Silent Worlds: Book 1

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How Strange

Yakusoku picked at his piping hot fried egg with the chopsticks in his hand. He'd just about removed all the bits of crab from it when he decided to move to the lo mein to remove the bamboo shoots. Normally he'd be removing them to eat last, as they are his favorite part, but right now he's lost his appetite severely. He can't stop thinking about the events that played out today.

So far he's managed to piss off all of his friends, lose them and his girlfriend, was completely found out about concerning the break-in; and now he has an appointment set up with a possible psychic-psycho. How will he deal with something like that if she really is? What can she do to him with it?

His friends were right, he's become an obsessed fool. But they could have handled it better. Now everything will be strained for a while. He's not going to apologize. He knows that they won't. Maybe if he worked on the weakest member of the pack he can get back in.

'God, will you listen to me. I'm becoming a sheep myself.' He sighed. 'Fuck them then. If they don't want me, I don't want them. But Maria... I have to know why she keeps saying the things she says to me. Does she know me from before the adoption? I remember the kids in the home, all of them, so it's not as if she's actually one of them.'

"We sold a good amount of cars today," Reeve said over the table to his family. "Anything you boys had your eye on just let me know." He eats a fork full of noodles.

"Sweet. I've got my eye on a new stereo. And a baseball glove, if that's not pushing it." Ai knows his father is a spoiler, but he also wants to teach them the value of money.

"I think we should take a vacation, maybe visit mother back home."

"Yeah, a vacation would be nice."

'Maybe everyone will have cooled off by then.' Yakusoku thinks while listening in to the conversation.

"I'd love to visit gramma Holly!" Ai cheered the idea as if he were rethinking the stereo idea in place of a trip to Sweden.

Their grandmother is a bigger smotherer than their own mother. She gives them hugs and kisses enough to bring down an elephant. And she tells the funniest stories about when she was a girl. But she has her quirks.

"Reeve, we'll have to call first to alert her." The joy in Quinn's voice is evident.

Though Holly Auldborn is a wonderful woman, she has times when she wants to be alone. So the family never takes it personally if she declines a visit, rare as the declines are. You can never be too sure.

Noticing her eldest son has yet to say anything, Quinn asks. "Yakusoku would you like to see your grandmother?"

"Yeah, it'd be great."

Blinking, Reeve asks. "What's up, sport, you seem a bit out of it?"

"I am." His frown deepened. "I've been dumped and ditched today by everyone I love."

His parents exchanged looks.

Clearing it up for them, Ai says. "He means his friends."

"Aww," Full-on mother-mode coming out, Quinn asked. "What happened?" Her arm wrapped around the boy's shoulders.

Yakusoku shrugged, he felt a lie coming from his mouth so instead chose to withhold. "Not sure, but apparently my hobbies are getting on their nerves."

"Is that all?" Comments his father before taking a sip of tea. Kids can be so dramatic.


Yakusoku was glad that Chinese restaurants always have dim-lighting because his father's words just embarrassed him to the point of blushing. Keeping his gaze on his half eaten dinner he lowers his chopsticks for a large plastic spoon to scoop a mouthful of egg drop soup into his mouth. It's hard to tell his parents what he could easily tell Ai. For some reason saying: "my obsession with a weird girl has cost me everything" they wouldn't be so sympathetic. In fact, they may even send him to therapy and that's the last thing he wants.

"It'll work out alright, dear." His mother soothes. "I know. When I was a young girl, I and my friends, used to have fights over this cute singer and whom he'd marry. We took it so seriously you'd think we actually had a chance with him."

Reeve laughed at the thought. Feeling the urge since his wife had been so brave the man said in humor.

"Celine Treanor was the end of my friendship with my best friend Troy." He shrugged. "She was a famous model back then," He explained to the confused looks. "I followed her career like I was her manager or a school girl. It drove him up the wall, and eventually he said to me 'mention her again and he's walking'. Just to be smart I did, and sure enough, he walked. We didn't speak for years, but eventually he came around when we both realized we were being stupid. Obsession, it happens with certain people. You just need more understanding friends."

