Eighth Recollection: Hide and Seek (Part Four)

“Hey,” Kate said. “I play in a coffee bar tomorrow. You said you like my singing, right?”

“Yes, it’s beautiful.”

“You should come tomorrow. Jeffy is going; he can take you with. It’s not a real performance but it’s nice to have an attentive audience.”

Kate left the Evangeline’s household shortly after that. Sora found her brother and friends together in the family room. Shouta lay on the couch with Shiro nestled nearby, quickly nodding off to the drone of the TV. Taryn and Rene sat on the floor together surrounded by a barrier of books, paper, sketchpads and a variation of sketching media. They chatted while working on different drawings, glancing up at the show on TV every now and again.

”Long time no see,” Taryn said. She looked up at the clock. “You’ve been gone for two hours. Aren’t you dead? If I played any sport for that long, I would be dead.”

Sora heard the door open and turned to see Jeffrey walk inside. He took his shoes off then shoved the keys into his back pocket, lanyard trailing behind him as he entered the house. “Hey,” he said when he saw the group in the family room.

“Jeffy?” Rene asked.

The two’s gazes met and surprise flickered across countenances. “Sora, you didn’t tell me the Rene you knew was Rene Redell,” her brother said. “It’s been awhile.”

“Oh, come on,” Taryn said. “Does everyone in my life know you already, Rene?”

“I know Angelique, too,” Rene said. “I got a little curious when you said the names of your siblings, Sora, but I thought it was just a coincidence. I can’t believe you’re actually related to the twins.”

“When we came to America, Angelique and I stayed with the Redells. That’s how we know each other.” Jeffrey said. Forgetting the others, he approached the girl to speak. “How’s your father been?”

They broke off into conversation that excluded the others. Shouta slept fast on the couch, his mouth slightly ajar as his head sagged backwards over the armrest. Taryn quickly lost interest in the conversation and returned to her drawings. Sora took the chance to shower.

Breath escaped Sora’s lips in a hiss as cool water rushed over her head. Skin acclimated to the frigid water. She closed her eyes and tossed her hair back. Her thoughts returned to the soccer game and Kate. Eyes flashed through her mind; she could not shake the feeling of foreboding that overtook her whenever she saw Kate’s eyes. She closed her eyes again and water ran over them.

Then a vision flashed before her. The red eyes were there only, staring at her through darkness. Darkness faded into dim light and revealed the eyes’ owner. A small Japanese boy stared back at her. Cuts and bruises covered his filthy body. The tattered clothes he wore could handle no more strain; they would soon fall apart to rags. She feared if she reached out to touch him, this fragile boy would break. Yet the eyes remained intense and wild as ever.

“I found you.”

Sora’s eyes snapped open and the water rushed over her again. Legs failed and she fell to her knees on the bottom of the shower, shaken by the vision. Several minutes passed until she managed to collect herself and stand back up. Eyes open, she washed her hair and body then turned the water off. Her hands wrapped a soft towel around her body. She savored the warmth that kept thoughts of the vision at bay.

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Eighth Recollection: Hide and Seek (Part 3)

Several minutes after one, the doorbell rang. The girls came with overnight packs as agreed upon. Sora showed them up to her room, pointing out parts of the house as they went. When in her room the two set their things by the bed. They discussed briefly what they would do with the day and came to the mostly mutual agreement to go to the park. Shouta grabbed a soccer ball from his room before heading out the door. Kate, still practicing in the family room, glanced up as they passed through the door.

“You’re playing soccer? Wait up then,” she said, setting down the guitar.

After Kate had joined the ensemble outside, Sora locked the door behind the five. Together they headed down the road in the direction of the park with Shouta taking the lead. Taryn and Rene followed close behind him, chatting together as the boy tossed the ball up and down with his uninjured arm. Sora and Kate trailed the group.

“Honestly, I did not see you as the athletic type,” Sora was saying to Kate.

“I can be musical and athletic,” she said. “I played a lot of sports in high school. I don’t at the U though, so it’s been awhile.”

“Don’t worry; you can’t suck anymore than Taryn,” Shouta said over his shoulder.

