The Two Living Hells
Chapter 9: The Two Living Hells
“Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.”
“Well, time for breakfast,” Tyrone grinned at me, “and for you to join the other Phoenixes.”
“(The other Phoenixes?),” I sat back down. I let my own thoughts wonder off. I don’t remember what I thought of exactly, but it was something similar to this.
My feelings towards Phoenixes are plain and simple. I detest the entire species and wish them all to go into the Great Abyss and never come out. Even today, in this body of mine, I still hate them. It’s for no reason in particular. BUT here's my list...
Remember when I said that everyone and their grandmother already has a Phoenix? That wasn’t an exaggeration. Everyone has a damn Phoenix. If not a Phoenix then it would be some other Fire Yokai. Because of the mountains and canyons on all sides, our city is cut off from the rest of the country. It has always been dangerous to travel, due to the many mountain Yokai. Even our avian Yokai have difficulty migrating when the time comes.
So our little city of Golnar is chock full of the Chick Yokai. They breed like busy bunnies. Their population is only a fraction away before they officially become pests. Though, I’ve always thought of them as pests anyway. And, as if their numbers weren’t enough, they were cute.
I personally have nothing wrong with cute things, but girls love cute. So when the time comes when someone wants to adopt a Yokai, they’re far more likely to pick a Fire Yokai than the far more common Nature Yokai. Nature Yokai are usually never chosen. First, because they weren’t cute or “cool” like Fire Yokai. Second, because of the fallacy of being weak. Over the years, they have been frowned upon as useless in our culture.
That, of course, is not true! They grow old and weak due to neglect! If people would actually work with them instead of throwing them in cages for their entire lives then... Oh, sorry. Didn’t mean to rant there, but it’s not right how they treat them. I made it my life’s mission to prove to the people of Golnar just how powerful Nature Yokai could really be.
Well, it was my life’s mission. That was until Terry was taken from me.
About the time I got to the thoughts of throwing Yokai in cages, my thoughts were interrupted by the second or third most annoying sound in the world. The first being “it’s a small world after all” in any language. The second is girls so... it’s the second and a half most annoying sound in the world.
“(Hi, my name’s Fia! What’s yours?),” her voice called. I only then noticed that another avian face was staring at me with its big dark eyes.
“(What the hell!),” was all that I could blather out before...
“(Well, that’s a funny name.),” she tilted her head, “(For someone as cute as you.)”
“(Where did you come from! I didn’t hear you come...),” suddenly, I noticed where I was, “(outside?)”
“(You’re silly Hell.),” Fia giggled innocently, “(I was already outside. You just got out here.)”
I was outside. I knew right up front that it had to be the back of Ms. Kay’s house. There was a hen house and a stable. A lone old Unicorn stood asleep inside the stable’s gate. There were a few dog houses next to the stable, but they were all empty. All of these buildings were enclosed by a chain link fence.
“(Is he your human?),” she giggled again, not even giving me the chance to open my mouth, “(Wow, that’s great, sure wish that I had a human, What’s his name, oh guess it doesn’t matter, why are you white, did you fall in a vat of whitewash, this one time, I fell in a big bucket of whitewash, well, actually, I was pushed, so that means that I didn’t really fall in, but I was white for like a whole week, everyone made fun of me, do others make fun of you because you’re white, I know that I would never-)”
“(Out of my way!),” another Phoenix ran in between us.
...Thank God... Never thought I’d say that about a Phoenix...
“(Kegan, save some for the others!),” a taller Phoenix (probably in his teen stages) followed the one that passed us, “(Oh hello. You must be the new chick. Wow, you really are white.)”
“(Gee, thanks. I really had no idea what color I was.),” I remarked sarcastically.
“(Na huh, you did so, I told you, remember I said “Hi my name is Fia, what’s-”)”
“(I was being sarcastic!),” I shrieked.
“(So cute.),” the teen Phoenix was able to smile slightly, “(Well, you two better hurry up before Kegan eats all of the feed.)”
“(Yeah, hurry up Hell!),” Fia pulled at me with her short wings. Even if I was starving to death, I wouldn’t eat chicken feed.
“(No, thank you... and my name’s not Hell.)”
“(Why not? Hell’s a great name.),” the teen Phoenix patted me on the head, “(Your parents must have really high expectations for you if they named you that.)”
...shouldn’t being named “Hell” would mean that I was a handful or something?...
“(Well, my parents didn’t name me ‘Hell’ okay.)”
“(Then what is your name?),” Fia asked before suddenly running off.
“(Hey, where are you going),” would be what normal people would ask in this situation. I was just glad to be rid of her, so I didn’t even think to ask.
“There you are Milkshake,” someone called. I didn’t even have time to react as I was picked up by none other than one of the twins, Kayla.
“How’s our favorite little Phoenix,” her sister Christen was right behind her.
“(Milkshake?),” that teen Phoenix snickered. He was trying to hold back the laughter, “(Did I hear her right? The humans named you Milkshake!)”
“Hey, put Milkshake down,” Brandy came back, “Milkshake needs to interact with the other Yokai.”
“(Milkshake! Muwahahaha!),” the Phoenix finally fell to the ground and laugh his butt off screaming in between laughter, “(Hahahaha! Milkshake! Hahaha! Ah huh... Milkshake! Ahahahahaha!)”
“Or else they’ll start laughing uncontrollably,” Christen asked.
“Well, no, but I’ll add that to the list of reasons why,” Brandy sighed, “by the way, why are you dressed in… um, normal clothes? Don’t we have school today?”
... Normal clothes? Well, I guess for rich people that is normal...
“No, turns out. After... you know,” Kayla was trying to be gentle, “John’s suicide… They canceled school for the rest of the week.”
