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Belonging to the Unknown
Belonging to the Unknown
This day was no ordinary day. In fact, it was a day of great significance. On this particular morning, a young woman sat in her room staring out the window. She had bright red hair that ended at her waist. Her eyes were so light of a blue that they almost looked white. And despite her unsurpassable beauty, it was rumored that she killed her own parents. However, this girl hadn't once thought of hurting someone until today. Since we must give her a name, we shall call her Vivian.
As she stared out the window, she noticed someone unusual. Vivian rushed to the door to meet her guest. But by the time she opened the door, there was only a letter in his place. Vivian picked up the letter and studied its every fold. She had no family or friends, so who would have written her a letter?
Immediately after stepping back inside, she stripped the letter of its mailing attire and read.
You are about to undergo a series of events that will forever change the way you live... if you even live at all. Eventually you will have to go through this, so you might as well start now. If you even want a chance at survival, you must follow the instructions listed below by midnight tonight.
1.) After reading this letter, destroy all evidence of it ever existing.
2.) Destroy all evidence of you ever existing.
3.) Meet me at the old cemetery on the edge of town. You should bring nothing but the clothes on your back. I have all that you need.
4.) Trust me.
Although Vivian was confused, she followed the instructions given to her by this mysterious stranger. She didn't want to die any time soon.
Vivian immediately started a fire in the stone fireplace on the far side of her living room. After cautiously placing the letter on top of the flames, she watched the sparks dance around in her living room.
Destroying the evidence of one's existence is much harder than destroying the evidence of a carefully written letter. But sometimes, it must be done.
Vivian made her way down the hallway that was dimly lit by the early morning light, returning to the bedroom that she had occupied just moments ago.
Vivian stood in the center of her room for a second while deciding how she should begin. It didn't take much thought, for the solution was obvious. She was to destroy all of the documents that contained anything about her.
The task was overall, a simple one. Vivian walked from her place in the center of the room to an old chest that rested in the corner, next to her bed. As she kneeled down before it, she marveled at it's antiquity- something she still cannot get over. This chest held all the proof of Vivian's existence. And soon, neither the chest, nor its contents, would be anything more than ash.
Vivian decided it was about time to head over to the cemetery to complete the next step of the letter.
It was about one in the afternoon and the uniform streets were empty except for the few people heading back to work after taking their lunch breaks. The buildings were white like a sheet of brand new copy paper, and their brown-shingled roofs hung low as if to serve as awnings.
The streets were paved with gravel that crunched with every step Vivian took. Her feet hurt, for the shoes she was wearing were torn black flats that had been issued to her by the government.
Soon, Vivian came across one of the few places that she enjoyed; the bakery. It was marked by a large sign that hung down and covered part of the front window. On the sign, once-red letters spelled out the words Margaret’s Bakery.
Vivian decided that she would go inside and get something to eat. Upon opening the door, she was greeted by a gust of cold air that relieved her from the heat outside. Two people were ahead of Vivian in line, but she didn’t mind. It gave her time to decide on what she would buy. The possibilities were practically endless. There were all sorts of interestingly flavored cakes, pies, ice creams, cookies, and drinks. But finally, Vivian came to a conclusion. She was going to get a cup of Lavender Vanilla ice cream to ready herself for the rest of this eventful day.
The lady behind the counter looked short, but only because the counter that she stood behind was unusually tall. Her brown hair only reached about halfway to her shoulders and her eyes were a soft shade of forest green.
When it came time for Vivian to order, the lady introduced herself as Ariadne. She spoke with an accent as she asked Vivian to place her order.
After receiving her ice cream, Vivian sat down at a small marbled table and started to eat. She tried to relax, but her mind wouldn’t let her. She thought about the mysterious letter. Next, she started to wonder why she even did what the letter asked her to do in the first place. Was it because she truly believed that she would die if she didn’t obey its commands? Or for some other reason? Still, if that were the case, why would she destroy all proof of her existence? Whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter now, for she’s started, and in a way, she must finish. Whether she’ll finish alive or not is a different story.
