Chapter 11: Edwin
Highway 57, somewhere between Reyesent and Redvale, Washington
I tried to distract myself as I drove down the empty highway, which probably wasn't a good idea for many reasons, unless I planned on committing suicide. It had only been five or ten minutes ago when that goth girl had drove into town and explained what she saw. Her car had driven up and she'd tumbled out, collapsing on the ground, right outside my building. Maria was asleep at the moment, so I took that chance to go out. And I never planned on going back.
After consoling her for a little bit, we had driven farther into town to find a new place to stay. We had found this building that was next to Club Candy, hoping that it was deserted. I had left the girl (Violet) on the first floor and we agreed that she wouldn't go up to any more levels. I, being the idiot I usually was, promised to go back into the mountains and bring her sister back, safe and sound. Now, part of me was regretting that decision, but another part of me was glad to get out of that horrid apartment with my former love.
As I started driving into the Redvale mountains I remembered how beautiful Violet had looked, even despite her tears. Her long black hair was still shiny and her eyes were a captivating shade of indigo. Maybe that was one of the reasons why I had decided to try to do something nice for her. But as the car continued to drive up farther into Redvale and bits and pieces of the Verthollow hotel came into sight, I was began to wonder if I was risking my own life. After everything that had happened, it wouldn't surprise me if I died right here and now. Pushing back those thoughts, I drove the last few yards into the main parking lot, which was surprisingly filled with cars, although the whole property seemed dead silent.
As I got out of the car I realized something odd; there were no birds. The Redvale mountains were famous for their large collection of blue jays and cardinals, but now there was only silence. I shut the door and began to walk up to the front steps. I looked over and saw a pile of clothes and what might be a limb or two coated with thick layers of flies. I gagged a little and hurried by.
Taking the steps two at a time, I wondered why I was so eager to step inside this building. From what Violet had told me it was like stepping into hell itself. Maybe I was just destined to walk right into evil's clutches without hesitation. I placed my hands on the door handle and opened. I was met with a cold gust of wind and I automatically folded my arms across my chest and tried to warm myself up. Goose bumps went up along my skin and I started shivering a little. The door shut behind me and a moment later I heard running footsteps on the floor above me.
I found a leather sofa and ducked down behind it, pressing my head against the floor to see if I could get a look at whomever had come down here. The gap between the floor and the couch wasn't too large, but I could still make out full figures if I strained my eyes a little. What I saw was a little girl in ripped overalls and knotted black hair, skin that had a bit of a green tint to it and freakishly long nails. Her eyes were wild and bloodshot and she seemed to almost be foaming at the mouth.
I could both see and hear her breathing heavily through her nose, her nostrils flaring. She took a few lurching steps forward and looked around, then walked a little further. She wasn't coming in my direction, but none the less, she seemed to be looking for something. Suddenly, the little girl took off in my opposite direction and hid behind a pillar on the other side of the room. A second later a pair of doors opened at the back of the lobby and a young woman stepped out. Her dress was long and black and her hair was long and purple, some of the ends were pink and blue. She seemed to have golden cat eyes that had an eerie blue glow to them.
I suddenly felt colder as I continued to watch her. She walked forward a little, towards the place where the little possessed girl was hiding. Suddenly, the little girl jumped out from her hiding and place and ran towards the purpled haired woman. Startled, the woman took a step back and held up her hands. Just as the little girl jumped towards her, ice seemed to come up from the ground and incase her attacker. I stared, half in horror, half in awe, as woman took a few steps away and looked down at her hands, which seemed to sparkle a little. The little girl's frozen position consisted of one of her hands reached out, her mouth open and her eyes narrowed.
I decided to take my chances and stood up. "Um, excuse me," I started, but the young woman spun around and before I knew it shards of ice were being flung at me. I ducked down and saw the pieces of cold ammunition stab the wall behind me. "Wait! Wait!" Shaking, I put my hands in the air and slowly stood up again. The woman lowered her hands and looked at me.
"What's going on?" she asked.
I shook my head, "I don't know," I replied. "I was hoping you would have the answer," I started walking toward her, putting my arms down. "I'm Edwin," I reached out my hand.
"I'm Rosalie," she reached out her own hand and shook mine. I was relieved that her hand's weren't as cold as I had guessed them to be.
"Um," I wasn't exactly sure what to say, "How did you…?" I gestured toward the frozen girl and the ice that was now stuck to the wall.
"I was locked in the freezer back there for a long time," she shrugged, "I guess something must've happened." Rosalie looked over at the girl she had probably killed by now, seeing as she'd been deprived of oxygen for a while. "Do you know her?"
I shook my head, "I think she's the sister of…" I thought of what to say, "Of a friend of mine,"
"Violet," Rosalie finished my thought and I nodded.
"What was wrong with her?" I gestured toward Violet's sister. Rosalie shrugged again. "Do you think she's dead?" I asked.
"Probably," Rosalie replied, "But there's no way I'm letting her out now," I nodded. Then, a thought occurred to me.