“Oh you shut it,” she said. “You can’t even play today, invalid.”

They stood in the open field now. “I forgot about that,” Sora said. “This means you have to play, Taryn. We can’t have one against two.”

“Oh fine,” she groaned. “But don’t complain. You’re the one who asked me to play.”

Sora claimed Rene as her teammate; the other two joined forces on the opposite side of the field. As soon as all were prepared, Shouta threw the ball into the field. Both Kate and his sister lunged at the ball. Sora reached it first, ducking around the older girl and dribbling the ball down the field. She pivoted and flashed after the younger. Just as Sora brought her foot back, preparing to make a goal, Kate snatched the ball from her. Surprised, Sora reacted slowly. Rene, positioned near the goal, kicked out but the older darted around her. Before Sora reached the other side of the field, Kate already made a goal. Taryn cheered.

“Who sucks now, Shouta?’

The game went on like this for over an hour. The two constantly snatched the ball from each other, nearly making a goal before being thwarted by the other. Locked into a heated contest, Rene and Taryn quickly became bystanders. Eyes met; perspiration beaded on gleaming foreheads in the afternoon sunlight. Sora wiped the sweat from her brow with the back of her hand. Everything faded out of her mind. All that remained were those intense eyes staring back at her. Contact was lost and bodies flew across the field once more. Sora sent the ball sailing; this time it landed in the net.

The two went on like this until she could take no more. Sora let herself collapse in the grass with body sprawled out and eyes reaching into the skies. The older girl joined her in the grass. For a long time the two lay on their backs in the field. Sora closed her eyes and listened to the rhythmic panting of their exhausted bodies. Panting slowed gradually into regular breath. Beside her Kate sat up. Eyes heavy with fatigue gazed down on her.

“Who won?” Sora asked.

“I don’t know.”

She rose and took in their surroundings, returning to the real world. Taryn, Shouta and Rene were nowhere to be seen. “Where did everybody go?”

“They said they were heading back to the house awhile ago.”

“Oh. We should head back then too.”

The two rose and began the walk home.

Eigth Recollection: Hide and Seek (Part 2)

The week went by in a relatively normal fashion for the twins, though Shouta had to adapt to dealing with a cast and the sudden influx of attention he received from the other students. When Saturday rolled around, Jeffrey left early for work and the twins slept in. Around eleven-o’-clock, Sora finally rolled out of bed and went downstairs. Still groggy, she went into the family room, slumped into the couch and clicked on the television.

“I like your bed head.”

Sora startled and turned towards the voice. Kate sat in front of the picture window on the floor, cross-legged and hunched over some sheet music. Unlike their first encounter, today the college girl went makeup-less. Her hair, as wild as ever, hung around her face. She kept flicking the ticklish annoyance away and crinkling her freckled expression at the sensation. Atop the bridge of her nose rested a black pair of glasses. Beside her lay the guitar.

“What are you doing here?!”

“Jeffy let me in before he left for work.”

“What are you, a stray cat?”

“I suppose you could call me that,” she said, still occupied with the sheet music. “Jeffy and Angelique are used to my presence. My apartment complex is small and my neighbors complain when I play the guitar so they let me practice here.”

“I see.”

Kate scrutinized the sheet music and played a few chords. “How does it feel? Moving here suddenly with your long-lost siblings?”

“I like it,” she said. “Though Angelique is a lot busier than Anders ever was.”

“Angelique’s a busy-body. It’s hard to see until you’ve known her awhile but she really gets into her research, though I can’t really fill you in on the details. She’s rather secretive about it. Maybe she’s creating weapons of mass-destruction, who knows?” Kate shrugged.

“Yes, I am creating weapons in a commercial research lab,” Angelique said sarcastically from the hall. “Are you hungry, Sora? I cook every now and again,” she yawned. The younger girl’s stomach growled and her sister smiled. “I’m taking that as a yes. Will you eat pancakes and bacon?”

“I’ll eat pancakes and bacon,” Kate said first.

“I have no obligation to feed you.”

“But you also know I love bacon. This is your own fault.”

“I guess we’re having pancakes and bacon then.”