Finally, Vivian arrived at the cemetery. Even though it was only three in the afternoon, it was dark there. A canopy of overgrown trees hung over the premises, letting in just enough light for Vivian to successfully navigate her way around. At first, Vivian had no idea where to start looking for the letter's author. But it wasn’t much longer after her arrival, when she saw a small beacon that, she assumed, was lit to guide her to him.
Vivian made her way through the seemingly infinite rows of headstones to meet who she would soon learn to know as Eli Parker. She stopped when she reached the beacon. A boy who looked a few years older then Vivian- was seated under an old willow tree and his curly, brown hair occasionally shivered from the breeze. He greeted Vivian with a "Shhh…" that could easily have been mistaken for the rustle of leaves if one didn’t know better. He then introduced himself.
"Hi Vivian. I’m Eli Parker."
"Hi," Vivian said uncertainly.
"I assume you followed the instructions that I gave you this morning."
"Can you please explain?" Vivian asked.
"That’s what I came here to do. But first," Eli paused "Do you promise not to freak out no matter what happens?"
"Yes," Vivian promised.
"Then I can begin." Vivian waited impaitently for an explination.
"So," Eli started "there’s a cult that's out to use you for evil. Well, actually, something in you. The cult, sadly, is led by my father."
"How are you not a member if it’s led by your father?" Vivian asked, worried.
"In a way, I am," replied Eli. Vivian’s eyes widened with sudden fear. Yet, Eli kept on. "I’m pretending to be a member so that I can save you," Eli smiled proudly, hoping for a response. But Vivian remained silent. "Your life is at stake here. But if you follow my lead you will likely survive."
"Okay," Vivian replied doubtfully.
"Problem is," Eli started "a few of the cult members are here. That was the only way it seemed I could try and save you without seeming suspicious."
"So it’s the two of us against all of them? That’s your plan?"
"Yes. But don’t worry. I know what I’m doing."
"What are we doing?"
"I intend to help destroy this orb that's inside of you. To my knowledge, it’s a type of weapon. Well, at least that's what legend claims." Vivian was about to reply when she heard movement that didn’t belong to her or Eli. Not more than a few seconds after, a scream erupted from Eli as he was stabbed in the back by a cult member who overheard their conversation.
Without being given a sufficient amount of time to think, one can’t always make the best of decisions. That's what happened to Vivian just then. Vivian grabbed a large rock from nearby, sprinted towards the man, and banged it against his temple, causing him to collapse into a lifeless heap of limbs.
Before anything more could happen, Vivian took off running. But instead of making a perfect getaway, she tripped and fell to the ground. Her fall gave another cult member –who also must have seen or heard what had just gone on- the chance to get revenge. He raced out from behind a bush at top speed without giving Vivian a chance to recover. The cult member was unprepared, but he did what he could without the assistance of a weapon, and caused Vivian to become unconscious.
When Vivian awoke, she found herself lying on a suede couch, in a room that smelled faintly of wood. Her right arm was hanging off the side of the couch with her knuckles resting on the rug beside her. She opened her eyes to study her surroundings. The walls were made of wood and covered with paintings of wolves. This was by far the strangest place Vivian had ever seen.
All was silent except for the steady sound of Vivian’s breath and the faint fog of voices upstairs. Vivian pulled her arm up from the floor and rested it on her chest. She then closed her eyes for a few seconds before opening them again and sitting up. After a few minutes, Vivian tossed her legs off the couch and stood up. The fluffy beige rug beneath her feet hugged her toes with each step that she took. Eventually, the rug ended, and the floor began as Vivian made her way up the twisted staircase.
She intended to find out the source of the voices that she was hearing upstairs. Although Vivian was light, the old wooden stairs creaked beneath her weight. At last, Vivian reached the top of the staircase. By that time, all was silent. Vivian thought that they must of heard her coming and had stopped talking to pay closer attention.
Vivian turned a corner to find that the voices were those of her parents. But to Vivian’s knowledge; her parents were dead. There was much explaining to be done.
"You’re awake," Pandora stated as if just to reassure herself that Vivian really was awake.
"Mom?" Vivian replied as would be expected of someone who believed that their parents were dead for as long as she had.