Yakusoku was shocked, he really didn't think either of them would understand, but it turns out that they really do. Smiling, appetite renewed he says "Thanks, you guys," before digging in with renewed hunger and speed.

He took out three plates of food, and a block of tofu, before calling it quits on the savory and ready to move onto dessert. They didn't stay for the desserts at the restaurant they went out to Krispie Kreme's for donuts, which they are eating in the car on the way home.

The night sky and streetlights flashed overhead and into the car as they drove through the city. It's so comfortable and cozy, he can't help but feel himself relaxing from the tension that had built up earlier in the day. His parents were right, they'd come around. They're good friends and have been for ages. This won't stop them.

Biting into a lemon custard donut, he leaves the pastry hanging in his mouth by the teeth, so he can wipe his hands off to grab his vibrating phone from his pocket. Flipping the phone open to receive the message that was sent to him, he smiles around the mouthful.

Removing the puffy dough, he says with a voice that can't hide its overjoy. "You guys were right! It's Enid!"

Smiling knowingly, Quinn says. "You see, everything always works out in the end."

"Yeah, she wants to see me tonight for a sleepover. She said that she's sorry about what happened at the beach too, that all of us need to talk in the morning. Can I go over?" He looks between the two.

"Of course," Quinn replied happily for her son.

"Thanks!" he couldn't help but grin like a goon as he chomps into the sweets.

Maria was far from his mind as he strolled across the street, sleeping bag under his arm with his toiletries inside of a plastic sandwich bag, tucked away between the roll of goose down. It's around tenish when he arrives.

Looking at the 2 story home, he wonders why all the lights are off if they're expecting company? Just as he's about to knock on the door, he sees a note taped to it. Peeling it off he lifts the single fold and reads: Yakusoku, my parents are gone for the night- gross right? But that gives us time to be alone and maybe we can finish what we were doing at our last sleepover. Let yourself in. P.S. Burn this note.

"Sweet," he mumbled to himself already feeling his pants tightening. Turning the knob, he's very surprised to find that it's been left unlocked.

Once inside he closes the door behind him; a lit fire caught his attention. Its rumbling sounds fill the silent living room with color as well as noise. Thankfully at that, because otherwise he wouldn't be able to see. Walking over to the fireplace, note crumpled in hand, he tossed the note inside watching it burn away to ashes.

'Guess she was serious about burning it. She can be so weird.'

But he figured since their parents don't know about them dating, she wouldn't want it to be found. Moving away from the fireplace, he trudged up the stairs and to the girl's bedroom down the hall. Pushing the door open he's greeted with silence and an empty bedroom.

'Where is she?'

He knew Enid wasn't kinky enough to wanna screw around in her parent's bed, and thankfully he hears shower water running, telling him that she's in the bathroom. Smiling he couldn't believe that she was serious. And in the shower of all places! Naked and wet. Maybe Chester was right about Enid, and it only took going out with the girl to erupt this sexuality that's been walled up inside of her.

"I'm in here, Promise. Come on in." Enid called from the bathroom.

That's weird. He knows where the voice came from, but for some reason, it sounded as though it were right in his ear. 'Nah, I'm sure it's nothing.'He shrugs it off then heads for the bathroom.

Yakusoku's mind felt unusually thick when he entered the room, and for the slightest second his eyes burned but he blinked the sting away. Stepping up to the tub he had to swallow around a lump in his throat from hearing the slightest sound of movement beyond the duck printed shower curtain. This is real. This is really happening.

Taking a deep breath to steady his nerves, and keep his penis in check from humiliating him by being overly excited; he jerks the curtain over in one quick sweep of plastic swoosh and jangling metal rings. He drew in a sharp breath at the sight before him. Standing there, naked in the tub, shower water hitting her in all the right places is not Enid... but Maria! She turned to him, her thin lips spreading out into a maniacal smirk.

Laughing playfully, she flicked some water at him, then says. "Aren't you fresh."

