All I could see was silver.
My eyes were blurry, and there was a hellish throbbing in my head. I groaned, attempting to sit up, or move, for that matter, but something was holding me down, and I wasn’t sure what, so I gave up until I could figure out what was going on.
As I slowly came to, I realized I was on the roof of the smashed trolley, and it was upside down. A row of heavy plastic seats was pushing me down, laying on top of me and pinning me. My breath was coming in short gasps, and due to the searing pain in my side, I was pretty sure I broke a rib, or at least bruised it badly.
My head felt wet, and I wasn’t sure why. Not sure how to get out from under the seats, I started thrashing, onto to hear a metallic groan, as well as the fact we were moving slightly back and forth. I froze, and after a few seconds, the shaking stopped.
I squirmed slightly now, and managed to get around a foot out from under the seats, freeing my arm. The side of the trolley wall that was ripped showed me that we were still up in the air, but not that far from the ground. Maybe a hundred feet or two hundred, at my best guess.
What the hell was holding us…?
Carefully, I managed to pull myself out the rest of the way, checking myself for possible scrapes or bruises or blood or broken bones, not quite in that order. I… I was OK, except for bruises and scrapes. No broken bones, so that was a plus. Varian's charm was still in my hand- it was a miracle I didn’t lose it. I stared at it for a few more seconds, before stuffing it in my pocket. Looking around, I noticed Mocha was gone. I... I hope she was OK. I’ve had Mocha for several years now- she was a gift from mom, after a certain incident happened when I was seven or eight, and I lost my goldfish. She (My mom, not the Goldfish) found a limp, bedraggled bird a cat was trying to haul off- we brought pets up with the Elevation, and a few got out and became feral, so we have a cat population now as well- and not only chased the cat till it DROPPED the poor bird, she brought it back for me.
I stood up carefully, and stared out the window.
It was the cable.
The cable was wrapped around the Trolley car as it snapped, and it had smashed into the side of the bridge, now upside down. Tangled all around it, the cable held it in place, and it was even swaying faintly in the wind. I swallowed audibly, and slowly started walking to what I hoped was the front of the trolley, spying my little pack. Most of the pencils were actually visible- I saw my pencils all in the same package that I kept them, along with my pens, but a few of my bits of charcoal were scattered here and there. I weighed the option- my art, or my life.
I proved that the charm around my neck was the one for me as I slowly walked towards my bookbag, which was still hooked on a seat, and grasped it, crouching down and scooping up the pencil and pen cases, and attempted to grasp as many charcoal pieces as I could. Thankfully, my drawing pads were still in the bag, too large to have fallen out. My rib ached and burned as I bend down, and I almost suppressed a wince, but then I realized there was no one around to see it.
Then it hit me harder.
There’s no one around at all. No one around to see me. I wouldn’t be found for hours.
Maybe even days.
I started to get really unnerved at that thought. The expression ‘no one can hear you scream’ was enough to almost send me into a bout of hysterics, as my mother calls it. My mother who has no idea that I’m currently dangling like a rag-doll on a string. I had to get out, or SOMETHING! I couldn’t just wait here… The trolley itself could fall again, and this time, I don’t think I would make it this time around.
Creeping closer to the edge of the rip in the wall, I peered out. I wasn’t that high up, from the Ground, at least. I could make out several plots of what looked like some sort of flats or another, a broken and battered concrete city looming off eerily in the distance, giving us all a reminder of what we used to be until the Sickness. As I looked up, I slowly realized I had no hope of climbing back up there. The closest catwalks were crushed, and so were the old stairs. I had no hope of getting to them, and I certainly wasn’t a superhero of old, who could leap tall buildings. I could really use a superhero right about now, actually. My doves gone, and I could die. I really need a superhero.
Sadly, I don’t think they could hear me.
I closed my eyes, trembling slightly. I had to get out. I had to. But I’m terrified. I’m so, so terrified. Taking a shaky breath, I slowly went to the other side of the trolley, where there was another rip in the wall, like a giant just took it and threw it sheer across the land. But it was close enough that I should be able to grab onto a bit of metal…
I tentatively reached out, the bag I took with swinging from my shoulder, slightly throwing me off balance. I really didn’t want to lose this damn bag, even if it meant the literal death of me. This has my drawing stuff in it. I am not loosing my drawing stuff. I swung the strap over my right shoulder, the bag hanging off my left side, making it press more against my side and not swinging wildly. That was a bit better.
