There Was Something Rotten In The Asylum
More days, actually a week in fact, had passed since Babbitt and René told Doctor Marcel about their find and since Edna indicated to Anika and Gregor that she liked someone. So far, Anika had not questioned her about this but she knew she would sooner or later. Edna expected a confrontation any day. However, she would not know what to say; this was all so new to her. But there was something else occupying her mind at the moment. It was the final school day and, what was more important, they were all about to receive their report cards. The students were called forward by alphabetical order. At the moment, it was Heike who was receiving hers, meaning it was Edna’s turn after her. Her heart rate had sped up in nervousness, though only slightly. She attempted to conceal how nervous she felt and just watched Heike. That obnoxious girl’s face was filled with contempt, which made Edna assume she was angry at either her grades or at herself. Anyway, Heike stormed off to her seat and, a second later, their teacher called:
She took one deep breath and stood up and walked to the front of the class. Her teacher gave her the report, telling her she barely scared the C in Mathematics and praising her for her talents in artistic and linguistic subjects. The oldest student in class and the whole school scanned her report, deciding she had a reason to be satisfied with herself. It was not the best but it was still pretty good. Pleased with herself, she returned to her seat, where Bianca and Sebastian asked her about her report card. Her grades ranged from A to a single D, with the best ones in artistic and linguistic subjects while she was more around the B or C area in scientific subjects and Physical Education. Her worst subject was Physics with a D.
“Good job!“, Bianca praised her and Sebastian clapped her on the shoulder. Edna grinned happily and gratefully.
Bianca was called forward a few minutes later. Their head teacher spoke a few whispered words while handing her the report card. Bianca skimmed over it and then returned to her seat with a satisfied smirk across her face.
“And?“, Sebastian asked eagerly just as Emily was called forward. Edna looked at Bianca with her face filled with curiosity. Bianca showed them both her report. The majority of her grades were As, with the occasional B thrown in-between and a single C in Physical Education.
“Wow! That’s great!“, Sebastian quietly praised her.
“Congratulations”, Edna smiled at her. Bianca thanked them with a big happy grin. More students were called forward, one by one. Each one got a few whispered words from their head teacher while receiving their reports. Their facial expressions depended on whether or not they were happy with themselves, with some grinning like a Cheshire Cat and others as miserable as sin.
Sebastian was called forward when only a handful of students were left. He also shared his grades with his two female friends. His best subject was Physical Education with a B, as was Biology, while English was his worst with a D. All the other subjects were in C range. Edna and Bianca congratulated him too. They spent the rest of the class playing Hangman on three sheets of paper – one for each.
Edna was back home at around lunchtime. When she arrived, she sniffed a delicious smell from the kitchen. It made her realize just how hungry she was. Thus, she headed for the kitchen, where she found Tina making spaghetti.
“Hi there”, Edna greeted her. “I thought you were at work.”
“I have the day off”, Tina explained. “And? How’s your report?”
“It’s pretty good, actually”, Edna grinned. “I can show it to you later.”
“Yeah, I’d like that. By the way, I’m going to visit my brother after lunch, so you either have the apartment all for yourself until tomorrow morning or you can join me.”
Edna considered this for a moment. She had only met Tina’s brother once and that was when Gerret arranged for her to move in Tina’s apartment. He had taken her to the young man, who, in turn, had called his sister. Since then, she had not seen him again. Sure she would like to see him again and get to know him but she was also not really in the mood for traveling. Besides, she had to work in the evening, which she quickly pointed out.
“Oh, stupid me”, Tina groaned. “I forgot about this. Well, I reckon you have the apartment to yourself then, right?”
“Yep, but maybe next time.”
Edna left the kitchen and went to her room, leaving her report card on the coffee table along the way, where she threw her school bag in a corner and greeted Harvey, who sat on her bed. She decided to pass the time until lunch was ready by reading her mother’s diary. By now, she had read about three years in the life of her mother and it was getting quite interesting. In the last entry Edna read, Vivian mentioned that she saw Mattis and her father talking with each other but when she asked what they were talking about, they refused to answer. Edna had a hunch what this could be about – Mattis wanted to propose to Vivian and asked her father for permission. So, to learn whether she was right or not, she opened the last page she was at and began reading:
November 30th, 1986
I tried talking to Dad again about his conversation with Mattis but he still wouldn’t say anything. What’s going on? I hope it’s not something I have to worry about. Anyway, I arranged with the other teachers in the daycare center a trip to a museum for next Friday. All we need are two parents accompanying us but I’m sure Mattis would come along too if I asked him. He likes kids and I know he’s like a cool big brother for the son of his neighbors. I can see he will be a good father.
“Do you think Mattis was a good father, Harv?“, Edna asked her lagomorph friend.
“I think he tried his best to be one”, he replied. “He just didn’t know how.”
