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6:36 PMChapter 5[part 1]: You're joking... right?
Chapter 5: You’re joking… right?
The woman and I managed to move Steven over to the couch, and while it didn’t look that comfortable, it would have to do.
She stared at my brother a moment before straightening back up again, pulling the hood of her cloak over her head. She glanced at me and motioned for me to go towards the front of house. We walked out of the house and onto the porch in silence. It was actually pretty early compared to the time I thought it was. It was early afternoon on a Wednesday, and on checking my phone it was getting close to one o’clock.
I started spacing out after the woman made no move for conversation. As I did, I threw thoughts around in my head. Soon I realized I recognized the woman’s voice from… somewhere.
I turned to face her fully. “Why do you sound familiar?”
Her eyes were lost in the shadow of the hood but her mouth was still visible. She gave a small, secretive grin, one I can only compare to Mona Lisa’s, and turned her face slightly towards me.
“Think about it harder.”
I wanted to yell just then and say that I have been, but I caught a flash of a memory. The smell of smoke. A poem? Confusion. Darkness.
I jumped slightly, being startled at me newest discovery. “You’re that woman that appeared to me before?”
“Now you recognize me, Stephanie. I’ve needed you and your brother here. I’m happy you both came before the deadline came around.”
“You’re welcome, I suppose… What are we needed for?”
I regretted my question the second I saw her face completely. Though still partially hidden in shadows, it was fully turned towards me and she looked me in the eyes. I could almost feel the pain, sadness, regret, and a bit of caring coming from her, even if her face was an unbreakable mask.
“What aren’t you needed for, child?”
- - - - -- - - - - - - - -
Soon, we wandered back in the house. I really want to know what’s upstairs, but since my host – or I’m assuming she’s the “owner” of this house at least – didn’t go upstairs, I didn’t bother. I didn’t want to seem rude.
Even if she kept glancing at me right after I considered the thought and her lips quirked, like she knew. This is going to take a lot to get used to…
After maybe 5 minutes of us simply floating, no pun intended, around the room, Steven woke up. He sat up and held his head. I was about to ask him how he was feeling until I started seeing his shoulders shake, and eventually his whole person was shivering. He took his shaking hands off of his head slowly and stared at them. They started shaking more.
What am I missing here? The woman did her hunched over, shuffling walk towards Steven, but right as she was about to put her hand on his shoulder, he freaked out.
By that I mean he jumped off of the couch and put his (still shaking) hand out as if trying to tell her not to come closer. He circled around the couch, keeping his front to the woman, until he managed to bump into me. Which made him jump and he stared at me wide eyed. I opened my mouth to ask him a question when he tore out of the house. What the hell?
I looked over at the woman, but the hood was completely over her face. “Follow him. Don’t look back, either of you.”
I would have questioned it if I wasn’t so worried for my brother. I tore out of the house after him –
And almost tripped on him sitting with his hands on knees on the steps out front. I sighed in annoyance and hovered over him. He glanced up at me, shaking significantly less, but still shaking. His eyes were wide. Was he frightened of something?
I rolled my eyes and dragged him to his feet by pulling on his arm. “C’mon, we should go home, or to the store since that is what we were supposed to be doing.” He opened his mouth and started turning back until I stopped him. We looked each other dead in the eye. “She said to not turn back.”
He stared at me a moment longer, then turned around and never seemed to think about turning back until we got to the small outlet of stores near our home. By then he stopped shaking, but he still glanced around shiftily, like he was scared of something popping out of nowhere and finding him.
That’s a question I’ll need to remember for later, I guess…
For now, I allowed it to slide, as we grabbed some random supplies we usually grabbed – chocolate, drinks, art supplies I may or may not have been running low on – and paid for them. We got home sooner than we thought, talking very little and mostly sipping on our drinks. We got in the door and looked around. Steven let out a sigh, albeit irritated one. I glanced at him from the corner of my eye and couldn’t hold back a snort. He shot an extremely mild glare at me, and muttered under his breath as he placed the bags on the couch.
I knew exactly why he was irritated too: our brothers had left dishes and other random things around the living room, which Steven cleans daily it seems like. I never really paid attention to the fact that Steven is like a maid for our little family sometimes – and of course, this thought made me snicker out loud, causing Steven to look at me while he was in the middle of picking up dishes. He raised a brow at me, but I had to wave him off or else I would start having a laughing fit. He moved back to the kitchen to place the dishes in the sink, but not without giving me a wary glance first.
I sighed and put my feet on the coffee table and sank back into the couch. I did appreciate how fast Steven can bounce back from things and make it seem as if nothing happened. Although I knew one of us would bring it up later. I spaced out, making out designs on the ceiling when I heard a few glasses clink together. I turned towards the noise to see Steven placing a glass of soda in front of me and drinking from his own. I smiled at him, and when he started to tip his glass back to sip from it, he let out a soft, small laugh and a smile, then took a sip. I swirled the drink around in my glass a bit, hearing the bubbles in the carbonated drink fizz up more, and then put the glass to my mouth, drinking in long gulps, even if the carbonation did burn a bit.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I replied while chugging the last half of my drink. I heard a snicker in reply, and I was expecting a snarky comeback, but he continued to enjoy his drink in peace.
We sat there for a few more minutes, just enjoying the rare quiet in the Smith/Anderson house.
I turned, or rolled my head on the back of the couch, to face his, and he turned sideways to lean on an arm rest and threw an arm over the back of the couch. He stared at me, waiting for me to go first. I shouldn’t have moved first…
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes for a few seconds. When I opened them again, I looked him dead in the eye and asked why he had flipped out earlier.
He just gave me a strange look, and then shook his head slowly. “I don’t know how to explain it, exactly… I mean, it just kind of happened…”
“Just explain what you felt, or what made you actually have a meltdown like that. It would be nice to know, just for future reference.”
“Sounds more like I’m going to be black mailed than it sounds you actually care…” he mumbled, looking away slightly.
“You know what I mean!”
He did a vague calming gesture at me, then took a deep breath in and blew it out. He closed his eyes tight and looked like he was going to break the cup he was holding. I pried the glass from his hand and made him open his eyes by repeatedly poking him in the face.
“Knock it off! Okay… well, last time I was there, I basically hallucinated. Like I swore I saw myself bleeding and that the blood spread across the notebook, and this voice, I don’t know where it came from, in my head I think, but it told me to run. I was having a weird dream… then when I woke up, I was still partially in shock, but that same thing happened again. When I looked up at that woman, I saw her as I first saw her, in a cloak, but she… transformed… It was like watching a person go from a normal human to a zombie in a movie of something. It was like she changed into a Banshee or some other crazy supernatural creature. Then that voice yelled at me to get out again. So… I did.”
I stared at him for a minute. He had looked down during his speech, but glanced up at me through his wild hair. I cocked my head to one side and looked at him.
“Maybe you just need crazy meds.”
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