I reached out as far as I could, my fingers grasping at the stupid metal bar. If I could just get closer…
I tried leaning out as far as I could, and it was the stupidest thing I had ever done, honestly. The trolley was blasted in a gust of wind, and swung out wildly, and I yelped as I felt my body falling out the side of the trolley. Grasping frantically, I slammed violently into a broken catwalk, and there was a horrible screeching noise. Quite possibly it was me, since my rib was burning horribly now, my vision blurring as my head collided with the metal below. I’m proud to say my priorities are straight, as I instantly checked to see if my back was still there instead of pressing my hands on my side. Thankfully, it was there. But i didn’t want to move anymore. It really, really hurt. I tried to sit back up, and a whimper escaped my lips, as I laid right back down. Couldn’t do that. It still really hurt. It hurt badly. I don’t really want to move, truthfully.
As i started to close my eyes, I heard a metallic scream, and I watched the rest of the trolley plummet to… I don’t know anymore… I’m tired. It’s cold. I could feel the wind ripping against my skin, and I couldn’t fight it. I don’t want to curl up. I want to sleep.
Something wasn’t right.
That was the first thought that came to me when I woke up.
Something was SERIOUSLY not right.
I couldn’t hear Mocha cooing like normal if I overslept, and my blanket felt more scratchy, not soft and silky.
Then it hit me as I finally realized I wasn’t supposed to be at home. Ive been realizing these things quite often, don't I?
The last place I was, I was curled up on a metal catwalk, not under my sheets. But I didn’t really feel cold, and the blanket was so scratchy, I certainly didn’t think I was dead. Maybe I was in this fabled ‘Hell’ that was mentioned a lot by those who still clung to the old religions, such as Christianity or Buddhism, Hindu or… Well, any other. After time, they all got so blurred, we couldn’t distinguish one from the other. All that separates them is names and the names of the Gods that they mentioned, that they pray to, and what punishments those beings. I do believe that… There is a God, but i don’t know which one. We can’t really talk about it in Laylynn- could offend someone. I hope there is a God somewhere, since I feel like I’m going to die at the moment. My head was throbbing horribly, and my rib still ached, but it also felt like I was bandaged up. I hope my mother was ok. I didn’t know what day it was, and as I racked my drowsy brain, I realised that I wasn’t all that sure what day it was when that trolley Varian warned me about fell. I really should have listened to Varian. But who the hell told her that it was going to fall in the first place? There was a possibility that I was in the Laylynn Memorable Hospital, like back when I was six and I accidentally ate a bit of shellfish from our ‘Cultural Fair’ at the school without knowing I was allergic to them. But if my memory serves me right, I’m pretty certain that the blankets there were smooth, and it didn’t smell like grass.
I opened my eyes, to see someone looking right back at me.
“GAAAAAH!” a male voice screamed, and the eyes disappeared. There was a rough slamming noise, and something that sounded like breaking glass. “DON'T SCARE ME LIKE THAT, GIRL!”
Even as sore as I was, that pissed me right off. “EXCUSE ME,” I rasped out, fairly surprised to find that my voice was weary, no matter how much I yelled. “BUT I DIDN’T EXACTLY NOTICE YOU WERE THERE! I MIGHT HAVE BEEN… OH, I DUNNO, PASSED THE FRICK OUT?!”
There was a silence I could only hope was a stunned one.
Then someone, most likely the male, started laughing, extremely hard.
I sat up as slowly as possible, gingerly feeling out my ribs. Surprisingly, my rib was mainly fine, but that didn’t stop the room from spinning. Maybe my rib wasn’t actually broken in the first place, but bruised.
I looked around the room a fair bit more.
The really, really odd room.
Ignoring the guy on the floor, I continued. The walls almost looked like they were made out of mud, this ‘Adobe’ we learned about in Structural Design class- a extra-credit class I took for fun- but they were painted over with a soft creamy yellow. The floor looked like it was polished wood planks, and the place had a earthy smell. There was two Plexiglass windows (I assumed they were plexiglass), one facing the sun and the other facing the north. Or south. It was actually a pretty small room, but I was on a warm cot, at least, and it was pretty comfy. Not the blanket, however. And the cot was still not as comfy as the ones back up in my place-
“...Where am I…?” I slowly questioned, looking around for the male.