"Hey," Rosalie looked up at me, "Do you think you could turn water into ice?" I asked.
"I don't know," she replied, "Why?" I thought about what Violet had said earlier about the road disappearing and being replaced with water.
"There's something I need to show you. Follow me," I started walking toward the front door and was surprised that Rosalie followed me without questioning my motives. We drove away from the hotel in silence and drove until we came to the place Violet had told me about. The two of up stepped out of the car and we walked to the edge. Rosalie bent down and put a few fingers in the water, then got up and shook the droplets onto the pavement.
Without a word from me, she took a deep breath, raised her hands, and then pushed them forward. The first few feet of water developed a thin layer of ice, but the rest of it remained untouched. Rosalie tried again, harder this time, but didn't get any father. "I guess I just need more time to practice with these…" she trailed off, "Powers?"
"I guess so," I replied, "Hey, speaking of things that aren't exactly normal," I had a short flash back to the crowd of zombies beneath my window, "Do you have any idea what's going on? The city's a wreck,"
Rosalie suddenly looked alarmed, "Why? Are other people possessed too?" That thought hadn't really occurred to me and a new wave of fear washed over me.
"Not exactly," I replied cautiously, "At least, I haven't seen anyone who's possessed…" I trailed off and she looked at me curiously. I began again, "See, the whole city is pretty much destroyed," her eyes grew wide again, "People are dying, our communication with the outside seems to be cut off, and I'm sure that's only the beginning of it,"
"Is it safe to go back?" Rosalie asked. I felt bad for breaking this news to her after all she must've gone through.
"Safe enough," I think, I added silently. "I mean, I've made it so far, right?" I laughed nervously and Rosalie gave me a weak smile. "We might as well go back," I added, "Violet and I found a place to stay until this whole thing blows over. I think we'll be okay," Rosalie nodded and looked down as she walked back to the car with me. The two of us slid into the front seats, turned around, and headed back.
As the car started to get into the city, Rosalie looked around, dumbstruck. I couldn't blame her, I still couldn't believe that practically everything was in ruins. The sun was shining, but smoke still hung in the air, so the light that came through was filtered and eerie, almost foreboding. We pulled up to the building I'd found and got out. I walked over to the door and heard voices inside. I couldn't make out what they were saying, but there was definitely someone other than Violet in there.
I saw a pipe a few feet away from me, but before I went to grab it I looked back at Rosalie. She looked at me quizzically as I motioned for her to come over. She stood in front of me with her hands up as I opened the door and the two of us stepped in. Violet, along with a young blond haired woman, stood up suddenly and looked at us in alarm. I sighed in relief and Rosalie put her hands down. "Edwin," Violet greeted me, "I think you've heard of DJ Candy Supergroove," she motioned toward the blond standing across from her. Despite the situation, a smile broke onto my face as I recognized one of the most popular DJs in the northwest.
Remembering my own companion, I motioned toward Rosalie, "This is Rosalie," I said, "She was in the hotel with…" I didn't know if I should mention Violet's sister or not.
Violet smiled, "I know, we've met." A look of concern suddenly crossed her face, "How's Poppy?" Rosalie's friendly face became one of sadness.
"I'm afraid that she's…" she searched for the right words, "Gone. Frozen, to be exact," Before Violet could say anything, Candy spoke up.
"I'm really sorry to break this moment of mourning," she said, "But even though Poppy's life is gone, we can't dwell on that fact for too long, otherwise our lives might be gone too. We have no food, no medical supply, no water, no communications, and no weapons. I've seen what's out there, I've seen what's being done to people, and four normal people like us aren't going to live for that long if we remain the way we are,"
"Actually," I cut in, "Three normal people and Rosalie." The three of us looked at Rosalie, who looked a little surprised. Then she understood and held out her hand, which slowly began to envelope itself in ice.
"Damn.." Candy took a few steps closer. "I guess we do have water and some way of protecting us," she continued, "But we still need food. I haven't tried to go down to Saper's yet, but if one of you want to go," she took a step back.
"I'll go," I spoke up suddenly. I realized that I didn't really mind going outside so much and running errands. Edwin, who used to sit around, eating mayonnaise out of the jar, and wasting his life away was going to become a hero in this apocalyptic world.
"I'll come with you," Rosalie added as she started walking back toward the door. I nodded and looked back at Violet and Candy.
"Can the two of you do some stuff around here?" I asked. "Violet, maybe you could arrange some place for us to sleep and keep food, if and when we're able to bring some back," I felt my voice waver a little as I said this, "And Candy, do you think you could try to get some sort of phone or internet working? Maybe if we can reach another city they can tell us what's going on," Candy nodded and as Rosalie and I walked toward the door, Violet ran over to me.
"Be careful, okay?" I nodded at her request and turned back around. Rosalie and I stepped out of the door and I took a long breath of polluted air.
"I wonder how this happened," I asked to no one in particular, as I stepped into the car and turned on the ignition.
As Edwin and Rosalie began the short drive down to the grocery store, they had no idea what really awaited them there.