Match Two: Balete Tree:
“I think I screwed up big time,” Alfred said. Matthew gave him a puzzled look.
“What do you mean?” he asked. The American man shook his head. He didn’t come to his brother for help. Alfred couldn’t reach out to anyone at the moment. Everyone seemed to be distant. Sena wouldn’t let anyone talk to Kiku as he fell deeper into his black hole. Ivan said that he would be too busy to talk for a while. Yao was busy dealing with a baby on the way and chasing down his wife’s uncle and his partner. Francis didn’t seem like the right person to talk to. And Arthur…
Alfred went by Arthur’s flat five days before he slept with Florence. He knocked on the door and waited. A confused look came over his face when a woman greeted him. Her head came up to his chest. Her bright blonde hair stood outside the black robes that swallowed her little frame. The American man gave her a blank stare at first.
“Uh… Is Arthur in right now?” I asked. She looked at him with no emotion on her face.
“I’m sorry, but I do not know you,” this woman said. Her voice sounded so dull, so robotic as she spoke.
“But…” Alfred said. The door was slammed in his face. And that was it. All attempts to contact the English man ended in failure. Just like everyone else did, the American man gave up trying.
In present day, Alfred rubbed his forehead.
“Dude, I don’t even know where to begin with this,” he said. He looked up at his younger brother. Matthew didn’t look so chilled out like he normally did. He didn’t have a smile on his face either.
“What’s the matter with you?” Alfred asked.
“Hm? Oh…” his brother said in a quiet voice. Matthew sat down front of him at the kitchen table.
“Well… I think I was a neglected child who died of starvation,” he admitted in a soft voice. Alfred blinked at him.
“That can’t be right,” he said.
“I know,” the Canadian man said. “But I keep having these visions…”
“Visions?” American man asked. He grabbed his brother by the wrist. Mathew about jumped from the sudden movement.
“Tell me everything that you’ve seen,” Alfred said. The Canadian man shivered.
“I don’t really know what to tell you,” he admitted. “It just comes in pieces. I… I… I don’t know what’s going on!” The color drained from Matthew’s face. Alfred let go of his wrist.
“Sorry about that man,” he said. “I’m sorry. I’ve just had so much on my mind. I really screwed up this time.”
“What did you do?” the Canadian man asked. Alfred’s face began to turn red.
“You remember Florence, right?” he asked.
“Vaguely,” Matt said. “Who is that again?” The American man rubbed his forehead.
“Red hair to her shoulders, pale in the winter, really pretty in summer, looks like a hippie,” he said. The Canadian man looked confused as his brother spoke. Alfred waved him off as his face turned redder.
“Never mind that!” he shouted. “Anyway…” The American man desperately looked around before leaning in. Matthew leaned in likewise.
“I slept with her a few nights ago,” Alfred confessed. The Canadian turned to him with big eyes and a red face.
“What?!” he asked. The American man quickly turned his head. That night’s events began to replay in his head. He hadn’t been able to talk to her or look her in the eye. And the American man had to go back over there and check on Florence again.
“O… Okay…” Matthew said at last.
“Yeah,” his brother said. Neither man spoke at first. Alfred mumbled something under his breath.
“Hm?” the Canadian man asked. His brother shook his head. The worst part was that he wanted more. But not like this. It just didn’t feel right.
“I never wanted this for her, man,” Alfred said. “I feel like I took advantage of her.”
“I’m sure you didn’t,” Matthew said.
“No,” the American man was quick to say. “You don’t understand!” He took a deep breath. How could be put it into words? Alfred grabbed his head and shook it head.
“Damn it,” he grumbled. “Damn it. Damn it. Damn it. Damn it!” He leaned back in his chair and sighed. “I don’t even know why I came here.”
“Well, what do you want?” Matthew asked.
“I don’t know!” Alfred said. “I don’t even know why I am telling you all of this, dude. I’m sorry I wasted your time.”
“It’s okay,” Matthew said. But then he paused. “Are you having visions too?” The American man froze.
“How did you know?” he asked.
“What do you see?” his brother asked. Alfred glanced up at him as those high school visions danced around in his head. The girl’s, assuming that was an old friend of his, sad face was all that it took for him to open his mouth.
“I am back,” Alfred said as he walked into living room.
“Welcome back,” Florence said in a whisper. She sat on the couch in the dark. Alfred blinked for a moment.
“You didn’t turn on a light?” he asked. “Why is it so dark in here?” Alfred reached out for the light switch and turned it on. Florence looked up with a tired smile on her face.
“How are you?” Alfred asked.
“Good,” she said. “Tired but good.” Neither one has really been talking lately. She seemed to act like nothing happened. Alfred didn’t know how to bring it up without being so awkward. Could she even understand what she was talking about?
“Hey, Florence,” Alfred spoke up. The tree spirit turned her head. The American man froze. Well, he had her attention now. Why couldn’t he say what he wanted to her?
“Hey, what is that on your neck?” he asked.
“Huh?” Florence asked. The American man leaned in and looked at her neck. He noticed a small circular red pattern just under above her throat.
“What is it?” she asked.
“I’m not sure…” Alfred said. He pulled out his phone and dialed up the number needed in this situation. Deep down, he couldn’t help but feel that he might have caused it in a way.
Meanwhile, the little girl with the Hello Kitty backpack stood in the window looking in. Her little face pressed against the glass. She had her empty eyes on Alfred as he walked into the kitchen on his phone.