Then he stood up.
He dusted off his green cargo shorts, peering at me with eyes of dark forest green, and a red paisley bandana was holding his black fluffy hair in check. It was longer, but I recognized it. A tan compass was slung around his neck, almost blending with his khaki tank top and the green vest with no sleeves.
“You’re outside of Old Jersey, down in what I call Shatfeild, but it’s ‘proper’ name is Shielfield.” Apparently, this boy didn’t know of manners. He also was the exact same guy I drew.
“Are… You kidding me?” I spoke, pretty much voicing both of my concerns.
“...No…” he stared at me like I hit my head. Which I think I did. He was more wiry and muscular then my picture, and had more scars on his arms, but it was the same guy from my picture.
“Where’s my sketchbook?! What the Hell is Old Jersey? I’ve never heard of that city anywhere. Might have been a place back before the Elevation and the Sickness, bu-” I froze. “AM I ON THE GROUND!? WHERE’S MY BAG!? AM I ON THE GROUND!” the last sentence came more of shock then a question.
“What the-” He looked concerned. I was talking to a GROUNDIE. A EARTHLING. That was slightly shocking to think about. All the lessons on politeness my mother forced down my throat magically went out the window when I realized I had no clue what was going on or why it was going on.
“You need to STOP, before you give yourself a heart attack, for your own sake!” the guy snapped, looking at me like I was insane.
“WHERE. IS. MY. SKETCHBOOK?!” I demanded instead.
“I’ll get the stupid thing! RELAX!” he snapped, frowning intensely at my hysterics. He stood up, and quickly walked away, his combat boots stomping on the hardwood floor.
I took a little more time to look around the room. All over the walls were handmade shelves of a light colored wood, and they had bottles of all kinds and colors. Glass, plastic, wood... It was pretty cool to look at.
I slowly set my feet gingerly on the floor, testing them. Yeah, I could stand. I felt pretty woozy as I walked to the window, but I could stand.
Staring out the window, it was more than a bit of a shock. I seemed to be on… Maybe a second floor. The land below was mostly brownish yellow tall grass that would come up to my knees, and the dark earth under it. There were trees and wind chimes blowing on the breeze, making soft music, and there was the soft ‘shhhh, shhhh’ of the grass in the wind. It was…… It was really pretty. It wasn’t manicured. But since I lived around manicured lawns all my life, this was more than a bit of a shock. The biggest tree was actually very close by- It held the most wind chimes, and I could see old fashioned birdhouses. The branches seemed to spread for forever, with the massive trunk reaching up into the sky. I bet I could make a good joke about getting back to Laylynn on this single tree.
I stared out the window for a bit longer, drinking it all in, when I heard the loud thumping again. He was back. I didn’t bother to move as he walked through the door.
“Hey, Girl. I need to ask why you’re stalking me, because I’m pretty sure- WHAT THE HELL!? WHY AREN’T YOU ON THE FREAKING BED?!”
“BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO BE ON THE FREAKING BED, I WANT TO LOOK OUT THE FREAKING WINDOW.” I snapped right back. This was a defense mechanism of my own- someone yells, I yell. Also saying freaking was pretty fun.
“YOU ARE A WEIRD PERSON. Here’s your freakin’ sketch book, by the way. Why am I in it…?” he threw it on the bed as if it was a discarded piece of trash.
Alright, buddy. Last straw. No one handles my sketchbooks like that.
“Excuse me, but i don’t know why I drew you! It just hit me as a idea and I absentmindedly doodled it! I’m from Laylynn, I’ve never seen you in my LIFE!” I snapped, marching over. That really kicked my headache up, actually. Bad idea on my part, but I was proving my point.
“...” he paused right there, one hand on his hip with a cocky expression. Or maybe that was just his default expression. “...Laylynn…?”
“Yes. Laylynn. Flower of Hope, The First City Of The New World, THAT one.” I stared him down, looking directly into his green eyes, which held a expression of confusion. Made my glare seem pointless. So I decided to stop, now just staring.
“...So you ARE a Elevator..?” that popped out of his mouth.
Well, didn’t expect that.
“...Say what, now?”
“A elevator. Someone who has, or whose families in the past, had Elevated to get away from all the ash and the Sickness?” He questioned. He must have gotten tired of standing, so he sat on the edge of the bed, looking me over. I was tired as well, but I would hold my ground.