“Mom wrote he was like a cool big brother for the neighbor’s kid. But I guess there’s a difference between being like a big brother and being a father...“, Edna sighed and let herself fall on her back. The open book lay on her stomach. Her eyes were directed towards the ceiling as she thought about Mattis. He never told her what she did wrong when he punished her by either locking her in her room or in the basement and that was often. Well, she did know what she did wrong when it was something involving Alfred. But if it was something else, she did not know, like the time she removed the screws from the backdoor. For some reason, Mattis always insisted the door should be locked at all times. Once, she asked him why but he did not tell her.
“Edna, lunch’s ready”, Tina called from the other side of the door. Edna removed the diary from her stomach and placed it in front of Harvey. Then she got up and left her room.
The table in the living room was already set; the plates were just waiting to be filled. Tina stood at the coffee table and took a look at the report card. She put it down and joined Edna at the table.
“You did well”, Tina complimented her while they filled their plates.
Another therapy session was over and instead of going home; Amy decided to stroll around the asylum. Ben was in charge of the security cameras, so he could contact her and warn her if either Doctor Marcel or Anes or somebody else was approaching her location. That way, she could hide in case it was prohibited for her to be in certain areas. At the moment, she was on the third floor. She had often seen the door with the yellow sign that showed a lightning bolt in a triangle but had no idea what exactly this room was. The only thing she was certain of was that it involved electricity. She would enter the room now and finally find out what exactly the room was for. Before she did, however, she called Ben on the phone.
“Hey Benny, is anyone approaching my location?”
“One moment”, her boyfriend replied. Silence for a moment, then: “No worries, there’s nobody near the third floor.”
“Good, thanks and speak to you later”, Amy said and hung up. Bracing herself for whatever she might find, she opened the door.
Red lights blinked like from a Christmas tree on a generator that took up the majority of a wall. Right next to the door was a big lever with a red handle and, next to it, was a raised platform with a control panel. However, the object in the middle of the room was what shocked Amy the most. It was an electric chair! She had heard how some employees talked about the electroshock therapy but she always thought it involved harmless shocks and no electric chairs. Were these not used in the United States for executing capital punishment? Or at least, once upon a time, she was not sure in that regard. Nevertheless, the sight of this chair made her feel uneasy; she wanted to leave the room immediately. She opened the door a crack and glanced left and right to see if somebody was coming. When she saw nobody, she left the room. But before she did so, she looked to her right and saw the control panel. Of course, they would regulate how strong the electroshocks were going to be, she forgot about that. Still, she did not like being in the same room as an electric chair and thus left the room and went upstairs, wanting as much distance between her and the room as possible.
“Ben”, Amy said as she entered the surveillance room. She took a seat next to her boyfriend and let out a groan. “Did you know they have an electric chair in that one room on the third floor?”
Ben frowned at Amy.
“You mean that door with the yellow sign?“, he asked, to which she nodded in confirmation. “I thought it was just a generator room or something to power up the asylum... Don’t tell me they use it for the electroshock therapy.”
“I believe that is exactly what it’s used for”, Amy gave her opinion. “And who knows what else the doctor is using the chair for.” She leaned forward, staring at Ben with penetrating eyes. “Do you suppose he uses it to kill patients?”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually did... There’s a lot of fishy stuff going on here. For example...“, Ben stood up, indicating to her to do the same, and pointed at a few selected doors seen in the background of several monitors. “I often see either Doctor Marcel or Anes entering these rooms. Now and then, somebody comes to bring some kind of material in there. But I’ve never seen a patient being escorted to the washrooms. Well, maybe it just happened when I wasn’t working or at least not in the surveillance room but that would be too much of a coincidence.”
“I’ve never seen what’s behind those doors either”, Amy mumbled, her eyes traveling from monitor to monitor. A look of determination crossed her face. “But I’m going to find out.”
“Then you’re going to need this”, Ben produced a golden key. “A copy of the master key. I found countless of those in the trash can next to the backdoor and took several of them.”
A cheeky grin spread across his face, giving him a youthful look. Amy chuckled when she took the master key.
“Do you always rummage trash cans?”
“Only when I think it could be useful.”
Amy chuckled again and, after informing where these rooms were located, left the surveillance room. The closest one was actually on the same floor she found the electric chair, just behind the grate. So, she went there and unlocked the grate and entered the first room on her left hand side, after unlocking it. The first thing Amy could see was a window and, to the left of it, a cell door, not unlike the one on the topmost floor of the asylum’s tower. In front of the window stood a table and, on it, something that looks like a microphone. A red alert button was attached to the wall next to the table. Slowly, Amy approached the window and looked through it. Her jaw dropped. Beyond the window and therefore beyond the door, was a padded cell full of blue rag doll rabbits. They all looked like they were made by somebody who only recently took up sewing. Arms and legs were strangely placed; one arm, for example, might as well grow from the head. Among those countless rabbits sat a single figure; it was a pale skinned young man in a gray jump suit. He trembled like a leaf while he sewed another rabbit. His wide open, bulgy eyes traveled upwards and met Amy’s brown eyes.