"Vivian!" exclaimed Vivian’s dad, Parzival, a man with the voice of a radio host and feet that seemed too small for his body. Pandora motioned for Parzival and Vivian to follow her.
They were led to a room of white. White furniture. White everything. White except for a small black stereo, whose wire snaked about the room. The stereo was on and its ribbon-like music seemed to cloak the room in even more white. The room’s simplicity closely resembled Vivian’s house, causing her to feel more relaxed then she had all day.
Pandora and Parzival sat down on the large expanse of bed that took up over half the room. Vivian, despite the fact that she was with her own parents, shyly shrunk down onto the carpet as if she were a temporary stain.
Just as she had been ready for the truth, the truth was ready for her.
"Vivian, we’re so sorry," Parzival started, his voice dropping to a barely audible whisper. At a loss of words, Vivian looked at him, suggesting that he continue. For a moment, a plane of silence spread across the room. Vivian shifted her position. "We had to fake our deaths," Parzival took a pause and a deep breath before starting again. "They- I mean, the cult- was trying to hunt us down," Parzival said hesitantly, as if he were reliving the memory.
"It was three years after we had the twins. You were about five at the time," Pandora recalled.
As if taking turns recollecting their internal devastation, Parzival added, "They found out-somehow- about the orbs that we had hidden inside you, Gemin, and Odiedin."
"I have siblings?" Parzival nodded. "I have siblings! And all this time I’ve been living a lie," Vivian’s tone took the form of a tsunami.
"We needed to keep you safe," Pandora said, in attempt to calm Vivian down.
"That’s not safety! It’s unfair!" Vivian couldn’t calm down. Everything she had ever known was having a war inside of her.
"Vivian," Parzival said, as he lowered the volume of the stereo. The musical fog lifted, letting the outside world seep back in. Vivian then took a deep breath in attempt to regain focus.
"I’m okay," Vivian breathed, as a trail of tears trickled down the side of her face and settled into the carpet.
"There may come a time when you’ll need to access your orb," Pandora began. She looked at Parzival as if to ask for permission to tell Vivian where the orb is. He gave an affirmative nod and Pandora spoke again. "The scar on your thigh isn’t from a mirror shattering and cutting you, like you thought it was. It’s where we hid the orb," Pandora concluded.
"More lies," Vivian muttered under her breath. Pandora wanted to remind Vivian that these lies were meant to keep her safe. She didn’t of course, knowing that it wouldn’t have helped.
"If you ever need to remove the orb, use a precise, yet quick slash of a sharp blade over the scar. The next, and hardest part, is reaching into your leg with your bare hands until you find the orb and take it out," Parzival explained. Vivian looked at him with astonishment and forgot to breathe. Parzival’s detailed description caused a shiver to run through her like lightning.
"Sorry," Parzival said. He looked to Pandora. Her face was in sync with Vivian’s although Pandora had discussed this with Parzival before.
Unanimously, they agreed to end the conversation. Vivian untangled herself from her hair and made her way out of the room, glancing back to be sure that she had permission to leave. "Vivian," Pandora called as Vivian was almost down the hall.
"Yeah?" Vivian stopped in her tracks, waiting for an instruction of some sort.
"You don’t have to stay downstairs, you know?" Pandora started "I have an empty room that you can stay in." Vivian smiled a small smile, delighted by the offer.
"Yes, that'd be nice," Vivian answered eagerly.
"Here, I’ll show you where it is."
Pandora led Vivian to a room on the other side of the hall. This room was also white. There were only two pieces of furniture inside. A bed, and a dresser. Of course there was a comforter and pillows too. But those sort of things don't count as furniture.
"You know what," Pandora started, "I can get you some other stuff for the room if you'd like. There's a furniture store not too far from here."
"I'd like that. Maybe I could get some clothing too?" Vivian responded happily.
"I can do that. Just tell me what size you wear."
"Medium will do," Vivian said.
"And for pants?" Pandora asked.
And with that, Pandora was off.
It was almost time for bed when Pandora got back from the store. She came in carrying a small lamp, a bag of clothing, and a present in a cardboard box to surprise Vivian.