I sat on the edge, making sure I wasn’t that close to him, looking my bag over. It was fine, really, and hopefully my art supplies were as well. I didn’t want to seem any more rude, since I already snapped in this guys face.
“Well… Yeah. I think it was my mother’s grandparents that decided to up and leave for the fabled Laylynn back in… Er… 2036. By that time, the Sickness had spread, killing a huge chunk off our family. We still have genetics we can’t really explain that comes up- Most of my family in Laylynn is small, dad and mom’s side- wonder which side named me Astra- and yet, here I am, a tree trunk in the world of flowers.” I huffed a bit, thinking about all those times Joshua back in grade school, AND high school, called me ‘Treestra’ off of my name Astra. It was one of my biggest pet peeves, and he was that person who knew it and kept using it against me. At least it wasn’t Godzilla.
“Hey, you can’t climb a flower.” He casually argued. Which confused me to no end.
I slowly turned to look at him. “...Why would you climb a flower, or a tree trunk.?”
His expression turned from mirth to utter horror. “...Do you not have trees up there?!?!?”
“Well, we do… Like… one big one in the park, and a bunch of small bushes and aspen trees...” I blinked. This guy, was weird.
“Well, haven’t you wanted to climb one?!”
“NO! There’s barely any dirt up there!!! The trees grow all tiny and shrewd, like awkward little potatoes who haven’t found their place in life, and quite frankly, they’re ugly.” To be called a Tree in Laylynn, or any other cities that were above Ground, was an insult like no other.
He continued to stare, before bursting into uproarious laughter. I frowned as he actually fell off the bed, clutching at his stomach, gasping for air, tears leaking from his eyes. “AWKWARD LITTLE POT-T-T-T-T-TATOES, OH HOLY ALMIGHTY-”
“But they are!!!” After rethinking my choice of words, I started laughing as well. It was pretty stupid of me to compare a tree to a potato.
“M-Man, i thought you Elevators would have had better trees. YOU have better tech, after all.”
“It’s not all that good. Sometimes the systems freeze up when we try to use our Charms, and instead of showing my name and grade, it once started playing a theme song from a anime long ago.” I shrugged. I wasn’t sure what happened that day, but Iris started laughing her head off for no reason. At least, not a reason I could find.
“Let me guess… Sailor Moon…?” he tilted his head, which was impressive, due to the fact that he was sprawled out on the damn floor.
“How…?” Instead of finishing my sentence I just stared at him a bit.
“Your name. It means Star.” he grinned a bit, flashing his slightly crooked smile. “You know that, right?”
“Yeah, I did, but still…” I wondered how he knew it.
“Before, during, and after the sickness, my friends family tree consisted of a bunch of huge anime fans. In fact, his grandmother does this thing called ‘Cosplay’ and dresses up as different characters from her favorite animes. It’s still funny to see this seventy year old woman jumping around and yelling about ‘Lucky Star’ with her bright blue wig.”
“That still doesn't answer how you know my name, though…” I raised my eyebrow. There was a difference between raising and arching. Raising was interested. Arching was tired of your crap.
“Remember my friends grandmother? She also really likes finding old words and seeing what they mean. My last name, according to her, is Wolf. Also she kept on pointing things out as she forced me to watch old ‘DVDs’ of Sailor Moon.”
I snickered a bit, laughing quietly at that. “Wow. she must have really liked it. Several people in my high school also are ‘fangirls’, as they call themselves, and a few are even Fanboys. My fangirl and fanboy friends include… Symon, Sophie, Iris, and Varian.” I paused, feeling a sudden pang of homesickness. I had to force myself to remember where I am. I’m not in Laylynn, I’m on the ground, away from my friends, and my school-
“OH, crap. How long was i out of it?” I turned towards the guy, whose name I still didn’t know. He blinked, absentmindedly scratching at a long, thin pale white scar on the side of his left forearm.
“You… well, we found you two days ago, when we heard the trolley fall. Scavengers found you, actually, and brought you here. Benji’s a healer- he fixed you up.”
“...Who’s Benji?” I tilted my head.
“A healer.” he grinned.
I frowned at him. “And who are you?”
“Zach. Zach Whelan. I know your Astra, as you had mentioned it, Starry.” he grinned a bit.