The two joined the eldest Evangeline in the kitchen. Shiro hopped into the kitchen and to his dish after his master, where he nibbled at his rabbit pellets. Sora set the table for four then relaxed with Kate at the counter. The first slab of bacon hit the oil and sizzled. Mouths watered as the greasy aroma quickly dissipated throughout the kitchen. Moments later, Shouta stood in the entryway, drawn by the aroma. He lifted his cast-less arm to rub the sleep from his eyes and sat down next to the girls. Then he noticed Kate’s presence for the first time.

“This is Kate,” Angelique said, flipping the bacon in the pan. “She and Jeffy both go to the University together. She’s around a lot so get used to it.”

“I’m Shouta,” he yawned.

“I know. Nice to meet you,” she said.

“Now, when are the girls coming over again, Sora?” Angelique asked.

“Taryn said they’d be here by one.”

“Alright,” she said. “I’ll be in the cities for the afternoon so you will have to fend for yourselves. Don’t destroy the house and I’ll be back in the evening. I think Jeffy is done working at two; sometimes they keep him later though.”

Eighth Recollection: Hide and Seek (Part 1)

A note to readers:

Yes, there is suddenly a rabbit named Shiro in the story. I went back and altered the manuscript so that he is in the beginning of the story but on the blog, he won’t be in the beginning chapters because the posts I’ve made were from the older version without him. He’s important later though, and I may update older posts eventually to make things less confusing.

Liz

When Sora and her brother went home that night, Jeffrey was in the living room. Shouta slung his backpack onto the floor and joined him. Sora went further into the house looking for Angelique. The master bedroom on the first floor was closed, so she knocked three times and waited.

“Come in.”

Sora pushed the door open. The eldest sister sat propped up on an elbow reading a book, atop the queen-sized bed centered along the left wall. Shiro lay sprawled out on his belly in the middle of his master’s bed. She hadn’t been in Angelique’s room yet since moving in, and was not all that surprised by the décor. The room’s walls were a faint olive green and besides the bed, all she saw in the room were two simple bookshelves and the closed door to the closest. The only aspect of the room she had not expected was the sliding glass door that led out to a deck overlooking the sloping, forested hills behind the house.

“Welcome back, Sora. Did you need something?”

“Yeah,” she said. “I have something to ask you about. Can I sit down?”

Angelique sat up and motioned for the girl to sit beside her. She closed the door behind her then bounced onto the bed next to her sister and the rabbit, who promptly hopped into Angelique’s lap. Sora slung her backpack off her shoulders and unearthed the old paper she had borrowed from Taryn from the bag. She handed it to Angelique, whose eyes glinted with surprised recognition once she had studied it.

“Where did you get this?”

“Taryn found it at her house. I’ve never seen this before, but I can read it. What is this, Angelique?”

“It’s our language.”

“Ours?”

“Yes,” she said, stroking Shiro, “the language of the lunar flyers, moon script. Well, at least we were the first to use it. It became commonly used among all flyers, though, and even the Giants and humans used to use it. Nowadays it’s a bit of a forgotten language though; only the Alliance still uses it, to my knowledge.”

“Then that’s why it was in the Nordmann’s house?”

“Probably, though this has nothing to do with the Alliance. This is pretty old.”

“What is it about?”

“It’s about us; well, flyers in general, I should say. It’s a poem about our past with the humans. What has Anders told you about the forgotten races?”

“Are you talking about the giants?”

“I’m not talking about just the giants. Are you aware of the serpentine?”

“No.”

“Well, I’m sure he’s told you the pure-blood giants disappeared a long time ago,” she said, “but they weren’t the only ones. The more abundant the humans became, the harder it was to co-exist as equals with them. No one knows where the giants went, but the serpentine were always a skittish people, and retreated to the deepest parts of the oceans, where humans have yet to re-discover them. And, well, we had a special fondness for Man. Of all the forgotten races, we were the closest to them and so we did not disappear, we just assimilated ourselves into their society.”

“Anders never told us any of that.”

“I’m not surprised,” Angelique said. “He doesn’t strike me as a history buff.”

Sora giggled. “No, not really,” she said. “But, why can I read it?”