Anger pricks his nerves, and he ground out. "Where's Enid?"

"Can't say that I know, maybe she's out with her family somewhere," she shrugged casually. "Or maybe I killed her when I broke in," She grinned at the declaration. "Stuffed her body into the garage's freezer after chopping it into little bits."

All that boiled rage soon turned to fear; Maria had to be joking, she wouldn't seriously hurt Enid- not kill her! There's just no way!

Maria's laughter was all he could stand, and lunging at her he wrapped his hands firmly around her neck giving it a good sturdy squeeze. This ends now. And he was surprised with himself when her coughs and gags actually brought a smile to his face. Not only is Maria pure evil, but she brings evil out of people that they didn't even know they possessed. Her face turned a bright red, but for some reason, she managed to speak to him as though nothing were going on.

"You never would have been happy with Enid because, in the end, she never would have accepted what you are."

"Yes, she will!" he barked back. "And stop talking like that, you sick bitch!"

"Yakusoku!" Screamed Mrs. Aaronstrup from behind him.

"Get your hands off our daughter!" Hollered Mr. Aaronstrup before snatching him off, nearly by his neck rather than his shirt, and in one swift movement, he tossed Yakusoku against the wall.

Recovering from a nasty pop to his head in the landing, Yakusoku winked an eye open while holding his ringing head.

"Mom, Daddy." Enid rasped out while climbing out of the tub and running to them.

'Enid?' Her voice was suddenly ringing in his head louder than his pain.

Looking at Maria he sees not the blonde, but his girlfriend. Neck red and strained with his hand prints embedded in it.

Shaking his head, he says quickly. "Bu-... but it wasn't Enid!" He declared to any who'd listen. "It was Maria! I saw her!"

"What are you doing in our home?" Bellowed the large man, who seemed even larger as he towered over the male.

His wife is wrapping their daughter in a large orange towel to cover her before they slipped past into the master bedroom. Enid crying and coughing the whole way.

"I-.." He didn't get one word out before the man reached for him.

"Let's go!" He snatched him from the floor dragging him down the hall to the stairs. "Stay here." Ordered Mr. Aaronstrup.

Feeling panic tear through him over what he's done, Yakusoku can't help but notice the movement downstairs by the front door. It was closing, quickly at that. His need to state his case was silenced by this as he confirmed that, No. He is not crazy. Maria was there.

"What did you think you were doing son?" Asked his father chewing into him but not nearly as hard as Michael Aaronstrup had.

The large man explained very harshly what went down at his home. He made Yakusoku sound like hardened murderer! And how could he not? If it were the other way around... well, if it were the other way around and it was Yakusoku's daughter he would slaughter the creep hurting her, so he got off easy. Yakusoku wanted to say something during the pounding of yelled words but just couldn't find the right way to explain how who he saw was Maria, and she is the one he'd attacked. Not Enid. He would never do that.

"I lost my head Mr. Aaronstrup, and I'm really really sorry," he said to the man who had yet to calm down so his face could return to its normal fleshy color, and not the blue-ish blood red it's become. "Is Enid all right?"

"Her neck is severely bruised, but she'll live- so long as you never go near her again."

"But Mr. Aaronstrup!" The male protested.

"No. Enid said that the two of you broke up anyway. What were you even doing in our house?"

That shocked Yakusoku to silence. He thought her parents hadn't known about them. His father surely was finding out for the first time and looked at his son with concerned eyes.

Lowering his eyes to avoid feeling more shame than was already washing over him, Yakusoku said lamely. "I got a text from her. She said she wanted to have a sleepover tonight. Honest." Looking to his father for back up he pleads with his dual gaze. "You remember, I read it out loud to you guys."

Reeve looked doubtful. Lowering his gaze, he says. "We didn't actually see the message, son."

"You're kidding me? Dad, you know I don't make things up. And you've told me billions of times not to hurt girls- though I only needed it once- but still... you always tell me those sorts of things and I always listen." He frowned. "Massiel doesn't count, she's like one of the guys we always wrestle and stuff."