“Yes. That is your nickname and you cannot escape it now.”
“...Your weird.” I turned away. I was relieved to find I was wearing the same thing as I had put on in Laelynn, really. I wouldn’t have wanted anyone to have CHANGED me or have tried to.
“And you’re not? You were more worried about where your sketchbook was instead of ‘why the hell am I in a weird place’.” Zach rolled his eyes a bit as I looked back at just that moment.
“Excuse me, but I value that sketchbook as much as I value my life, even more. Because if I don’t draw, what is there to life?” I tilted my head slightly.
“Oh, ha, ha, ha, Zach Whelan. You’re so funny.” I drawled, a bit of mocking in my tone, eyeing him.
“Hey, at least I try. But you? You can just naturally be nasty. Not even I can do that.” He pressed his hand over his heart, like he was God’s gift to sarcasm.
Instead of replying, I grabbed my bag and smacked him over the head with it.
“H-HEY!!! I’M RIGHT, AREN’T I?!” he yelped, shooting off the bed like I was a bomb, and shot out the door.
I rolled my eyes, checking to make sure his hard head didn’t damage anything. Satisfied that it didn’t, I leaned back onto the bed, mulling things over in my mind. I… well, I don’t think I have much of a clear path of getting back to Laylynn if I really tried… There was the possibility that someone would start searching for me, or maybe they already have. It’s been two days. I sighed heavily, and pulled out my sketch book. Honestly? I have no idea what to do. In all those movies we go and see, the hero or heroine always seems to make a perfect plan that does not fail, and the others just crumble and fall and start crying. It’s not like that. Sometimes we don’t know what to do. We’re upset, but we won’t cry, we have ideas, but not glamorous ones. Right now, I’m neither a heroine or a crier. I’m just a background character that was dragged into this situation with no clue whats going on.
I palmed a few pencils, and close a lighter, mechanical graphite one. I had lost a fair amount, but I still have some, at least, so my time won’t COMPLETELY be wasted.
Curling up now, I leaned my sketchbook against my knees, ignoring my now throbbing rib, and started to sketch. I was attempting to draw what I had seen outside, actually. The pretty tree with all the wind chimes, and the grass. Sadly, it wasn’t a very good drawing of a tree…. I don’t draw full, pretty trees like these often. I found myself glancing more and more at the window, almost trying to get a glimpse of it. Yet, I couldn’t see it from there.
Getting right back to my feet, I crept over, looking out the window again, trying to be slow, as to not get my head spinning again. If I sat in the patch of sun that was coming from the window, I could easily see the tree from right there. Grinning at my achievement, I sat down slowly, feeling the warm sun, and started sketching the tree again, now. Perfect.
It felt like a hour or so, but I bet it wasn’t. I had to keep moving over to stay in the patch of sun, as I struggled to complete my drawing as the sun became higher and higher in the sky. I loved the feeling of sketching or drawing, or simply doodling. The feeling of my hands flying over the page, the soft grating of the graphite on paper, it was like a drug to me, really. But the real drugs….. Were a bit of a sore subject, in Laylynn. They claimed a lot of lives before the sickness, but there still is drugs around, actually. They supposedly come from the Ground, and then were sold to students and people… Somehow. The most famous drug, Sugary Kiss, was actually not that expensive, only around twenty bucks a small vial. The reason I know this, was I was once offered. I kept quiet about it... but I still remember it. He was pretty tall, around six foot five or seven, and he had quite pale skin, and scarring on his face. His short black hair was pretty stringy and oily, really. He was wearing a black trenchcoat, and looked pretty well dressed. After having a quick chat with me, he realized I wasn’t his clientele. He also had told me, ‘Good. Don’t try this stuff, even if it looks good. It’s not. It’ll make your life a living hell.’ and then, he simply walked off.
The memory of this encounter made me pause drawing, staring down at my page. I had gotten the tree pretty well, and had also, drawn what looked like a tire on a rope, with a small figure in the tire, a big one pushing it. The standing one was SERIOUSLY tall, maybe around seven feet, while the other was like… five. That… That wasn’t weird at all… I stared at it a little more. Tires were something from the past, or for Groundies that actually used cars pieced back together from junkyards. Laylynn tries to keep as ‘Nature Friendly’ as possible, which is annoying with those all sleek beans that we rode around in, considering the trees are ugly, there’s barely any birds, and once when they tried to introduce a bunch of bugs, it basically killed off the already unsteady habitat there back when Madre was still a girl. So they SAY it’s nature friendly, but it’s actually quite crappy.