“Do you remember the first time you flew, Sora?”

“Yes.”

“It was easy, wasn’t it? Well, this language is a bit like the robes; there’s lunar magic weaved into it. It’s only natural that you would be able to read it,” she said. “But, Sora, you said you got this from Taryn. I hope you aren’t getting her involved in the Alliance.”

“Why are you all keeping this from Taryn and her sisters?”

“Karen doesn’t want to involve her family in the Alliance,” Angelique said. “And she’s right to do that. I know even James, Rene’s father, hasn’t told his daughter about it.”

“Why? Why is it okay for Shouta and me to know but not them?”

“Sora, don’t you remember what happened last weekend? It’s dangerous to get involved with the Alliance; we’d like to keep them out of it for as long as we can.”

“Isn’t it more dangerous not to tell them?”

“No,” Angelique said. “I really shouldn’t tell you this, but hopefully it will keep you from telling them yet. It should be obvious that the three families of the Alliance are the Evangelines, the Redells and the Baardsons by now. Do you understand what that means?”

When Sora did not answer, she continued:

“The Nordmann girls don’t have any first cousins and their great-grandmother was the last moirae from their line. One of the Nordmann girls is a moirae,” she said. “And Rene does have cousins, so she might not be a moirae but there’s always the possibility. We’re keeping this from them because we want to keep the moirae unknown for as long as possible. It’s safer for them if no one knows who they are.”

Seventh Recollection: The Ones Among Men (Part Five)

Hi there! I know I sort of dropped off the face of the planet. Along with taking a summer class, having an internship and working, this summer has been one of friendship and self discovery for me. Well, for the most part, I have things sorted out now though, so I’m getting back on track on my manuscript.

– Lizzy

“Girls, come eat!” Karen shouted.

Downstairs, the three could hear the younger Nordmann girls squealing. As they came to the living room, the two ran past them and circled around to the kitchen with Shouta close behind. He was walking with his arms held rigid and a smear of ketchup dripping down from his mouth. When he saw the three older girls come downstairs, he quickly stood back upright and rubbed the ketchup off his face. 

“What?” he asked when the three looked at him. “It was their idea.”

Sora snorted. “Whatever, zombie. Let’s go eat.”

The four headed to the dining room. The Nordmann daughters and Henry were already seated. Sora sat between Rene and her brother that night, the younger girl looking a bit tense and displaced. The Nordmann girls were being noisy, like always, and she assumed the bewildered expression on the new girl’s face was due to her usually quiet lifestyle. Eir, Henry and Karen sat across the table from the children.

“Where’s Anders?” Sora asked.

“He couldn’t make it tonight; he had some business to attend to,” Henry said.

“Oh.”

After they began the meal, Karen said, “Eir has an announcement to make.”

The children all turned their attention to the aunt.

“I’m moving down here next week.”

“Really?” Samantha said.

“Yes; I finally got the chance to transfer, so here I am.”

“Where will you live?” Amy asked. “Are you going to live next door like Uncle Anders?”

Eir laughed. “Unfortunately, no. I’ve rented an apartment in town.”

After dinner, the Evangeline children and Rene left for the night. The older Nordmann daughters retired to their rooms to attend to their homework, the youngest nodded off in the family room and the sisters cleaned up the dining room table.

“Thanks for letting me visit,” Eir said. “It was nice to see the girls and twins again.”

“Anytime,” her sister said. “You’re welcome to drop by and cook for me as many times a year as you like!” She laughed. After a brief pause in which the two continued to collect the dishes, she said, “Eir, why are you really moving back down here?”

“You know exactly why.”

Karen looked up at her sister. “You know Anders is here. The twins will be alright.”

“After what happened last week, you can hardly call one man protection enough.”

“You don’t have to do this; you have a life up there, in Fargo.”

“My life won’t change much,” Eir said. “I don’t have family up there. My co-workers are my friends. Trust me; I’ll be just as content here.”

“Haven’t you already given enough to the Alliance, Eir? Give yourself a break, live your life, settle down. I know it’s important to you but the Alliance has gotten you into enough trouble in the past as is. Let Anders take care of the kids.”