"Vivian, you awake?" Pandora called from the doorway.
"Yeah," Vivian answered.
"Alright, well I'll be up there in a minute with some presents for you."
"Okay," Vivian replied, she was getting tired but couldn't quite seem to fall asleep.
Just then, Pandora opened Vivian's door. "These things are for you. Welcome home." Vivian smiled. "First things first," Pandora said, handing Vivian the cardboard box. "Open it."
"A pocket knife?" Vivian was confused.
"To protect yourself," Pandora told her. "But there's something else in the box for you too."
Vivian reached back into the box and pulled out an old leather-bound book. The title read; Legend of the Light. The author unknown. This book must be ancient, Vivian thought. It was as if Pandora knew what she was thinking, "It's about us."
"What? How?" Vivian exclaimed.
"It's about the orbs. We've been protecting them since the beginning of time, when the cult found out about them," Pandora replied.
"Where did the orbs even come from? And why didn't I know about them until today?" Vivian ranted, "Do the twins know?"
"It's a long story, but the book explains it surprisingly well. Better than I could, even."
"Should I just read the book then?" Vivian asked. Pandora nodded in response.
"It's late, Vivian. You should be getting into bed now."
"Okay," Vivian agreed, and got into her bed. "Good night mom," the words felt weird, despite the fact that she meant it.
"Good night Vivian," Pandora smiled, "I love you." Those words felt weird too.
Between eye rubs and stretches, Vivian mumbled "What time is it?"
"It's already 12. You woke up late," Parzival replied, as he opened her bedroom door.
"Good afternoon, then, dad," Vivian giggled.
"Back at you. Want some breakfast?"
"Sure, what do we have?"
"Come, I'll show you. Today's breakfast is special," Parzival smiled. Immediately, Vivian hopped out of bed. This day seemed to deserve a special breakfast. She stayed in her pajamas and headed downstairs with Parzival.
"Breakfast is served," Pandora waved her hand across the air above the table, displaying the eatable masterpiece in all its glory. It was everything you could ask for. A huge stack of steaming pancakes served as the centerpiece. Beside the pancakes, there was an entire plate of fresh fruit, with yogurt on the side. A sign sitting at the head of the table read, in bold lettering; "Welcome Home Vivian!"
"Come, sit. It's for you," Pandora eagerly patted the chair beside her.
"Thanks, you guys!" Vivian said as she sat down.
"Dig in!" her parents exclaimed in unison. "May the eating begin." They laughed, before starting on the food.
Within a half-hour, the food was merely a memory. Vivian asked politely if she could be excused. "Of course you can," her mom said. After leaving the table, Vivian headed upstairs to her room. She put on a new outfit; a loose gray tank top, black skinny jeans, and brown combat boots. Somehow, Pandora knew just what she would like. The outfit was perfect for what Vivian intended to do that day. She grabbed the book that she was given yesterday, and raced outside.
"Where are you going?" her dad called from the kitchen.
"I'm just going to take a jog," she replied.
"With a book?" Parzival questioned.
"Uh," she paused, and looked down at the book for a second, "yeah," she said, before running down the block.
Reading as she walked, Vivian headed towards the bus stop. She intended to find the twins. What if they're in danger? Vivian wondered.
According to the book, Odiedin and Gemin live in a city, not too far from Akiz.
This will be easy. Vivian thought, as the bus pulled up to the corner. She paid the driver and stepped on. With her head towards the ground, she made her way to the back of the bus. She intended to use the time to read. The bus drove off, its tires screeching on the curb.
Finally, the bus arrived at its destination. A bell -directly above where Vivian was sitting- rang, and she jumped in surprise. Gathering her things, Vivian hurried out of her seat and down the stairs, eager to meet Odiedin and Gemin.
The book claimed that they lived in a secluded apartment, across from the minimart. It's a clever way to hide- in plain sight. Nobody would suspect the house across from the minimart, when searching for magical weapons.