“Hello?“, she greeted the man. His response was a short, high-pitched shriek.
“Who are you?”
“Why are you making those rag doll rabbits?”
He shrieked yet again. It seemed that this was his only form of communication. No matter what Amy said, the man would only shriek as if his skin came into contact with an ice cube on a hot summer day. She was about to say something to calm the nervous man down but then, she heard footsteps coming closer and her phone vibrated when she got a message:
Hulgors coming to u. get away asap
The door handle was being pressed down a second later. With nowhere to run off to, she dived under the table and not a moment too soon. The door opened and Amy could see Hulgor entering the room from her hiding place.
“Hmph, Babbitt must have left the door open again”, the large man said to himself as he approached the cell door. He produced a key from his pocket and opened it, entering the cell. Amy could hear Hulgor talking to the patient:
“Not nearly enough rabbits. What are you doing all day long? Sleeping? Work faster, damn it!”
The nervous man screamed.
“Can you only scream?”
Another shriek. Hulgor groaned and Amy imagined that he was shaking his head. She heard heavy footsteps and, a moment later, saw the blond man clad in blue leaving the cell from her hiding place. He left the room and Amy heard him locking the door. She waited for another minute before coming out from under the table. She glanced with furrowed brows at the nervous man, who was back to sewing again. Vowing she would do whatever she could to get him out of there, she unlocked the door again, left the room and relocked the door. Listening intently in case anyone was approaching, she quietly walked to the grate and did the same as she did with the door only seconds earlier. Her discovery had both shocked and confused her. If this was what happened behind in each solitary cell, then why was it kept a secret? More importantly, why did that even happen? Why were patients sewing blue rag doll rabbits? It might be a form of occupational therapy, Amy concluded, but why were they not with the others in the recreation room? That screaming guy surely did not come across as dangerous. Of course, she was only theorizing at the moment. She needed to find out more...
Edna was alone in her humble abode; Tina left an hour ago. The young woman lay on her bed and read a few more entries of Vivian’s diary and listened to some music, although she was considering taking a break from reading and to visit the Key Master instead. Maybe she should invite him to spend the night here... Edna did not really like being alone. If she had no one but Harvey to talk to, she would only start to think about the deceased and she would get depressed. She preferred to know there was somebody a few rooms away she could talk to. True, she could have joined Tina and instead have worked longer hours the next two days but she was simply not up for a long car drive. Edna finished reading the entry and shut the book after placing a bookmark on the page.
“I’m gonna visit the Key Master now, do you want to join me, Harv?“, she asked while putting the diary on her bedside table.
“No thank you”, the stuffed lagomorph declined, sounding a little angry. Edna glanced at him with a frown but did not say anything. She stood up, took her phone and money and then left her room.
When she arrived at the Key Master’s hideout, she noticed he was nowhere to be seen. Before opting to go to town and look for him there, she decided to knock first. There was, after all, a possibility that he was just indoors. Why he would be on such a fine day like this, she could not fathom. Edna knocked twice and waited for a response.
“Come in, Princess”, came from the other side. She opened the wooden instrument of exclusion and found her friend sitting at the table, making a clay figure.
“How did you know it was me?“, she questioned.
“I was just assuming it was you”, he replied, glancing at her for a moment. “And besides, you’re the only one who knows I’m here. Unless, you told anyone about my location.” He looked at her questioningly. “Have you told anyone about my location?”
“No, I haven’t”, Edna shook her head. She sat on one of the empty chairs and watched the Key Master forming something with the clay. “What’cha making?”
“You’ll see”, was his vague reply. He looked at her again. “Hm? Without Harvey today?”
“He didn’t want to come along”, Edna responded. She tugged a strand of hair behind her ear. “You know, I have the apartment to myself until tomorrow morning. If you’d like to, you could spend the night at my place.”
“Hm, sure. I don’t see why not. But is it just me or are you always asking me to sleep at your place when you know you’re spending at least one night alone?”
The Key Master looked at her questioningly. Edna grinned and played nervously with her hair.
“Well, I like to know someone I can trust is just a few steps away. And... I like your company”, Edna admitted. She did not name her third and most important reason, which was her crush on him. She had her doubts she would ever say it out loud.
“I have a feeling you mentioned the last part once before but for the record, I like your company too”, the Key Master replied. Edna’s heart skipped a beat in joy; hearing him say this made her feel as happy as a clam at high tide. He went back to his figure and she watched him working on it, trying to figure out what he was making.
Her phone began ringing, making them both jump at the sudden, unexpected noise. Edna mumbled a word of apology while taking her phone and looking at the screen to see it was Bianca calling her. She picked up the call.