“Karen, I don’t think you’re grasping the gravity of the situation.”

“I grasp it quite well, thank you,” her sister said.

“No, you don’t. Someone found the twins,” she said. “And there will be more.”

Seventh Recollection: The Ones Among Men (Part 4)

As the two spoke, Sora twisted in her seat and noticed something sitting on Taryn’s desk. It was an old piece of paper with those same strange characters the blonde had shown her last week. This time, though, they were arranged in neat columns. She picked up the paper and, after studying it, held it out towards the blonde.

“Taryn,” she said. “Where did you find this?”

The blonde looked to the piece of paper Sora was holding up. “I told you, I found them in the storage room. Mom took them away last time but I managed to hide that one.”

“Can I see that?” Rene asked.

Sora handed it to her.

“I thought so,” she said, “I’ve seen these in some of Dad’s old papers and letters. I’ve never seen them used as a language though; they were always used briefly as symbols.”

“Can you read it?” Sora asked.

“Yeah,” she said. “I’ve never learned this language before though.”

“Me neither,” Sora said.

Taryn peered over Rene’s shoulder. “I don’t know, guys; it looks like gibberish to me. Care to read it out loud?”

“It’s a poem,” Rene said. “It says,

Long ago we saw the winged-ones walk among us.

Once they did not veil their noble fire,

Though unseen the winged-ones still stand beside us.

 

With the airborne children we once would coalesce,

For to be with us was their desire,

Long ago we saw the winged-ones walk among us.

 

There was time when they would dance upon our requests,

They skimmed the earth with harp and lyre,

Though unseen the winged-ones still stand beside us.

 

We indulged in the ethereal ones’ fleeting caress,

And our eyes in their silken gowns weaved to inspire,

Long ago we saw the winged-ones walk among us.

 

We grew abundant and eclipsed those we wished to impress,

And with a sad heart vanished the forgotten flyer,

Though unseen the winged-ones still stand beside us.

 

But in twilight or with the rising sun some profess,

To see through the illusions of the flyer,

Long ago we saw the winged-ones walk among us.

Though unseen the winged-ones still stand beside us.

“So, what? It’s about angels, right?” Taryn said.

“I don’t know,” the younger girl said. “They sound like angels.”

“Can I borrow that?” Sora asked.

“Sure,” Taryn said. “If I sneak some more of them, would you read them to me? I want to know why Mom has these weird papers.”

“Me too,” Rene said. “I want to know why both our families have them.”

Seventh Recollection: The Ones Among Men (Part 3)

While the three girls headed upstairs, Shouta stayed down in the living room with the younger Nordmann girls. Taryn ushered the two into her room, bounced onto her bed and motioned for Rene to sit next to her on her fluffy white comforter. Sora took the chair at the blonde’s oak desk while Rene took in the artist’s room.

Wolves howled to the moon on the pillows decorating her bed and on a tie blanket that had been thrown at the end of the bed in a crumpled pile. Beside the desk Sora sat at was an easel with an unfinished painting perched upon it. Despite her parents’ orders, Taryn had painted all over her walls; her greatest work being the wall left of her window. On it, a snowy dreamscape swirled with tempest. Evergreen trees lined the horizon and at the forefront of the painting a gallant eight-legged horse braved the storm. Wolves trailed the horse and when Rene rose to stand closer to the painting, she could make out the smallest details of the wolves’ majestic coats, the gleaming eyes and the deep, defining shadows across the horse’s chiseled features.

“Like it?” Taryn asked. “That wall is my pride and joy.”

“You’re incredible, Taryn,” Rene said. “I could never paint like this.”

“Well, I spend a lot of time behind that easel,” she said. “Ask Sora.”

“She spends too much time behind it,” Sora said.

Rene chuckled. “Still, you have talent,” she said, touching the horse. “This is Sleipnir, the fastest horse in the world. Who’s the woman, though? Sleipnir belongs to Odin.”

“I’m not really sure myself,” the blonde said. “She just came to me while I was painting and, well, I thought she belonged on Sleipnir.”

“Can I watch you paint sometime?”

“Sure,” the blonde said. “I didn’t know you were into art, though.”

