had hired a servant who acted as Mink’s personal caregiver and her parent’s secretary.
The door creaked open however there did appear to be anyone on the other side. Shin, the servant was always like this. You almost never saw him and he usually operated without anyone ever knowing he was there. I don’t know if he was just secretive or what else.
“Thanks Shin.” I said as I stepped inside. Everybody followed me inside. Jamel was the only person who hadn’t been here before. Quell still looked nervous despite having come here many times in the past. I headed up the stairs to Minks room and knocked on the door.
“Hello, who’s there?” Came a joyful and excited voice from inside. Mink was sick a lot so you was probably lonely. She also loved having visitors so she would probably be happy to see all of us. In fact she enjoyed being with people so much that it wasn’t uncommon for her to go to school even when she wasn’t feeling well, unfortunately this always tended to aggravate her problems.
I flung open the door. The room was white. The walls, floor, ceiling, even the furniture was white. The only thing that broke the effect was the window which let in a rainbow of colors. However through the window marring this sight was a tall pitch black tower. I didn’t feel that this was a coincidence either.
Mink was looking at some papers on her bed when we came in. She set them aside as we entered. Mink fit the rest of the room perfectly. Her skin was pure white, one might think she was an albino but she lacked the characteristic red eyes. Instead her eyes were as white as her skin.
Looking at her now caused me to draw comparisons with Etern who seemed so similar to Mink. While they didn’t look alike and seemed complete opposites, their seemed strangely similar
“Hello Mink, I hope your doing all right. You weren’t at school yesterday so you had a worried.” She smiled at me as I spoke.
Tina butted in and said, “Yes, and I’m sure that she was sick with worry because we missed class for two days.”
Mink smiled a warm smile, it was if she was filling the room with kindness, “Yes, it was unusual having to worry about other people missing when it is usually other people worrying about me. I hope you plan to apologize to me for how much you have worried me.” Mink looked at all of us, “It seems everyone has come to see me.” She noticed Jamel, “Oh and what new friend have you brought with you today.”
I motioned Jamel forward. It seemed that Jamel was uncomfortable. That was understandable because it might seem to Jamel that Mink was a very bright person and Jamel was just a stain on that brightness. I know however that Jamel was wrong in this case. “Mink, this in the monster Jamel. Jamel, this is Mink. I hope you can both get along.”
Mink beamed at Jamel, “Wow, I’ve never had a monster as a friend before. I hope that we will have lots of fun together. Please take care of me.” Jamel seemed to melt in Mink’s warmed. All Jamel could do was nod and respond, “I’ll do my best.”
“Well, since you brought Quell with you I assume that you have an interesting story to tell me about why you missed several days of school.”
“Yet, and quite a interesting story it is too. I brought Tina and Jamel because they both experienced it with me. However before I tell my story I have a question I want to ask you and Quell.”
“Oh ho, I question is is,” Said Mink is a light hearted voice, “Somehow I had a feeling that you would ask us a question. I also think I know what the question is, but I will let you ask it and see if I got it correct.”
Given that I already thought I knew the answer to the question I was about to ask I wasn’t really surprised that she could guess what the question was. I raised my hand and pointed out the window. “That tower, can you see it.” I stated the question as simply as I could.
Mink only continued to smile at me, though she now looked slightly smug. Quell seemed to shiver in nervousness. It seemed I had my answer. I wasn’t surprised that both of them could see the tower. However what I still didn’t know is why so many of the people I knew were wrapped up in everything. I decided to add that to my extending list of questions I wanted answered.
“Well, that makes it easier. My story will make a lot more sense if you can see the tower.” I then began the lengthy process of telling the story about what happened since I left school last week. It was starting to get late when the story was finally over. It had taken longer then I had expected. Tina kept interrupting and adding little useless facts. Jamel on the other-hand told her side of the story, some of which I hadn’t known until she told us.
When it was finally over everyone sat still for a couple minute. Quell seemed to be deep in thought. He usually took a lot of time when thinking something through but he usually and deep insight into things that I would never have thought of.
Mink on the other hand had a strange look on her face. While she was usually joyful she now looked very thoughtful, not a look she usually has. “Ema, do you remember when we first met.”
I didn’t really understand how that was relevant but I answered anyway. “Let’s see... If I recall correctly it was around five years, just after the Great Change.”
“Actually we met before the Great Change. You might not have remembered me because I looked different then. I was sicker then then I am now so I was staying at the hospital that my parents work at. You were there for some reason, I believe that your father had been in an accident and you were coming to visit him.”
I was surprised, however my memories from before the Great Change aren’t as good as those after so it was possible. I tried remembering and only got hazy memories about the accident that father was in, which did confirm that I was in the hospital at around the time she was suggesting.
“You were worried about me when you learned I had been in the hospital for a long time. When you weren’t visiting your father you used to sit on the bed with me and draw pictures for me.” Continued Mink, “I had forgotten most of that myself until recently, however when I first saw that black tower I suddenly remembered. I had Shin search for the pictures that you drew for me back then.”
Mink reached to her bedside table and pulled out the papers she had been looking at when we had first entered her room. “There are the drawing that he found. You should look at them, I think you will be surprised.”
I grabbed the papers, suddenly worried. I was remembering the dream I had this morning. What had a drawn back then when I was a kid and why did it seem so important now. However when I saw the pictures I understood why.