For some reason, it reminded me of a swing in the park I played in as a younger girl. There was different parks for different ages- each one a bit different. The park for younger kids had more safety measures: lower playscapes, more tough walls to keep things out (Don’t know what things, the worst there was consisted of a angry cat) and keep them in like they’re sheep or some other animal. The parks slowly had less and less to play on, and more benches to sit, more plants to look at, more trees, more everything. It became less childish and more natural as time slowly went on. I found it pretty, but it’s kinda sad- even as older people, it’s still pretty fun to do things meant for youngers.
“Are you awake..?” I heard behind me, and i turned to see Zach staring down at me. For some reason, I didn’t hear him come in. “Earth to Starry, there isn’t much interesting in outer space…”
“Excuse me, there’s flaming balls of gas up there that provide a small amount of light up there.” I turned away. “But I can see you’re also a flaming ball of gas right here…”
“Is this coming from the girl whose NAME means a flaming ball of gas?” he decided to sit next to me, for no reason.
“But I don’t smell like one.” I challenged. “You, however…”
“EXCUSE ME, I must tell you I bathe at LEAST once every three or four days!!!” he pretended to look mock offended.
I slowly turned to look at him.
“I’m pretty sure the requirement is that you bathe once every week or two… Ya know, the problem with pumping up thousands of gallons for water to the city..?”
He looked disgusted. “Eww. So you elevators are all filthy up there?”
“There isn’t much to get DIRTY with up there!!!! We don’t have pollution, the parks don’t let you dig, except in the kiddie ones, and we don’t really do a lot of exercise so we don’t sweat much, and when we DO exercise for Physical Fitness, it’s pretty cold up there with the wind always blowing, so the sweat dries in a snap. We also have these things called deodorant.” I tossed my head. Bad choice, with the headache. I keep FORGETTING ABOUT IT!
“Soooooo, you’re a bunch of filthy vagrants.” He summed up horribly.
“...I will smack you.”
“Ohhhh, don’t want that, I’ll get fleas.” he grinned, putting his hands in the air and pretending to shake them.
“Wha- Bu- I JUST SAID,” I snapped, as he started laughing pretty hard.
“I was just joking, Starry. Don’t go up in flames.” he coughed out, chortling slightly.
I let out a soft sigh. “Well, I have nothing to eat, I’m tired, and I’m slowly beginning to hate you. So yeah.”
“I can fix one of those issues.” he stood up.
“Food. everyone hates me one time or another.” He walked out the door again.
...I was not going to lie. That was something pretty depressing and I didn’t think it would come out of his mouth. Way to go, Astra. Way. To. Go.
I sighed, putting the sketchbook and pulling it back closer to me, and slid it back into the bag, closing it all, and making sure the buckles were secure. I didn’t want them to fly out all over the place if I kicked them over. Which I wouldn’t. This was my baby.
I sat back down onto the bed, waiting quietly for Zach to come back. I didn’t really know what I thought of this weird guy. He seemed nice, but he was also more than a bit of a jerk. I guess he was my friend, now.
I hope I can get back up to my other friends, my brain helpfully supplied. I honestly couldn’t get away from that thought. I forced it away, pressing my palm against my forehead. I could be in a worse situation, I guess. Not too bad. These thoughts were those that made me keep my sanity. I think. Or I’m just being dramatic.
I heard the familiar, by now, clomping, and looked up to see Zach walk in with two plates. “One for you to stick your face in, one for me to casually eat from.” he offered one. It was… Pizza. Cheese, mushroom, olives, and… something else i couldn’t make out. Fresh green things. Basil?
“...You eat pizza off a plate? What is wrong with you?” I grasped it thankfully, sniffing it. It smelled… Good. Cooled down a bit. “What… Is it, by the way?”
“Remember that same anime grandmother, again? She makes Bashe pizza. Basil, Mushrooms, and Olive pizza. Weird, but actually really, really good.”
“I kinda want to meet this anime grandma…” I mused, nibbling on the pizza. I liked it, and I was hungry, but I didn’t want to make him think I’m more of a slob by scarfing it down.