“I like to draw,” Rene said, “but your paintings make me want to paint, too.”

Seventh Recollection: The Ones Among Men (Part 2)

They stood before the Nordmann’s front door now. Still carrying on the conversation, Taryn swung the door open and ushered the three into the house. “Let’s make plans then,” she said as she shut the door behind them. “When and you’ve got to give us your address.”

“Saturday is fine,” Sora said. “Shouta’s laid up and can’t do anything all weekend anyway. Give me some paper and I’ll write down the address.”

The four went further inside the house to use the dining table as a writing surface. Taryn dug paper out of her bag and Sora took it. With pen already in hand, she wrote down the address twice, ripped the sheet in half then gave one to Taryn. “There. Don’t forget; I’m expecting you,” she said as she handed the second one to Rene.

In the kitchen a cascade of pots crashed to the floor. “Karen, clumsy as always I see,” said another female voice. Feet scuffled and disgruntled muttering floated into the dining hall as the women gathered the pots back up.

“Mom, Eir, we’re home,” Taryn said.

“Who’s we? Are the twins here to see me?” the aunt asked, stepping into view.

Eir reminded Sora of winter. Her cropped hair, fluffy like snow, grew a shade of blonde so bright it could easily be mistaken for white. She was the eldest of the Baardsons and, unfortunately, lived on the opposite side of the state. Despite this, she did come down to the cities frequently, and Sora always loved her visits.

“Sora, Shouta! Come give Auntie a hug,” Eir said upon sighting the two.

Sora leapt into the woman’s open arms. Eir gave her a squeeze and a hearty thump on the shoulder. “It’s been as while,” she said, then turned to the boy. “Shouta, you look like you grew an inch or two while I was gone.”

“Really?”

“Of course!” She let go of Sora and hugged the boy. “Anders told me what happened to you arm. Take better care of yourself, alright?”

“Yes, Eir,” he said.

Eir turned to address Rene. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to ignore you. I don’t believe we’ve met before.”

“I’m Rene.”

“Rene?” Eir said, “Why does that name ring a bell?”

“Because she’s Rene Redell,” Karan said, coming out of the kitchen. “Can’t you see it? She looks just like Charlotte.”

“So she does!” Eir said with a chuckle. “It can’t be helped, the last time I saw you, you were just a baby.”

“Wait, how do you already know her?” Taryn said.

“Well, her grandparents are our neighbors,” Karen said, “and we all knew her parents when we were younger. Tell your mom and dad to drop by sometime, okay, dear?”

“I will,” Rene said.

“Dinner will be ready in an hour,” Eir said. “So don’t you rascals all run off on me, alright?”

“Okay, Eir,” Taryn said. “Hey, Rene, you’re into mythology, right?” she asked as they headed to the living room.

“Yeah.”

“Come upstairs then; I gotta show you my room.”

Seventh Recollection: The Ones Among Men (Part 1)

Later that week, Sora was walking down the hall after lectures had ended for the day with Shouta when she caught sight of Rene at her locker. Taryn walked up to the girl and said, “Rene, are you busy tonight? My mom’s making a big dinner; want to come over?”

 “What’s she cooking?” Sora asked as she walked up behind them.

“Hmmm something Norwegian,” Taryn said. “She’s been very interested in family recipes since Auntie Eir came over.”

“Eir’s at your house right now?” Shouta asked, displeasure coloring his expression.

Taryn elbowed him. “As long as she doesn’t make you eat lutefisk again. Remember that, Sora? God, he puked everywhere.

“Shut up,” he said, turning red at the ears.

Rene shut her locker and swung her backpack over her shoulder. The older girls, occupied with humiliating Shouta, turned their attention back to her when they heard the locker. “What do you say? Are you coming over?” Taryn asked.

“Sure.”

The four left the school together after all collected their bags. Four pairs of shoes struck down the pavement together in chaotic rhythm. The twin’s steps fell to the earth softly inside two pairs of sleek, athletic shoes. Even when walking the two appeared to bound forward, just skimming the earth. Taryn loped along behind them, her sandals noisier and her ordinary gait destroying the beat that the Evangeline’s steps made. She chatted casually with the two, her airy voice flitting into the jumble of footsteps and car engines as they followed the sidewalk towards the Nordmann’s home. Rene’s slower stride trailed behind the others, timidity coloring the beat with her regular tennis shoes. As usual, the older girls did their best to drag the new girl into conversations.