“Hey Edna, me, Sebastian and my little brother are going for a swim in our backyard”, Bianca said from the other end of the line. “Do you want to join us?”
“Join you at your place for swimming?“, Edna glanced at the Key Master, silently asking him if he would not mind it if she left him alone. He gave her a nod. “Sure, I’ll meet you at your house.”
“See you later”, Bianca said and hung up. Edna pocketed her phone and then turned towards the Key Master:
“Well, I’m sure my friends wouldn’t mind it if I bring along a guest.”
“Edna, I appreciate your offer”, he interrupted her, “but I would like to finish this figure. Maybe next time.”
“Oh... okay”, Edna answered, a little disappointed. “If you’re done with it, you can just go to my apartment.”
“Alright”, the Key Master nodded. Edna stood up, walked around the table and placed a hand on his shoulder.
“I see you later”, she said and left.
Amy had found another one of the rooms Ben told her about. Like the first one, it was behind a grate. But this time, she remembered to lock it after going through. The room beyond the locked door was identical to the first one, the only differences being the person in the solitary cell and the amount of blue rag doll rabbits. There were so many that the person had little to no space to move. This person was a young woman, whose curly red hair hung lifelessly from her head. Her skin was pale from the lack of sunlight and, as it was the case with the nervous guy, her eyes were large and bulgy. In front of her was a box but Amy could not see what was inside of it.
The red head looked up from the lagomorph she was currently sewing.
“You shouldn’t be here. I’m not allowed to talk to people... at least not to living people”, she said. At least she could speak intelligibly, unlike the guy in the other cell.
“I’m Amy, and who are you?“, the therapist asked.
“I’m Miranya the Medium”, the red haired woman replied. “Really, you shouldn’t be here.”
“Why are you here? And why are you making those rabbits?“, Amy questioned, ignoring Miranya’s warnings.
“Doctor Marcel had me locked in here years ago, for no reason at all!“, Miranya angrily exclaimed. She brandished the rabbit she was sewing in the air. “And he’s been forcing me to make these ever since! I don’t know why or what for, all I know is that I can’t see the color blue anymore!”
She sighed and let her shoulders drop.
“You’re the second person I found who is making those”, Amy remarked, causing Miranya to stare at her in astonishment.
“Really!? I always thought I was the only one...”
“Yeah, but what does Doctor Marcel need them for?“, Amy’s eyes traveled from one corner of the cell to the other. There was hardly any padding visible behind all those blue rabbits. This was all very suspicious. Last time she checked, it was an asylum for the mentally ill and no toy factory. She would understand it if it was a part of occupational therapy but there were more indications that it was not.
“Beats me”, Miranya replied and picked her sewing up. “But you should really go before Doctor Marcel catches you.”
“Yeah, you’re right”, Amy heeded the red head’s warning at last. “I’m gonna find out if there are any more patients making those rabbits. I have a feeling it’s something to worry about...”
Edna, with her rucksack hoisted on her back, stood in front of a large and beautiful house. The exterior walls were as white as snow; the roof was as gray as granite. Beds with a wide array of beautiful flowers left and right of the front door and the path leading up to the house gave the property some color. If Edna were asked to name all those flowers, she would surely fail. She only saw them but did not know their names; there were only a few flowers she could name.
Edna rang the doorbell and waited for someone to open. She did not have to wait for too long until a woman in somewhere in her forties opened the door. She looked a lot like Bianca, albeit with darker skin and light brown hair; not to mention that she looked older. But it was apparent that she was Bianca’s mother.
“Hello, Missus Piumala”, Edna greeted her, receiving a kind smile in return.
“Hello Edna”, Missus Piumala replied. “Please, come in.”
She stepped aside and let Edna enter the house. The foyer always reminded Edna of her childhood home, only that it was in a much better shape. Next to the entrance door were coat hangers and, beneath these, was a cupboard filled with some of the shoes of the Piumala family. Edna knew it could only be a selection of the family’s footwear since both Bianca and her mother were obsessed with shoes and the amount of them they both own would not fit in this small cupboard, least of all with the other family member’s shoes in there. A staircase led up to the upper floor; left of it was another cupboard. The walls were decorated with still lifes and landscape paintings.
“You can change in Bianca’s room”, Missus Piumala told Edna. “She and the boys are already waiting for you.”
Edna nodded and thanked her friend’s mother before going upstairs and taking the second door to the left.
Bianca’s room had lavender walls; one of them was painted with white flowers. Her fluffy carpet was as green as the grass of a meadow where cows and sheep would be grazing. Across the room was a window, which, if Edna would look out of it, showed the backyard. Beneath the window was a desk; a laptop and three books were placed on it. Left and right of the desk was a closet, though one was larger than the other. Bianca’s bed was right underneath the wall painting of the white flowers and, opposite of it, was a television set with a video game console. To their right was a stereo system.
