Monday, December 31, 2012

Chapter 1.2

Chapter 1.2- Nothing More

                'Elena' moved around quietly the next morning trying not to wake 'Steve'. The house was too drab for her, so she had put the few mementos she had brought along up on the walls. It made her feel much more at home here.
                Steve only woke up when she pulled out some mix and eggs to make waffles. She wasn’t a very accomplished cook and her movements in the kitchen were clumsy.
                “Nope,” Steve said, sitting up along the couch. “No way I’ll get this house clean for you, but I sleep on the bed tonight if I go out and get you hair dye and get a job today.”
                His muscles were protesting from the cramped position he had been holding while trying to stay on the couch all night. He caught sight of her nightclothes and grinned.
                “You didn’t have to dress up just for me, now,” Steve had a great time pulling her chain.
                “I didn’t bring any pajamas, and I need clean clothes. Until I can do laundry this is it,” Elena told him. “And don’t get any ideas. It’s not for you.”

                He stood, ignoring her hackles and continuing to try and work out kinks and cricks.
                “So glad,” Steve said. “So very glad you can cook.”
                Elena didn’t answer. She had just dropped an egg on the floor and wasn’t sure he had heard and was being sarcastic or if he seriously thought she knew how to do anything at all in the kitchen.
                Steve didn’t notice that she hadn’t answered. His eye had fallen on the medal now hanging on the wall.
                “Well, lookee here,” he drawled slowly. “Now that’s a fancy medal! Says for catchin’… “ He stopped.
                Elena stopped also, glancing over her shoulder to see what had caught him short. There weren't any names on anything she had placed out, so it would keep her secret. What else had him coming up short?
“Don’t call me that-“
                “-This says this medal is for catching ghosts,” Steve was incredulous. “Why on earth would you hang a gag item on our wall?”
                “Just so I have something to look at in the house other than you,” Elena answered tartly.

                Steve had headed out soon after breakfast. True to her word Elena had begun cleaning. He thought it might be a great show and almost stayed, but Elena’s barbs had become quite nasty so he went to do her bidding. He had grabbed the first and cheapest box of dye he came across, set it inside the front door of the house (he wasn’t going in there risking Mama Bear again) and set out for the cemetery.
                The cemetery was surrounded by a high fence and gates. For a moment, it had worried him, but looking between the bars what he saw gave him heart. When he entered, he was glad indeed.

                To his relief, the cemetery was cheerful and soothing. There was a gated-in colonnade where a few rather grand looking tombstones stood crumbling in the elements. A few statues and a fountain gave it all a rather rich experience.
                Over the phone, the caretaker had told Steve to find the “older” mausoleum of the two on the grounds and to go inside to apply.

                A moment’s hesitation as he saw that, up close, the statue guarding the edifice was more grim looking than he had realized at first.
                ‘It’s just a statue,’ he told himself. ‘It’s just a statue.’

                The caretaker had a single tooth in his wizened mouth and had a cackle rather than a laugh. His hump deformed his shape and he showed relish when Steve’s native timidity reared its head at the man’s stories of hauntings and poltergeists.
                When he emerged from the dark room, it took several minutes before his eyes adjusted properly.
                Looking at the statue beside him, the old man’s whispers tickled his brain.
                “Look,” he said aloud to the statue. “I promise to not knock you down if you stay right where you are. Got it?” He looked the statue up and down one final time.
                At least the statue had stayed still, for now.
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                Elena had changed her clothes into something she could handle better for now, and had dyed her hair in the bathroom. When all was said and done, she was horrified. She glanced around, hoping Steve wouldn’t come back anytime soon.
                “What a nightmare!” she thought. The color made her look pale at best, and made the angles in her face stand out even more. She had lost too much weight trying to get here safely.

                She turned around as a car drove by the window of the bathroom. She was scared it was Steve coming home, and she wasn’t ready to face him just yet. However, what she did see made her heart skip a beat. A flash of green through the car’s window made her smile. She’d have to track that particular head of hair later. Right now, she wanted to go to the library.

                Elena had been browsing shelves, looking for a particular subject. She could ask the dour librarian speeding up her search, but decided she’d rather find it herself. The quiet solitude of the library was comforting.
                Thinking she might just look it up on one of the computers the library offered, she turned her head and caught her breath, zeroing her gaze back onto the shelf in front of her as quickly as she could.
                A few shelves away stood Drew Lao. He had been placed in charge of the military base here after Sim Nation’s take over. His sister, Tori, was the new police chief. They were people she didn’t want to catch the attention of. She had met Drew before, before she had come here, and was anxious to avoid his detection. He may have highlighted his hair to look like he was sympathetic, but Elena wasn’t about to see if that was true or not.

                Finding the correct subject at last, and selecting an intriguing title Elena sat down facing the fireplace hoping he stayed out of the seating in her area. He didn’t oblige by completely going away, but took a seat where he couldn’t see her face at least.
                Elena did her best to ignore him, skimming through the book, trying to absorb as much information as she possibly could. She needed to know all of this, the military man was secondary right now.

                Several hours later, Elena averted her face, concentrating hard on the flickering flames opposite Colonel Lao as she tried to leave. She had enough information for now from the book and wanted to get back home before Steve got there and destroyed her careful cleaning job.
                When she had made it past Col. Lao without his notice she felt an odd up-serge of emotion. It made her want to cry. It made her nauseous. It was totally unlike her, and she hated herself for it. But the tug of her old home called to her in such an emotional state and she decided to go and see the place once again before going back to Steve and the tiny house.