“So I got up extra early for nothing,” Brandy dropped the bucket of feed.
“Yeah, so you don’t have to wear that silly uniform,” Christen was cheerier than usual, “Awe, look at all the little Phoenixes!”
A whole heard of Phoenix chicks swarmed in and swiped as much feed as they could get. Now, again, I don’t like Phoenixes, but this was hilarious to watch. Especially since Brandy was standing in the middle of the chicken feed and there was a whole herd of hungry Phoenix chicks.
“Hey, that’s my shoe,” Brandy screamed as a few Phoenixes pecked for seeds, “Ow! Stop that! That’s my foot!”
Brandy had to start hopping from one foot to the other as the little demons pecked at each one, “ Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!”
“Awe, how cute. You’re dancing for them,” Christen was so dense. I couldn’t help but snicker myself.
“(If that’s what he gets for kicking me, then Thank You Karma!),” I cheered quietly to myself.
My entire life, I’ve only known there to be four distinct groups of people.
The first are the Outsiders. Very Rare to come and they don’t stay long. Basically, they are travelers who wish so sell or trade something with our town for a small profit.
The second is the Lower Class. Lower class locals consist of farmers, small merchants, and even servants to the fourth group. Lower class work hard for very little money and is rare for one to be able to attend our school.
The third group is the Middle Class. Mostly people who still work for a living, but not nearly as hard as the lower class. They make up the majority of the student body.
The fourth and final group was where I happened to have landed in.
“Little Miss, it’s time to get up,” Margaret, the maid, knocked on the door, “it’s almost 8 o’clock.”
“School’s canceled,” I groaned, “I’m not feeling well…”
That’s right. I’m High Class: A spoiled rich girl. Bread to be the Emblem of Perfection, the Creme de la Crop and the Essence of Elegance... and Inari, I hate every moment of it. Every day there is practically nothing to do. Even since I started going to school, I was still bored out of my mind. I wanted to do the things that I used to do before I wound up here as, ‘Little Miss.’
“Your parents don’t wish for you to waste perfectly good sunlight,” Margaret said as she entered my room.
“Lair,” I muttered under my breath, “since when do my parents care what I do.”
“Fine,” she opened the curtains, causing sunlight to fill the room, “I’m the one that doesn’t wish to see you waste away in here.”
“You have better ears than my mother did,” I sighed, “I don’t even think that she can hear me anymore.”
“I beg your pardon, Miss Jade,” Margaret stopped tying the first curtain,“but your mother still has her hearing.”
“Why must you insist on making such comments about the Mrs.,” she complained, though I always told her the same answer.
“Because you’re more of a mother than that she-witch.”
“I would rather not hear such comments about the Mrs.,” she exhaled as she tied off the second curtain open, “She has been an excellent Mistress over the years.”
“No offense, Margaret,” I yawned as I got out of bed, “but you’re paid to say that.”
“So I get a little something-something for my honesty,” she then got to making my bed, “Why not take Louis out for a little walk today? He’s been depressed that he doesn’t see his favorite person.”
“You know what,” I said as I took a look at the golden trinket I found near the school, “maybe I will. I’d like to try something out anyway.”
I headed down the hall to Louis’s (Pronounced “Louie”, it’s French) room.
...I didn’t even have my own room when I was like him......What am I thinking!......I’d trade it all right now just to be with my real mother again...
I gripped the medallion tightly, as I reached the door leading to Louis’s room.
...That’s why I have to do this...
Slowly, I opened the door. Louis was still asleep in his bed. I could see the lump under the covers. I wondered if he’d like the idea of what I had in store for him. I took the Medallion out from under my night shirt.
“Open,” I whispered so that I didn’t wake Louis.
It glowed for a moment or two as its power took effect over his body.
“Hey, Louis,” I saw his head pop up, “you want to try something fun?”
A little later inside, I was massaging my feet. I had some open sores from where the Phoenix chicks had pecked their way into my shoes trying to get the feed that had seeped through the crevasses.
“Ew! Brandy,” Kayla whined, “Put those things away!”
“You are way overdue for a pedicure,” Christen complained.
“Well sorry, but those Phoenixes ruined my sneakers.”
“You mean these old things,” Christen asked, pointing to a pair of brown shoes lying on the ground.
“My God, they look horrible,” Kayla gasped.
“I know I wouldn’t be caught dead in those things,” Christen agreed.
“And just look at that color, Yuck!”
“The color? I’m still trying to get over their lack of style.”
“Um, I hate to burst you two’s bubble,” I lifted what was could only be recognized as torn pieces of cloth, “but these are the shoes that the Phoenixes ruined. Those are my school shoes.”
The twins stared at them for a second more, “We see why you’re disappointed.”
“(Let me IN!),” Milkshake continued to scratch at the door, “(Please, for the love of God, let me in!)”
“Gee, he sounds like he’s being tortured out there.”
“It’s for his own good Kayla,” I said as I threw my former shoes away, “he needs a good home and he can’t keep following me around.”
“Well, why not,” they both asked simultaneously.
“We have to go back to school on Monday, remember. You both know the school rules better than I do.”
“Why would those silly rules be a problem?”
“Let’s see, Rule One: each student is only permitted to carry one Yokai at any given time on campus. Two: the Yokai must remain inside their Seals during curricular class hours.”
“Oh, I see,” Kayla got it, “You don’t want Milkshake to be sealed away for long periods of time.”
“Exactly,” I explained, “he’s still a baby and he needs to be around his own kind.”
“(I don’t want to live here with these Monsters!)”
“(Who are you calling a monster, you little piece of human filth!),” shouted one of my attackers shouted. I was then scratched from behind by one of the other little monsters.
“(How is this different from high school?),” I groaned as I fainted.
I lost a fight... to a Damn Phoenix... Again!