Julien, Callisto, and Alex
Veilstone side-street, Early Evening
Alex's howl died down into a pitiful bout of whimpers. The flesh across the left side of his face lay ripped open in a thick, jagged line running from below his ear to his lips. Blood was spurting across the cobblestone as the boy shook with sobs.
Julien carefully knelt down beside Alex and gently cradled his head. “Shhh....”
he crooned when the boy let out another scream of pain, “It's alright, everything will be okay. Remember me?”
Julien had taken off the scruffy beret, revealing long thin strands of hair as airy and wispy as his voice. It was once a page-boy cut, but had since outgrown the rigid style and fell in a soft fringe just above his shoulders, with faint, wispy bangs that brushed over his eyes. It was an unnatural silvery-grey for such a young man, thin and flyaway as gossamer's thread and shone like spider's silk and silver in the light. Alex's eyes shot open as he recognized his death looking down at him. He desperately clawed away in panic, back across the stony ground, away from the 'abnormal' that had trapped him, but Julien grabbed the boy's chin in his surprisingly vice-like grip.
Callisto suddenly realized the mess she had caused. Her legs wouldn't move fast enough. “Julien!”
They were too far away, she was too slow.
Julien ignored her shouting, not taking his eye off Alex's. “Calm down,”
he whispered peacefully. The boy's heartbeat skipped a measure, beginning to fade. “It's time for you to go.”
Julien watched as the light of the Alex's soul grew dimmer and dimmer, dying out like cold embers. Dead eyes looked up at him as his life winked out of existence. Julien brushed the boy's eyes close. “Rest in peace.”
Julien gently laid Alex's head back on the ground as he stood up, dusting a bit of dirt off his knees. Callisto was standing behind him, staring down at the corpse, eyes wide and hands clamped over her mouth. She watched him calmly take the black handkerchief from his pocket and wipe the cane topper of blood and flesh, dabbing away the red splotches on his fingers like they were spilt cream. She watched as the impossibly deep burgundy of his eyes darken back to their deep, calm brown as he tucked away the handkerchief, giving her a warm, gentle smile.
"Are you alright, Callisto?"
He asked genuinely sweetly. She shuddered. His eyes turned to concern and he stepped closer. "What's wrong?"
she thought, but her thoughts were quickly interrupted by other voices hastily approaching. Flashlights winked around the corner, nearing their hidden path by the forest line.
There was a crunching noise cut short by her scream. Her scream of pain when Julien grabbed her arm much too tightly was also cut short. He anticipated this and clamped a hand over her mouth. “Come on,”
he whispered and sank into the shadows, pulling Callisto along with him.
On another side of Veilstone, Julien and Callisto re-materialized amongst a thick cluster of pine trees. He finally relinquished her arm, letting her fall to her knees whimpering in pain. The bag of coins clattered against the roots, spilling gold all over the ground, unnoticed. Once again, watching her sob in agony, the small bit of human conscience nibbled at the back of his head, sending a tiny prick of pain when he couldn't find that feeling. What was it called again? Pity? No, he could feel that. At least, he thought he could. Sorrow? Empathy? Yes, it must've been empathy. Or was it sympathy? He didn't know. Looking down at her pitiful mewling, all he could feel was the pain. Her pain. It tasted delicious.
He was careful to avert his gaze when she glared back up at him, looking to her shoulder, behind her head, anywhere but her eyes. He didn't want any further accidents. She didn't say a word, only stared up at him with an unreadable glare. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the faint, yellow-white glow dance around her arm as her powers activate. Inwardly he sighed. “Escape route A is now out of the question,”
he thought, while extending a hand to Callisto. “Are you okay? Is your arm better now?”
She ignored his hand, keeping her eyes on the ground as she pushed herself to her feet. Callisto took two steps forward, and slapped his sharply across the face. He collapsed to the ground, a faint purple bruise spreading across his cheek while she waited for the sting to sink in. “How could you?”
she whispered, too ashamed to look at him.
Julien, one hand tenderly over the bruise, pulled himself to his feet using a tree trunk. “I, see your arm has healed-”
she shouted with a less than intimidating tremor, “You, you promised, no, you swore not to...you...how could you...”
her firm, angry rant died off into more pathetic blubbering.
Julien watched her cry with a mixture of interest and curiosity. He wondered for a moment what crying was like and reached out for her hand. She flinched away. “Callisto, I'm sorry this has upset you so,”
she ignored him, “but if I say I'm sorry for what I did, I would be lying. Please, I know it's hard to understand.”