“I think she’d like to meet you.” he grinned slightly, and that little ball of fear that you get in your gut when you go into a social situation (i have social anxiety, no doubt) came right back.
“...Well, it won’t be anytime soon, right…?” I questioned, eyeing him, the pizza still at my mouth.
“Nah, not anytime soon. You fell right from the sky, I think you need to wait a bit before you can see others.” He grinned again. “You know, your temper reminds me a little bit of Rens.”
“Ren? Who’s Ren..?” I frowned, a little annoyed that he brought my temper back up-.... And then I realized he was right, since I was getting annoyed over such a little thing like that. Whoops.
“Ren… Ren is considered an outcast, really, to most. He doesn’t like to be around people much, instead just hangs out by the junkyard and goes around on his hoverboard. It’s kinda funny, because this ONE person sits to watch him.” He chuckled a bit. “Ren got a bit nicer after the boy started showing up, really. But also, his ego got bigger. Which is funny, with him being so small.”
“Hey, if it makes him happy, let it be.” I argued a bit. “Just buy bigger earplugs.”
He laughed a bit at that. “How about I buy him a gag…?”
“Really? Now that’s mean.” I huffed, my face twisting in a slight frown.
“Hey, it’s true. He thinks he’s the king of the entire world. But… I caught him really, really practicing by his house, and I realised he was putting so much effort just to impress this random boy. It’s… Well, adorable.”
“Aww, that’s kinda sweet.”
“Yeah, it is. He made me swear not to tell anyone…” he flashed his slightly crooked grin. “Oops.”
“Well, it’s still cute.” I finished up the pizza slice- I didn’t realize how fast I was eating.
Zach seemed to notice. “Want more?” he offered, jerking his thumb at the door.
“Well…” I hesitated. Truthfully I was quite hungry. “I don’t want to inconvenience you..”
“Inconvenience?” he scoffed slightly, standing, stuffing the rest of his pizza into his mouth, chewing it, and swallowing in one huge gulp which made me fear for his throat. “You’re our guest now. It would be a shame to see you shrivel up from hunger- people just aren’t good conversationalists like that.”
“‘Our’? Who’s our?” I blinked.
“Me and my family, course. I don’t live alone, much as I want to. My little sister is the BIGGEST pain, let me tell you that. She tried to sneak in here and give you a makeover.” he chuckled, headed out the door. “She wanted to make you ‘Prettyerer’.”
“You can tell her she can try,” I yelled after him. I wondered, though, how did they get makeup? Was it even makeup, or some dyes…? How would they get dye?
I thought this over.
….Plants make dye, I think.
I waited patiently for him to return, trying to refrain from thinking more stupid thoughts. It seemed to be taking longer this time, but for all i knew, he was being held back by his family. Honestly? I was scared to meet them. I don’t know what they would think of me- a Elevator, apparently. I really didn’t like the idea of being called a lift.
And then, thankfully, the door opened.
And not so thankfully, it wasn’t Zach.
This BIG, burly looking dog pushed its head in, and I froze. It looked like a big black and white fluffball, around two and a half feet tall at it’s center back, and it had a pointed snout. I racked my brain frantically, trying to realise what it was.
Suddenly, it loudly squealed, and bounded over.
“GAHHHHH-WHAT?!” came out of my mouth as it tackled me off the bed, my headache throbbing harder, but it was hard to focus on that with a big pink tongue slobbering all over me.
“H-HEY!” I yelped, trying to push it away, which was harder than it looked. It’s skin slid over it’s muscle, and the rest of it was just fluff. It was squealing in what I imagined to be delight that it found a victim to drown in slobber. I started to laugh now, giving up, because resistance was futile, wrapping my arms around this big fluffy being that would be my doom.
“NO! BAD GOGGIE!” I heard a small voice yell, tugging at the dog by a black leather collar. The dog yelped sadly, and responded to the small being, mercifully backing off.
I turned, wiping my eyes, peering at my savior, who couldn’t be more than six or seven.
She was wearing a pink and white striped long sleeved shirt, one green sock, and one purple and orange sock on her feet, and she had denim short overalls over her. Her messy black hair fell down her back to her butt, almost, and her brown eyes sparkled with tiny determination.
“Don’ mess with the guest, Goggie!” she huffed, pointing her finger in the huskies face. Goggie had no idea what was going on, it seemed, it’s eyes crossed as it followed the little finger.