"Yeah, and you really need not do that either." Reeve shakes his head, hands on his hips as he's decided the subject should be dropped. "Yakusoku you're grounded for a month, that includes no television, no going over to friends houses, no video games... and you're going to write a letter of apology to Enid and her family."

'Fuck.' Thought the boy sourly.

"And after that, you're to respect Mr. Aaronstrup's wishes and stay away from his daughter."

Quietly he says while nodding. "Yes, sir." Standing, he apologizes again before heading off to bed.

What a horrible night this turned out to be. First he gets a false text then he strangles his first girlfriend and he had to see the demented blonde naked- and how did manage to do it anyway? Is he seriously obsessed to the point of losing his mind? Does he only think that he's seeing Maria everywhere? This is too much. He's never cracked up before, and he'll be damned if he falls prey to it now.

Although, in the home there was a boy named Ben who kind of picked on him a bit. It made him just crazy to the point where he wanted to punch the kid's lights out in hopes he'd never pick on him again, but the Lands rescued him before things got to that point. He really needs to calm himself down before it really does happen.

Wrapping himself firmly in his blanket for that missing hug he could use, Yakusoku closed his eyes. He isn't imagining things. Maria always speaks to him like she's been up to something or plans to be. So there's a good chance she's some kind of a pro at manipulating people. That could be what happened to Kevin, she drove him to do horrible acts in order to figure her out. Damned enigma. At least, things will be somewhat brighter in the morning because now all he sees and feels is darkness.

But his sleep was not restful. He had a terrible dream. Maria was crying in the corner of a very dark room; pulling her hair out feverishly. Anytime a clump of hair left her head it turned brown before it withered and shriveled away to nothing. And he could hear her at one point, screaming out: Why don't you recognize me?!

"I'm sorry," he whispered.

That seemed too funny to her because she began laughing as she turned around, knife in hand, and with it, she stabbed herself repeatedly. For some reason, he felt a terrible dread wash over him and he reached for the knife.

"Stop it! Maria stop it!" Rushing to her side, he grabbed the knife from her only to end up down on his back tackled by an immense strength she suddenly had.

Her tears have dried up as if they had never fallen, and she pressed her fingers into one of the long slashes. Blood ran down her hand and arm, dripping through the air before landing on his shirt and neck.

Bringing the bloody digits to her mouth, she whispered. "I've always wondered what I taste like." Giggling, she kisses him heavily, deeply without pause.

He pushed and pushed but her body didn't move even an inch away from him. To make it worse, he was getting hotter and hotter. He felt his skin peeling away right before the two of them burst into flames. Yakusoku was impressed to find that he was only breathing hard and sweating, and not flat out screaming himself awake.

'I have to find out the truth about her. Once and for all. I can't let everyone think I'm losing my grip when I'm not... This is probably all part of her plan to have everyone hate me so I turn to her in the end.'

He rubbed the cold from his arms. Amazed that he's cold rather than hot as his sweat would indicate. Cold sweats are the worst. It's almost like you're not really wet at all your skin is just cold and clammy beneath the surface.

'It won't come to that. I may have been the one who took pity on her sad eyes, but I won't fall for her cheap tricks anymore.'

Getting out of bed, he grabs a notepad from his bookbag then writes out some notes to all of his friends. Having them back on his side will be a big help when facing the girl. 'I hope I can get through to them.'

He tears them free from the book folding them up and sticking them beneath the flap of the cover. When climbing back into bed, he began to wonder if maybe Maria isn't a witch. He's seen the craft and those girls talked about doing glamours and things like that. But that seemed ridiculous. Witches aren't real- at least actual magic isn't. And as far as their being alike...

'Maybe Maria is my sister... I never knew my real family. but she might know me. I wasn't in an adoption place until I was eight. I don't remember anything before that... No. If she were my sister she wouldn't be in love with me. Maybe she's a former friend, a neighbor.'

Nodding, he figured that that must be it. She could be adopted too! That's another possibility. There are too many things to think about with this and he was glad to be able to fall asleep again.

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