"Well, that was simple." Vivian said to herself, as she stepped up to the front door of the apartment. Ding-dong! She rang the doorbell. A quiet shout echoed through the house. They must not be used to visitors. They must have decided that it was safe to open the door. Footsteps made their way down the stairs. A small, familiar boy was looking up at Vivian. Odiedin.
"Hello," the boy said, his hands in his pockets.
"Hi, you must be Odiedin," Vivian replied.
"Yeah. How do you know that?" He said defensively.
"I'm your sister."
"No you're not. My sister's right in-" he didn't want to give away anymore information then he had to.
"I'm your older sister, Vivian," she explained. Odiedin was speechless.
"Odiedin, what's going on?!" called a voice from upstairs.
"Some girl here, claims she's my sister," Odiedin called back.
"That doesn't even make sense! Get back inside!" Gemin exclaimed.
"But, what if she's telling the truth, Gemin?" Odiedin questioned.
"Then, um," she paused "just hold on a second," Gemin said, before running down the stairs with an old picture in hand.
"What's that for?" after he said it, he realized what it was for. "Oh."
"Look up," Gemin told Vivian, who was standing patiently, listening to the twins argue. She looked up. "Odiedin, does this little girl, here, in the photo, look like her at all?" Gemin asked.
"A little," Odiedin admitted.
"Come in," Gemin gestured to the living room behind her. Vivian followed the two kids inside to a couch, and sat down between them. "What's your reason for coming here?"
"I, uh. Wait. You don't know?" Vivian questioned.
"Nope," the twins replied in unison.
"Do you know about the orbs?" Vivian said, starting off simple. Gemin nodded. Odiedin looked towards her, confused. She must be in charge, Vivian concluded. He doesn't know.
"Oops," Gemin muttered. "Odiedin, I never told you because I didn't know how you would react." That got his attention. "Our parents have hidden orbs inside of us in order to keep them safe," she explained.
Odiedin was tired, due to only getting four hours of sleep the night before. He scooted closer to Vivian, resting his head on her shoulder. Vivian felt a shock run through her leg. She shrieked, startling Odiedin and Gemin. "What's wrong?" Gemin asked Vivian. But before she could respond, both twins felt a similar shock run through them.
Odiedin turned to face Vivian, "What's going on?"
"I-I don't know exactly," Vivian stammered.
"Well, someone better find out," Gemin added.
"We could check the book," Vivian suggested, reaching into the crevice between the couch cushions to grab it. "Here, it says that when the orbs are together, they give their vessels a sort of power."
"A power?" Odiedin was suddenly interested in what the girls were discussing.
"Let me take a look at that," Gemin motioned to the book. Vivian handed the book over to Gemin. Who, after a quick glance at the page, immediately found the information that she needed.
"It says here," Gemin said, pointing to a section at the bottom of the page, "that each orb withholds a different power."
"How do we know what powers they give us?" the situation had truly captured Odiedin's attention.
"It seems like the powers are listed below this introduction piece," Gemin started. "There's three powers listed here. I'm going to quote it directly, "Thou shalt possess the power to control ice," she began. "The other shall possess the ability to handle fire. The last of the orbs shall grant you telekinetic abilities,"she finished, closing the book.
"How would we figure out who has which power?" Vivian asked.
"We could test it," Gemin proposed.
"But we don't know how to use the powers."
"I guess we'll have to figure it out," Gemin smiled.
After many attempts, they finally figured out who had which power. The window was frozen shut, but it didn't matter at the time, for they were too overjoyed to care. Odiedin was jumping about the room, while Vivian and Gemin stood in shock. Before now, they believed that suddenly finding out you possess inhuman abilities was the kind of thing that only happened in fairy tales.
"I wonder what we could do with these," Odiedin wondered aloud, waving his cold hands like gibberish. No one seemed to hear him. "Hm," he said loudly, trying to get someone's attention. Once they turned towards him, he exclaimed, "We should go someplace and do some stuff with our powers."
Vivian shook her head and muttered the word no over and over. But Gemin wasn't paying attention. She was too caught up in the thrill of it all, to be able to understand how dangerous it could be. What if somebody walked by and saw them using powers? How would that work out?