Tearing her hands away from tear-stained eyes, she gave him a glare before grabbing her bag and what coins it still contained and stormed off back to the city. “No, I’m not an idiot. I know why you had to. That's what I hate about it. Go ahead and fill your quota for today. See you back at the hotel whenever.”
Julien made no move to stop her as she stomped back into Veilstone, pausing before stepping into the streets. Dim orange lamp-light pooled on the stones as she marched away beneath the ever-darkening sky. He leaned back into the shade of the pine, where branches and trunks grew thicker and denser, blacking out the last rays of the sun and engulfing him back in his home of shadowy darkness. She was so much more human than he, so mortal, so hard to understand. Then again, so were all the living things he'd met. Also, she was his only friend in the world.
Just as he had made the decision to follow her back to the hotel, a weak, sharp yelp of pain caught his attention and held it captive. He tasted it on it air. Pain, exhaustion, despair. The cane in his hand began to change as he melded into the shadows, invisible as a cloud across the moon, drawn towards the source of pain as helpless as a Dustox caught in lamplight. He approached, a mere shadow upon the tree, beside the battered, furred girl, lying defeated. Waiting for her death.
Mossdeep Space Station, Afternoon
It had been particularly slow in the space station recently, and work in every department had become lax. Mostly everyone was bored. Sitting at the satellite scanner for the whole day, Brent was bored to tears. His comrades on the other screens weren't much help, they were either staring blankly at the screen like him, asleep, or both. The sounds of soft blips and pens tapping against the counter were interrupted only by the squeak of chairs, the occasional visitor or coffee being sipped. Brent leaned back in his chair and spun it around, looking at the other zombies around him.
Every half revolution the chair squealed, and though it was something different, it was obnoxious and earned him several shushes. He slouched and slid downwards until his eyes were level with the screen in front of him. His plain green reflection stared back. His black hair combed back neatly, dark eyes, slight stubble around his chin. “You're getting old here,”
he thought, though he was barely in his mid twenties.
Down the stairs, they could hear some footsteps. Brent didn't need to check his watch. It must've been break time. Recently break time had become the small highlight of his day. During break, coffee was brought up by the assistant and some of the scientists came up for a chat. He didn't care much for the conversation, and hated coffee, but the new assistant was always so nice, he didn't want to refuse a refill.
Brent's face turned rosy at the thought. “Shut up,”
he thought to himself, “just, shut up.”
North Veilstone, Early Evening
Illuminated by the last rays of sun like a sheet of gold, to the north of Veilstone sat the region's weapons manufacturing company and laboratory, a tall imposing building stranded on the highest hill in the city. As the drama in New Mauville unfolded, another young man, possibly only 20, a bit older than Julien, strode confidently through the doors of this building. He wore a black leather jacket over a short-sleeved red shirt, even in the cooling weather, with equally black jeans and shoes, but not the short, thick mop of hair on his head. His hair, by contrast, was a startling pure white, with uneven ragged edges like it had been cut randomly with a dull razor. He was a scruffy, thug-like youth, not unlike many of the other sloppily dressed late teens of the modern age, but an air of malice hung around him. Not something one would expect from the common young punk. Something darker, malevolent, and calculating that buzzed with preternatural intellect.
The receptionist barely noticed, staring aimlessly at a magazine in her boredom. "Sorry sir, but we're not open to visitors-"
the hysterical whimpering from her bidoof convinced her to take a better look at her visitor.
He looked at her briefly without stopping. A pair of dark mirrored sunglasses met her gaze as she stared back at her own face in horror. "I'm not here for a tour,"
the young man said in a deep, strong voice that commanded authority.
The stunned receptionist shot up in her chair once she caught her folly and bowed repeatedly. "I, I'm terribly sorry, sir, it's just, I didn't realize, it's been ages since your last inspection-"
He waved her aside and walked down a side hallway. "Get back to your post."
He said without hiding his annoyance.
She kept her head respectfully lowered and sat back down. "Yes sir, of course, sir."
His footsteps faded out into the depth of the hallway, as she slowly raised her gaze. Taking a tentative glance down after him, she dove for the phone. Punching in the digits, she drummed her fingers against the counter top, continuously glanced back at the hallway. Finally, an answer. “Hello? Yes it's me. Yes, he arrived, shall I activate the...no? Alright, I'll keep it quiet until you get here. No, we don't want any more panic amongst the public,”
her bidoof brushed against her palm. It was shaking as well. “Alright, but please hurry officer.”
She terminated the call and placed the receiver back as silently as possible. Her breath came in short gasps, the silence of the building made all the more ominous by her Master's presence. “Please hurry.”