Edna took her rucksack off and fished her bikini out. Then she got changed and folded her everyday clothes, putting them in her rucksack after taking out a towel. After putting on a pair of flip-flops, she left the room and went downstairs and through the backdoor. Her eyes immediately fell on the large swimming pool that took up most of the backyard. A tree that was planted near it provided shade for those resting in the beach chairs. The rest of the garden was just green grass and even more flower beds. Edna spotted Bianca sitting in one of the beach chairs and Sebastian and a boy, who looked like a male version of Bianca, albeit with darker skin, playing in the pool with a water ball. The boy was her little brother Luca, a preteen around twelve years of age and who looked up to Sebastian.
“Hi guys”, Edna greeted them. They all said their words of greeting too, with happy smiles adorning their faces.
“Glad you could come”, Bianca said while Edna was putting her towel on one of the unoccupied chairs. The former patient of a mental institution frowned at her friend of Italian heritage from her father’s side.
“Of course I could. I did say I would, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, but you sounded uncertain on the phone”, Bianca pointed out. Edna’s frown deepened. Had her uncertainty really been that apparent on the phone? She thought she hid it well but it seemed like she was wrong. Bianca tilted her head, blinking at her friend with her large, dark eyes.
“Is there a reason why you were initially unsure on whether you could come or not?“, she inquired.
“No, there isn’t”, Edna lied. Her conscience reprimanded her to tell her friend the truth at once but she tried her best to ignore it. She would tell them the truth eventually, just not yet. Bianca scrutinized her with penetrating eyes for a moment.
“If you say so”, Bianca shrugged before joining her brother and Sebastian in the pool. Edna followed her a second later after taking off her flip-flops. The cool water felt so good on her skin on a warm day like this. Actually, she preferred natural bodies of water, like the sea, over swimming pools but she saw nothing wrong with those. It was great when one had nothing else nearby. With the exception of the river, there were no natural bodies of water around here, unless one would count the pond at the Key Master’s place, though even that seemed to be manmade.
Sebastian threw the water ball at Edna, which she caught and threw in the direction of Luca. With a laugh, he threw it to his sister and she threw it back to him. This time, the youngest one in the water threw the ball towards Edna, who threw it to Sebastian. This went on and on until Sebastian dived under the water and yanked Bianca’s leg. She shrieked in surprise and when he reappeared with a boisterous laugh, she splashed him with water.
“Oh you!“, Bianca growled laughingly and splashed him once more. Then she chased him around the pool, like a cat chasing a mouse. Edna and Luca, who had both left the pool, watched the spectacle as if this were a Formula One race, only less boring.
“Do you reckon she would catch him?“, Edna asked Luca.
“Only if he lets her”, the young boy replied. Their eyes followed both teenagers swimming around in circles so fast that they were beginning to feel dizzy. It was amazing how much stamina Bianca showed since she was not exactly an ace in sports. Luca left the backyard and returned a short time later with two popsicles. He gave one to Edna and they leisurely ate the cold sweetness while Bianca began to heave and slow down in her chase.
“I... I can’t... go on... any... any lon... ger”, she heaved. She slumped against the edge of the pool, breathing heavily. Sebastian swam to her and put an arm around her.
“Let’s get out of the water”, he suggested. “C’mon, I help you.”
He climbed out of the water and then, he helped Bianca out of it. She headed for the chair she was occupying earlier and plopped down in it. Sebastian sat down, too and noticed Edna and Luca eating popsicles a moment later. His jaw dropped at the sight of this heinous act.
“If you want one too, just go into the kitchen”, Luca pointed out. Sebastian stood up and went into the house.
“Looks like she couldn’t catch him after him all”, Luca commented after the older male was gone.
“Yup”, Edna agreed, finishing her popsicle. Seeing no wastebasket around, she went inside too and went to the kitchen, where she knew a wastebasket was. Sebastian left the kitchen with two popsicles in his hand the same time Edna went inside. The room for cooking meals was fairly big, much bigger than the one in her apartment. There were a lot working spaces for cutting, mincing, slicing and what else was required for preparing some dish. An elderly woman stood at the kitchen counter and rolled out dough. This was Bianca and Luca’s paternal grandmother, Francesca Piumala. After her husband left her, she moved to Switzerland, where she found out she was pregnant with Bianca and Luca’s father. She learned French and German while living in Switzerland and raised her son alone. A few years later, she moved to Germany because of her job, something that neither she nor her son were happy about. But they had gotten used to their life here; after all, her son got married here.
“Good afternoon”, Edna greeted Nonna Francesca.
“Ah ciao, Edna”, she responded with a smile. “How are you doing?”
“I’m doing fine, thanks for asking”, Edna said, reciprocating the smile with one of her own. She threw the popsicle stick in the wastebasket in a corner.