Before Vivian could respond, the twins rushed out of the house, leaving safety behind. "Stop!" she shouted "Come back!" but they kept on running. Vivian had no choice but to run after them. Leaving the door wide open, Vivian hurried to catch up behind them. They didn't stop until they reached the park. By then, all three of them were struggling for breath. "Don't. Do. It," Vivian said between breaths.
They turned towards Vivian for a brief moment, before walking away "You're ruining the fun."
"Pew!" Called Odiedin, shooting a streak of ice towards a tree.
"Ha!" Gemin replied, deflecting his shot.
"Hey, that's not fair!" Odiedin made another attempt to strike the tree.
"You can't even hit the tree," Gemin laughed with a childlike pride.
Odiedin didn't respond. "Ha," he said under his breath, as he shot the tree. Success.
"You cheated!" Gemin cried.
"Who said there were rules?" Odiedin joked.
Vivian watched from the sidelines. If she couldn't stop them, she would at least protect them. If someone were to come by, she'd make sure the twins knew. Who knows what would happen if they got caught. It was risk enough to allow them to use their powers at the park. But Vivian decided that they would need to practice in case it became necessary to use their powers.
Not a moment passed where Vivian wasn't paying close attention to the surroundings. Every footstep was a possible danger. Especially the footsteps of their enemies.
Vivian turned around to see a cloaked man standing directly behind her. It was almost as if he wanted to be seen. She didn't direct the twins to stop, assuming that the stranger had been watching them silently for a while. He would have already known by then.
"Sir," Vivian spoke "could you tell me why you are here?"
"A mission," he replied, seemingly keeping it on the down-low.
"Of what sort?"
"I'm not allowed to speak of it." This was going to be harder than she thought.
"Either you willingly tell me, or I will force you," Vivian demanded.
"Cult. Weapons. The sort," he mumbled. Of course, she should have known.
"Guys," Vivian shouted, "run!" she erupted, turning towards the frozen tree. They heard her. They started running. But so did the man. "Faster!" It was a high speed chase.
"Gemin, now!" Vivian hoped that she'd understand. Momentarily confused, she turned to Odiedin before realizing what Vivian meant, then mentally pushed the man to the ground. "Guys, back up!" Vivian yelled, moving her hand in a circular motion, a fiery ring forming around the fallen man. "Come on!" she hoped that they'd be fast enough to catch back up before he got to them. They were.
"The book?" Odiedin whispered just loud enough for the three of them to hear. Vivian understood immediately, and retrieved the book from her shoulder bag. Searching for a way to save themselves, she flipped rapidly through the pages.
"I think I found it," Vivian breathed. She looked back, terrified how the children would respond to her next request. "Where did you guys feel the shock earlier?" Vivian started.
"My leg?" Gemin responded, checking to see if Odiedin would say the same. He nodded, agreeing.
"Good, now carefully slice that spot with this," Vivian instructed them as calmly as possible, handing over the pocket knife.
"Wha-" Odiedin started.
"Just do it." There was no choice. Odiedin accepted the knife and, as he was told, sliced through both his pants and his leg. "Now reach in and get the orb out, quick," Vivian explained. He did.
"Hand the knife to Gemin now."
After Gemin received the knife, Vivian had her do the same as Odiedin.
"Okay, Gemin, my turn," Vivian received the knife from Gemin and followed her own instructions.
By now, the man had gotten to his feet. The trio couldn't run very well through the pain. They tied makeshift tourniquets around their incisions. Vivian started to read a passage from the book.
"May the gods accept our offering. May the weapons be forever theirs. For, we no longer need such a thing, nor its protection. We wish to no longer hold this responsibility. We wish for the end."
Slowly, all evidence of the scars on their legs faded, taking the pain with it.
"Guys, you still have your orbs, right?" Vivian asked.
"Yeah," Gemin spoke for them both.
"Good, we're going to give them to the man. He's still too far away to have known what just happened. He'll think that they still work," Vivian explained. They walked towards him. As they got closer, they could see a look of confusion on his face.
"Here," they presented him with the orbs "these are for you."
He removed his hand from the long sleeve, and took their offering.
"I know," he said “I know the truth.”