The Stanislaw Family
I gasp for air. My throat is parched: as arid as the Sahara desert. I launch myself from the couch–
–and stop. I am not home. I know this with the intricate understanding of someone who can name the grain in his house. I am looking at a living room in pastel colours, and a brown leather couch, two things that does not exist in my villa. I close my eyes. We were at the Orchard. Partying. Right. We played the game ‘Never Have I’, and then…..
I see the events happening in my head.
Kai starts to make out with Chiyo. And then Pontus starts to make out with Hannah. They disappear for twenty minutes, and when they return, they’re both flushed. By that time I have drank the second beer, and I am on my way to Tipsyville, population fifteen of 1A. I say something about their disappeareance to Nevena, who gives me a look reserved for idiots, and I don’t know why. I drink a third beer which taste like bread, thick and oaty, and we start another beergame.
I feel the need to relieve myself, so execuse myself from the game. I realize that even my pee smells like beer and oat, so when I get out of the toilet, I opt to drink ciders instead. In one of the rooms of the Orchard, a group of 1A’s inebriated supernaturals have gathered. Amanda opens a window and howls to the moon. Kai dances to the beat of an electric tune, and he snaps his fingers in rythm to the melody, causing small explosions, each of a different color. Hannah has gotten rid of Pontus, and is drawing on the walls, without pencils, each drawing leaping of the walls.
I clutch my head, feeling the hangeover hitting me. Hard.
And someone vomited. Did I vomit? No…. Sara vomited. On Shirin’s shoes. And Shirin started to cry.
I thoughtfully massage my chin. It does not however answer how I ended up…. wherever I now am. /You’re in Nevena’s house. She brought you here yesterday…./ Verde sends me a littany of images: the party breaking up somewhere around three, Nevena putting a hand around my shoulder and dragging me the four-five kilometers to her house, and me talking. Except there is something wrong the words. I don’t remember speaking them, and I don’t think it’s the blackout-menace that Greyscale warned me about. There is… a strange quality to the words. Like a character in a videogame, or a puppet moving involuntarily. Only, this is my body we’re talking about.
/It is because I made your body move./ When you say made my body move…? /You were unconscious, and in a vulnerable state. So I controlled your faculties./ Verde, are you telling me that you can control my body?! And since when?!
/I did not even know I could do that til yesterday! It is not as if I had many opportunities to try it. I am as surprised as you are, Rune./ So you can can control my body when…. how? /I do not know exactly. If I were to hazard a guess, and I would say that your lack of consciousness allows me to…. what was the analogue you use… a moving vehicle, yes. With no driver in the car, I can drive./
I try grasp the implications of this. Verde could go Manchurian Candidate on me. He could make me hurt people. Say things. Do things. What would I tell the police? “Hey, a fragment of a soul made me do it?” Arkham would be my next destination.
/Rune, I swear that would never do those things.I swear it by claw,spell, fang and sword.I swear it by the fastened roads and forgotten realm. I swear it by a prince of lies, a wyrm of midnight, a priestess of the temples and a firstborn of the blood. The only reason I did it was because you were senseless./ Alright, alright. It’s just…. I could get with the whole two souls unified in a body, I think. The magic is… a strange and wonderful. But the thought of being a prisoner in my own body…. /I too am a bit disturbed./
I become aware of the fact that I really, really need to pee, while at the same being awfully thirsty. I move through the unfamiliar living room, and out into a corridor. At one end is a door marked by a plaque resembling a toilet. I walk up to it and I am about to open it when Verde screams in my head, too late. /Don’t!/
I open the door, and a girl, no a woman, sitting on the toilet looks up from the newspaper she’s reading. My supernatural reflexes kick in and I slam the door shut. “I am sorry!” I retreat and retrace my steps back to the living room. /Really, Rune, you should uses your sense more. This is getting to be embarassing./ You think!
I scent the air. There are four scents in this house. Nevena’s, and three other scents, each of them approximating hers in ways that makes me thinks they’re related.
I hear a door being opened, and then shut. The woman on the toilet enters the living room. She has the same tanned skin of Nevena, but that’s the only similarity they share. Her brown hair is marron, and the color of her eyes remind of christmas adornaments, a hypnotising red-gold. She is taller than me, than Nevena, and… more endowed. She smells vaguely like asphalt in the rain.