She turned to me, and gave a happy smile. “Who’re you, now that you’re up? I’m Tilly!!!”
“I’m… Astra?” I sounded uncertain even of my own name. She was quite adorable, really, and I think it was messing with my memory.
“Cani' give you a makeover, now?!?” she suddenly looked extremely excited. “We’re friends now!”
I didn’t quite see how knowing a name meant having a new friend. “I… With what?”
“Makeup, duh! Or spaghetti. Spaghetti's good.” she nodded firmly.
“...Makeup. Please, not spaghetti.” I swallowed, fearing makeup with spaghetti. It sounded very bad. Very, very bad.
“Kayyyyyyyy!” she shot off, leaving me and Goggie.
The dog was happily panting directly beside my ear.
I slowly got up, headed back to the bed, all excitement about possibly exploring literally had been slammed out of me. Sure, i wanted to see what the ground was like- it didn’t seem to be a barren wasteland, like a lot of kids joke about- but actually… Kinda pretty. The trees were taller, and it smelled even nicer than Laylynns signature sweet scents, like cookies or vanilla or peppermint- peppermint being for the holidays. I could walk places without smelling something fruity, I hoped. It just… all around, looked a bit better.
However, I was getting a makeover- without spaghetti-, I was still hungry, my head hurt, and… Well, I was tired. But I would get up and explore soon. Maybe after iI get more rest… And food. Boy, Zach is in for one Hell of a surprise. The thing is, I don’t like makeup. I really, truly don’t. It makes me look like I pushed my face into a bowl of chili and hoped for the best. But I couldn’t say no to that little girl. Tilly, right?
I thought for a second.
Yeah, Tilly. She’s too cute. I sometimes worked at the daycare, at the kiddy park, and they would always want me to push them on the swings. A few wanted to give me makeovers. I tended to avoid the little girls just for that reason. Can’t avoid Tilly, though. Besides, I guess I’m her guest... It would be rude to refuse such an offer.
I heard pattering, and Goggie wagged his tail happily as the little girl pushed her way back into the room, clutching a battered tiny pink suitcase in her hands. It was around a foot wide, and two feet tall. And solid pink. Even the handles. On closer inspection, it looked like she PAINTED the handles pink with nail polish.
My confidence that I would look even remotely OK vanished down the drain.
“Kayyy! I’m back!” she announced her obvious arrival, clunking the suitcase along as she trotted back over to the bed. She scrambled up onto the bed, and attempted to haul it up after her, her face twisting as she tugged.
“Do you… Need help?” I blinked.
“Nnnnnope!” with one final pull, she managed to get it up. She zipped it open, showing an array of cracked nail polish bottles, and makeup tins, and more things then I can name. I don’t actually like makeup. I don’t care to figure out what makeup is what. It’s all face gunk that gunks your face. Several of my friends would disagree, however…
“Mmmmmm…” she tugged out a few nail polishes, and a black roundish case that was palm sized, and a small, clear box which had a lot of powdery squares. She also pulled out three brush things- one rounded and spongy, one big and soft, and… One was just a black stick. On closer inspection, I realised it was lipstick or lipgloss.
“Kay…. Um… What’s your favorite colors?” she suddenly questioned, blinking.
“...um.” That was a terrible question. “Well, I… Don’t have any.”
She looked completely shocked and offended, and I had to work to keep a smile off my face. “How come?! My favorite color is white, ‘cause you can add it to any color and it gets lighter an’ prettier.”
I raised my eyebrows. Impressive, for a spaghetti makeup artist. “Well…. I can’t pick a color, because I use so many. I like to draw alot, so I typically use every color. But...” I paused, thinking. “My favorite color, I guess… My top three, really… Would be blue, black, and grey. Or water scenes.”
“...water scenes?” she blinked, her makeup assault forgotten.
“Yeah. Like when you look at water, in a pool or a pond, you typically see some shades of grey, blue, or black. Sometimes different colors, depending on what’s in the water, but… Mostly just those three.”
She paused for the longest time, then beamed. “And… If you add white to blue, it gets lighter, like the sky!”
“Yeah.” i grinned. I now kinda wanted to whip out my art supplies and teach her a few things you can do with that color, depending on the medium, but I doubt she’d like that.
“Hmm… So grey, blue, and black... I got it.” she rummaged in her bag of toxins, and pulled out a few more cases.