“Would you like a cookie?“, Nonna Francesca offered, indicating at a baking tray fill of finished cookies on another counter.
“Sure, thanks”, Edna replied and took one, taking a bite out of it. It was still a little warm but it was obvious that it was taken out of the oven ages ago.
“Do you like it?“, Nonna Francesca asked. Not wanting to reply with her mouth full, Edna responded with a thumb up.
By the time both Amy and Ben were back home in the afternoon, the former had found several more solitary cells where patients were forced to make blue rag doll rabbits. She was telling her boyfriend about her discovery while he made a cup of tea. Just like her, he was confused and shocked about this.
“What does Doctor Marcel want with so many rabbits?“, he questioned. “Is this some kind of new therapy?”
“If it is, then I must have missed the ‘blue rabbit therapy’“, Amy retorted, opening a cookie jar and taking out a chocolate chip cookie at the same time. Munching it, she leaned against the kitchen counter and watched her boyfriend pouring hot water into the cup with a teabag.
“I have a feeling that, whatever Doctor Marcel is planning, it can’t be good”, Amy added after she finished her cookie. “I mean, children love stuffed animals but Doctor Marcel hates children, so he’s surely up to something.”
“There isn’t something rotten in the State of Denmark but in the mental institution”, Ben responded, to which his girlfriend nodded in agreement. He took his cup of tea and went to the living room with her following. She turned on the television set and joined Ben on the couch. They silently watched an old show from the Eighties, though Amy did not really pay attention. Her mind was occupied with the poor patients, forced to make stuffed rabbits for some unknown, but surely evil, reason. She really wanted to help them but did not know how. She could not go to the police and file a charge against the doctor; he had too much influence. The first time she held a therapy session in the asylum, she overheard Bladder and Hulgor talking about the short time the doctor was in jail and how someone bribed him out of it. As far as she knew, none of the employees had ever figured out who had done it.
“Penny for your thoughts?“, Ben spoke up, having noticed his girlfriend was lost in her thoughts like it was a labyrinth.
“Hm? Oh, just thinking about the patients in these solitary cells...“, she replied, absentmindedly playing with the corner of a pillow. Ben took her into his arms, gently stroking the back of her head.
“You’re really worried about them, aren’t you?“, he said in understanding.
“Yeah, I want to help them but it would be almost impossible with just the two of us against the rest of Doctor Marcel’s minions...”
“We will find a way, I know we will.”
Missus Piumala gave both Edna and Sebastian, who both had a paper bag of Nonna Francesca’s cookies in their laps, a ride home several hours later when it was slowly getting dark. She had to run some errands in town, so she offered them to give them a lift. Right now, they were parked in front of Edna’s home. The young woman got out of the car, thanked Missus Piumala and said good bye to her and Sebastian. She went into the building and up to her apartment after Bianca’s mother drove off. She had to go to work in two hours, so she decided to make herself something to eat and left the cookies on the kitchen counter. While eating her sandwiches, she watched an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. On her way home, she had hoped the Key Master was already here, waiting for her, only to be disappointed. Maybe he would be coming later. After finishing her sandwiches and the episode, Edna decided to take a shower. Since she was all alone at home, she got undressed in her room and headed in her birthday suit to the bathroom. She stepped into the bathtub and let the water run, suddenly thinking of the shower scene in Psycho and feeling glad she was home and not in a motel run by an insane guy with a split personality disorder. It was hard to hear anything that through the pattering of the water hitting her skin and the tub. If there was anyone entering her apartment, even the bathroom, she would not hear it. By the time she would notice someone was here, they would either be long gone or she would be dead or both. But that was all theoretically.
Edna turned the shower off and grabbed a towel to wipe the water off her face. She carefully stepped out of the bathtub before drying herself off. Afterwards, she wrapped the towel around herself and took a comb from a drawer. With this, she went through her hair slowly and carefully as if it would all fall off if she were faster. Edna did usually not care about her appearance but she did prefer having well-groomed hair. The sight of her dark hair hanging lifelessly from her head only reminded her off endless hours being hypnotized to have her forget everything about herself and her past, thereby enabling Doctor Marcel to rewrite her personality. Thanks to Harvey, this never worked. Edna put the comb away when she was done and took the hairdryer for what its name suggested it was used for.
As dry as she was at the time before she took a shower but a lot cleaner now, Edna left the bathroom with only a towel wrapped around the body. She could have left the room without it but soon found it was a good thing she did. The same time Edna entered the living room, the Key Master, carrying a bag, entered the same place too. Both stopped dead in their tracks upon seeing each other, a blush covering their face. She noticed his eyes traveled up and down her body, which made her face heat up even more to the point she felt like a bowl of tomato soup on a cold autumn day.