She’s not old enough to be Nevena’s mother, or grandmother Lamia, I reflect, as I unlimber a hand. “You must be the older sister.” “And you must be the infamous Rune Fallowfell.”I pause. “What now?” “Oh, the first Made berserker in centuries. They talk about you, you know.” /Ask her name. Do not be rude. She is the sister of your mate./ Okay, let’s get one thing straight here. She’s the sister of my maybe-girlfriend. Not mate. Eww.
“So older sister…?”
She smiles, and I see the resemblance between her and Nevena. “Simona.” My stomach makes a noise like a whale, and I feel a flush coming on. “Ehrm…” “I shouldn’t be keeping you. You know where the toilet is. Come to the kitchen when you’re done.”
“So where is everyone?” Simona has started making pancakes, American ones and I am sitting in the kitchen, alone. “Everyone?”, she asks without turning around. She’s wearing an apron, and is it wrong of me to wonder what Nevena would look like in an apron?
“Your sisters. Your mother.” She flips a pancake around. “Mom is working right now, and is out of Fallowfell. Nevena is sleeping. And-”
There is a crash nearby. Something has broken, a vase or some such. “Miroslava?” “I am alright”, a young girl shouts. The door to the kitchen opens, a girl sitting in a wheelchair tilts backwards, and then rolls over the threshold.
She stops when she sees me. “Hey. “Hey there”, I respond. I manage to silence that nascent gasp making its way through my throat. Nevena told me that her sister had some kind of disease, she didn’t say squat about her being handicapped. But then again, Aspergers is considered a mental handicap . This must be Miroslava, the third sister. She has the same straw-colored hair like Nevena, but her eyes are closer to topaz than buttercup.
“So you’re Nevena’s boyfriend.” A statement, posed as a question.I wonder how old she is. “Yeah. He’s my boyfriend alright”, Nevena responds from behind her. She walks in and sits next to me. “Thanks for…” Dragging me home? Making sure that I didn’t vomit all over the Orchard? Do something really embarassing? “Thanks”, I simply say.
Simona puts the pancakes, a large pyramid of them on the table. She grabs some syrup from a pantry and some butter from the fridge. “Let’s eat!”
I have eaten my second pancake when Simona makes the first probe. “So this party… how was it?” Me and Nevena exchanges a look. “It was fun”, Nevena says. “Awesome”, I add. “Spectacular one might say even”, Nevena boasts. ” An event in carefully orchestrated chaos”, I finish.
Simona looks at us and sighs. I eat another pancake. “Have you had sex yet?”, Miroslava asks. I choke on my pancake. “Miro!”, Nevena admonishes. Simona laughs, amused. “Atleast tell me you have reached First Base?” “Miro, I am not discussing these things with you.” Miroslava turns her orange eyes at me. “How long will you and Nevena be together?” “I don’t know actually. ” I glance at Nevena. “But I hope it will be long.” Simona whistles, earning herself Nevena’s eternal enmity.
“How many dates have you been on?”, Miroslava asks. “Two”, I respond. “That’s not very many.” “You’re right. Something came up.” “Something came up”, she repeats. “I… misinterpreted something your said sister did, and became angry. I had to apologize.” I look Nevena in the eyes as I say that.
“Did you give her flowers?” “Ehrm, no, I didn’t.” “Chocolate?” “No.” “Hmm. That’s not very much of an execuse, is it?” I chuckle. “You’re right.” I get up from my chair, and I kneel in front of Nevena.
I grasp one of her hands and put it against my forehead. “Lady, I shall endeavor to be worthy of thine grace, thy beautious visage, and thy mercy”, I say in my most melodramatic voice. I need to thank Isocrates, drama-lessons are already paying off, hah.
Miroslava giggles, and Simona just shakes her head at my antics. Our conversation resume.I learn that Miroslava likes the color orange, which is the same as her eyes, and that she has a gecko. I learn that Simona got burned out at the University of Uppsala, that she hates linguistics and that men with mustaches must be avoided at all costs.
I have just finished eleventh, and probably final pancake when I realize something, something that even Verde has missed. Hermann!
I grab my phone and look.
Fourteen missed messages. Twenty-six missed calls.
Oh this is not good. /Is this not… what is the vernacular these days… ah, no shit, Sherlock./