                Elena walked slowly up the crazy paving to the gates. Her heart was heavy and she felt so alone. She had hoped the house would comfort her, feel like an old friend. But it was cold and empty.
                Grabbing a bar in each fist she leaned her forehead against the cool metal and allowed herself to drain of emotion. She looked through the windows, memories rushing back of her time in the house. The more they came back though, the worse she felt. There was very little happy here. And certainly none of it helped her now.
                As she shuffled her feet, her purse fell forward, hitting the bars with an unnaturally loud clang.
                “What did that?” she muttered.
                Opening her purse, she saw the Hikon camera she had grabbed in her last moments in the house. She had been fooling around with it earlier that day and it was near when they were forced to suddenly leave Pipersville.
                Taking it out she decided to take a photograph of the house as a reminder of what she had gone through to get here. A reminder of what to be strong for. A piece of her past that was real, and wasn’t an act. And she knew what ‘job’ she would take if Steve asked her again.
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                Elena was putting away the dinner of Mac and Cheese she had prepared when ‘Steve’ finally came out of the bedroom. He had needed a nap just to make it to bedtime, and he wanted one where he could rest.
                “And,” Elena began. “You made fun of what I wear to bed? Care to explain your pajama choice?”
                Steve ignored her barb though, staring at her clothes.
                “I thought,” he countered. “That we didn’t have enough money for new clothes, Princess-
                “-Please, don’t call me that-“
                “-And I swear that is not the shade of hair color I brought home,” he finished with a lazy grin.

                To his surprise, ‘Elena’ smiled at him.
                “Aw, come on,” she said. “That other one washed me out horribly. This one is loads better, you have to admit.”
                “I’ll admit nothin’.” Steve’s face had fallen into curiosity. “And that still doesn’t explain the new clothes.”

                “Well,” Elena noticed his displeasure. “You see, nothing was fitting correctly. You know, I lost a lot of weight in the journey here. I just needed something to wear until I can get back into shape again.”
                Steve frowned at her. Something didn’t quite add up, but he wasn’t sure which part of her explanation was truth and which wasn’t. It all seemed to be a jumbled mess.
                Deciding not to mess with it further he turned away from her.

                He couldn’t resist one little jibe, though.
                “And I thought,” he started. “I thought we were saving our money. I think a double dose of hair dye and new clothes would set us back on being able to afford two beds, Princess-“
“-Seriously, don’t-
                “-‘Cause I’m lodging an official complaint against lodging on the couch.” Steve finished.
                “We’ll get the money. We’ll go our separate ways soon enough,” Elena soothed. “The clothes were on the cheap at the consignment store and sorry but the dye was essential. But we’ll get the money to split up soon enough.”

                Elena had turned into the bedroom, bidding him a goodnight. Though she had left the room, she had stayed right with ‘Steve.’ She had followed him as he heated up some leftovers, and had showered in the shared bathroom.
                Catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror he stared at his own hair for a moment.
                ‘Yeah,” he thought. “Yeah, she didn't look too bad with that chestnut mane.”
                He shook his head, angry at himself. He wasn’t honest with her and she wasn’t honest with him. There was no way anything with her would work out in any world. For now, they were stuck together, nothing more.

                His nap before bedtime and another sojourn on the couch had him awake extremely early the next morning. Elena was still asleep, as was the majority of the town. ‘Steve’ didn’t particularly like being outside, but he had dreams of planting a few things eventually and fertilizing them from nature would be ideal. Besides, fresh fried fish was one of his favorites for breakfast. He just hoped Elena was as good a frying them as his own mother had been.
                Taking a spot well hidden by some bulrushes he cast his line, watching the slowly changing sky. When the light finally began to reflect off the black water he spotted the mountains. He glared at them. It had taken him far longer to get through them than he had ever anticipated. Thankfully, he had run into Elena almost as soon as the trees were thick enough to actually hide him.

                At first, they had fought, not wanting to have anything to do with the other. One night, he had stayed up all night, hiking, trying to put distance between them. He had walked straight into a bear. After hours of playing keep away, he had been exhausted and thought he was beat. It was then that Elena caught up to him. Elena had distracted the bear and managed to help him get away. She had in turn hiked through the night a few days later. However, she had turned her foot on a loose stone and he had had to help her along until she could hobble without help. At that point, neither even attempted to get away from the other.
                Slowly, they talked about a few things. Exchanged ‘names’ while each knew the other was lying. They helped each to gather food, make fires. They had discussed money and pooled resources so that they could have a better start. Always, though, the plan was to eventually separate. Now, he wasn’t sure that was what he wanted.

                He wasn’t having much luck, but continued until the sun was high enough to cause the water to fog. Steve wasn’t used to fishing for a big catch. He was used to fishing to clear his brain. He reeled his line in one final time after feeling a tug. The smallest catch he had ever landed awaited him.
                “Minnow,” he said with disgust. He’d use it for bait next time he came out to fish, whenever that would be.
                His stomach rumbled, reminding him that it was time for breakfast and he headed home.
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So a little bit of backstory here. A little. Though there were far more lies than anything else in there. And I know my pictures aren't the best, I've gotten better at them lately though, so a few chapters from now you might be able to tell what you're looking at!


  1. Oooh...interesting. I'm liking the intrigue. Although, I'm wondering if Elena was actually recognized at the library. I hope she doesn't have anyone on her tail.

  2. I quite enjoyed reading about how the two met in the woods. It shall be very interesting to see how it all folds out, and I can't help but wonder... Is 'Elena' showing a baby bump in this chapter? It kind of looked that way but it could also be just the fact that she is wearing a shirt enabled for maternity... I dunno.

  3. Yep. More backstory. More questions answered. More questions created. Hehe

    1. Yeah. lol. It's pretty awful right about here. Honestly. Things pick up. Things... get more random. lol. Eventually, questions are answered! xD

    2. I assumed it'd pick up. :) Things usually start simple. Yay for questions answered!