Awkward, awkward, awkward, awkward! The word kept repeating in her head. Her brain seemed to malfunction as she was unable to do or say anything about this situation. She had not thought that the Key Master could arrive here while she was in the bathroom. He, too, seemed to be incapable of thinking clearly. They were both rooted to their spot, gaping at each other with their mouths widen open. A loud clang, as if a pot fell on the floor, resonated from an apartment a floor above, making them both jump and nearly giving them a heart attack. But at least they stopped resembling wax figures and their brains had rebooted as well.
“I... I be-better get... get d-dressed”, Edna nervously stuttered, rushing to her room before the Key Master could say anything. She leaned against the closed door after having entered her room. Her right hand was placed above her heart that pounded rapidly against her chest. Never in her life had she felt so embarrassed. It was a disaster, a catastrophe! How could she ever look at him without her face turning into a tomato? She should have known that there was a chance of him appearing while she was in the bathroom! She should have taken her clothes with her and get dressed there! But instead, she put him and herself in the most awkward situation of her life! The scene when Seven asked Harry Kim if he wished to copulate with her was nothing compared to this!
“Edna, are you alright?“, Harvey asked worriedly from his spot on the bed. Edna swallowed hard and moved away from the door, approaching her bed.
“The Key Master saw me like this...“, Edna sounded like she wanted to die of embarrassment.
“Did you punch him?“, the lagomorph asked. Edna shook her head, telling him she was too shocked. He insisted that she would have done so and should do this after she got dressed. However, Edna ignored his suggestion. It was time for her to go to work.
It was dinner time in the mental institution, where Edna and the Key Master used to be patients. The cook prepared wieners and toast for the remaining patients. Petra was not exactly happy about having to eat sausage; she did not want any animals to suffer and therefore ate no animal products. However, she was the only one who thought like this. Everyone else did not care, as long as they got something edible – though they would like it if there was another free choice day. As the name suggested, they could order whatever they wanted but it happened rarely. Last time they had a free choice day was almost six months ago. Since then, they had to endure whatever the cook was serving, which could sometimes be delicious but disgusting at other times.
“Aren’t you eating anything, Petra?“, Professor Nock asked the peppy girl.
“I would if they had a salad or anything not made from animal products”, Petra replied.
“Tough luck, this is the only thing we will get until breakfast tomorrow”, the Beeman reasoned. “Unless you sneak to the kitchen tonight and steal an apple or something, you’re going to starve.”
“Oh, I will be alright”, she assured him. “But thanks for your concern.”
The Beeman refrained from sighing and just went back to his portion. Guards standing at every possible entrance eyed the patients suspiciously, ready to intervene in case they stepped out of the line. They needed no other food fight or patients planning an escape. These loonies would only be a danger to themselves and other people if they ever managed to break out. That was why the guards never let any patients run around alone and why the grates were always locked. Still, they could not explain how some patients still managed to run around freely in areas they should not run around freely. Perhaps they were smarter than the guards gave them credit for... Nevertheless, the loonies were always caught before they could get out of the building and in the rare cases they managed to, they were unable to leave the premises. So, they were not exceptionally intelligent, especially not since they try it again and again despite knowing what Doctor Marcel would do to them.
Dinner was over, the guards gathered the patients together in one big group. There were two guards on each side of the crowd for escorting them back to the recreation room. The patients were allowed to occupy themselves with board games or drawing. When it was getting time to go sleep, the employees would escort them to the bathroom facilities and then to the dormitories. When the patients were done, a guard would escort a loony from solitary confinement to the bathrooms, though there was always the risk of someone still being there when the patient in solitary was about to use the facilities. But it happened rarely, so none of the employees were worried. As long as everything was going Doctor Marcel’s way, everything was fine.
It was late at night, past midnight in fact. Edna, who just returned to the apartment complex after her work shift, drove the elevator up to her floor. She was the only one using it but it would not have mattered anyway as her mind was back to a few hours ago, when she had the awkward encounter with the Key Master. When she left for work, he was nowhere to be seen but his bag lay next to the couch. She pondered where he had been... Had he gone out for a walk to clear his mind? Or was he hiding from her? No, that could not be, Edna thought as she shook her head; he did not seem like the kind of guy who would hide because of an uncomfortable incident. If he was in the living room when she returned, she would ask him, though she would choose her words carefully, so that she would not indicate he was a coward. She did not want him to wrongly assume she would think that of him. The Key Master was careful and wary but not cowardly.
The elevator stopped and the doors opened. Edna stepped out of the elevator and headed down the hallway until she reached the door to her apartment. She fished her key out of her bag and unlocked the door and stepped inside. Her confirmation that the Key Master was still here was a sound she heard from the living room while she was relocking the door. It sounded like one of Tina’s movies; one Edna knew too, even though she did not immediately recognize it. But it was familiar to her, nonetheless. Wondering what the Key Master was watching, she walked into the living room, where she found him watching Tangled and, by the looks of it, he was still at an early part of the movie. He made no indication that he noticed Edna entering the living room, either because he really did not or he was deliberately ignoring her. She hoped it was the former; the latter would just hurt her feelings. Wanting to find out which reason it was, she approached him and sat next to him on the couch.