“Yeah, Jeffy’s really smart,” Sora was saying to Taryn. “He said he’s going to go to school for engineering.”

“I could care less about what’s in his head,” she said, making a pleased noise.

“That’s gross. You’re talking about my brother.”

“Yeah but your brother is hot.”

“Ew,” the twins said in unison.

“So, Rene,” Taryn said. “Do you have any hot older brothers you’d care to share with us? Well, at least me.”

“I’m an only child,” she said. “It’s just my dad and me at home.”

“Well, you’re always welcome at the Nordmann’s if it gets too quiet,” Sora said. “And I’m sure Angelique wouldn’t mind an extra popping into our place every now and again. You and Taryn could come over this weekend. She hasn’t been to the new place yet either.”

“Wait, your sister’s name is Angelique?” Rene said.

“Yeah?” Sora said. “Why?”

“Never mind.”

Sixth Recollection: Under the Ice (Part 4)

After school, Sora had soccer practice. Though Shouta could not play, he and Taryn lingered nearby together. Since Jeffrey and Angelique would both not be home until late that night, Anders suggested that they stay with him until they could be picked up. By five o’clock, the girl’s team finished practice and Sora walked home with the two. The twins spent dinner with the Nordmann’s and, afterwards, went home with Anders.

Sora and her brother enjoyed the Nordmann’s residence very much, but it was rather noisy and the two were glad for Anders’ quiet living room, where they worked on homework while the television hummed quietly before them. By seven, Sora had finished her assignments and wondered where Anders had gone. She could not hear his heavy footsteps or the washing machine rumbling down in the basement. Just as she rose to go look for him, the front door swung open and he stepped inside.

“Did you go somewhere?” Shouta asked.

“Just called Eir; she’s worried about you both, too,” he said. “Did you finish your homework?’

“Yes.”

“Well, good; I bought some ice cream, if you’d like some.”

“Maybe later,” Shouta said, fixated on the television.

“I’ll have some,” Sora said.

She followed Anders to the kitchen and sat down on one of the barstools. He walked around the counter, to the freezer and retrieved the ice cream. Then he scooped a bowl for Sora, one for himself and handed one to her. She scooped some into her spoon and took a bite.

“What is this? Chocolate and peanut butter?” She laughed. “You always buy weird ice cream; I didn’t even know this existed.”

“But it’s delicious, isn’t it?”

“It’s okay.”

After a pause, she said, “Hey, I had a weird dream today.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. It was about those eyes,” she said. “Anders, you know something about what I saw, don’t you?”

Anders leaned on the counter. “Yes, I do know something, but I’m not sure how much I should tell you yet.”

“Please.”

“I’ll tell you this much,” he said, “since you’ll learn about him sooner or later. He’s a boogeyman of sorts to your kind, the lunar flyers. Some say he’s a man, others say he’s a flyer, and some say he is both; they call him Necromancer, for the death that follows that demon wherever he cares to tread. He used to haunt the mountains of Japan but he became a larger threat with time, so he was locked away by the giants in the North.”

“I thought you said there weren’t any more giants in the world.”

“Well, this happened very long ago, when the giants were still with us,” he said. “Last I heard some mixed blood humans were still guarding the gate.”

“Mixed blood? You mean like you?”

“Yes, but the Baardsons aren’t related to them; the giant blood runs thicker in that line, or so I’ve heard. The winters are too harsh for normal humans but they’ve grown quite comfortable there,” he said. “Anyway, the gate is still guarded so there is no reason for you to worry.”

“Then why do I keep seeing them?”

“You’re probably remembering things.”

“I knew him?”

“Well, your past self spent a lot of time in Japan, so it would not be surprising for you to have met him before.”

“Are you sure he’s still there? Locked up?”

“Yes, Sora, he’s kept far beneath the ices of the North with the entrance guarded; no one save a god could help him escape.”