“Hello”, she said simply. The Key Master turned his head towards her and stared at her with eyes that betrayed no emotions.
“Hello Princess”, he greeted her back. “When did you get back?”
“A minute ago”, Edna replied. Her eyebrows were furrowed into a frown. “You weren’t ignoring me, were you?”
“No”, he denied. “I have no reason to ignore you, so why should I?”
“Well, it could be you still feel embarrassed about the awkward moment a few hours ago”, Edna pointed out, her face heating up at the memory. She was not the only one since the Key Master blushed as well.
“Still no reason for me to ignore you”, he stated before adding quietly: “But sorry about this...”
“It’s not your fault, I didn’t think you could appear when I’m only in a towel”, Edna smiled at him to show she was not mad. “Besides, you’ve only seen my shoulders, arms, and legs, all of which you have already seen before. It’s not like you saw me in nothing but my birthday suit.”
The Key Master’s face took a darker shade of red and he cleared his throat:
“If you don’t mind, I would like to watch this.”
Edna nodded and stood up again; she went to her room where she changed into her pajamas. Before rejoining the Key Master, she headed for the kitchen and took the cookies she got from Nonna Francesca. By the time Edna was back in the living room, the movie was at the part where Rapunzel negotiated a deal with Flynn Rider. Sitting next to the Key Master and offering some cookies, she watched the scene with interest. She wondered why he chose Tangled of all the movies in the shelf, though she was not complaining. It was enjoyable and fun to watch and she could kind of relate to the main character. Thus, they both watched the movie in silence whole eating the cookies and laughing at the funny parts. But at the lantern scene, neither made any kind of sound, they were just awfully quiet. Unconsciously, they moved closer together and put their arms around each other. She rested her head on his shoulder and he leaned his head against hers. They stayed like this for the rest of the movie, not realizing they were in such a position that anyone could mistake them as a couple. But Edna felt too comfortable and secure to think too much about it or to notice it. Besides, he did not seem to mind either, so there was no reason for her to move if she had realized their position. It was only when the credits rolled when they both noticed how close they were. They jumped apart with blushing faces.
“So, um, what did you think of it?“, Edna asked, fidgeting with her fingers and tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.
“It was enjoyable”, the Key Master replied while he pressed the Stop button on the remote. “It was quite an interesting adaptation of the fairytale, but I do like the fact that there was an actual reason for Rapunzel to have incredibly long hair.”
“Except for preventing her to leave the tower on her own”, Edna pointed out, crumpling the empty bag where the cookies were kept in up. “Otherwise Mother Gothel could have just used a rope. Although, we saw Rapunzel could even escape with her hair.”
“Hm, you’ve got a point there”, the Key Master agreed the same time he put the Blu Ray back into its case and back to the shelf. Edna quickly went into the kitchen to throw the paper bag in a waste basket. When she returned, she found the Key Master studying the movie collection.
“Is there anything you could recommend, Princess?“, he asked nonchalantly. Edna thought for a moment as her purple eyes traveled through the collection. She had seen some of the movies and thought some were really good but she did not know what the Key Master liked, so it was difficult for her to make a recommendation. There were some where she would say to watch it at least once but even then, she was unsure if he would like them. Nevertheless, she pointed at those.
“I’ve been wanting to watch these for quite some time”, Edna said, pointing at the two DVD boxes labeled Pushing Daisies. “But I think it would be too much to watch in one night. Besides...” She covered her mouth when a yawn escaped her. “... I’m feeling quite sleepy.”
“Perhaps you should better go to bed then”, the Key Master suggested. “I will sleep on the couch.”
“Oh no, you don’t”, Edna replied, narrowing her eyes at him and hitting his chest with her index finger on each word. “I saw how uncomfortable the couch was for you last time you were here. I insist you take my bed and I will sleep on the couch.”
“Why don’t you sleep in your housemate’s bed if you insist I take yours? That way we both would have it comfortable”, the Key Master retorted.
“I know but I don’t wanna risk Tina catching me in her bed tomorrow morning”, Edna responded.
“Don’t you think it would be the same if you slept on the couch?“, the Key Master sighed. “Do we always have to discuss sleeping arrangements when I spend the night here?”
Suddenly, without warning, Edna literally lost ground when he lifted her up and put her over his shoulder, emitting a startled shriek from her. She twisted her head to see that he carried her to her own room, only stopping once to open the door. He took huge strides through her room and dumped her on her bed. Edna opened her mouth to protest but his glare made her shut it and remain where she was. The Key Master glared at her for another minute before leaving her room. She contemplated going after him but decided against it. Instead, she took Vivian’s diary, which lay next to her and began reading after turning on the lamp on her bedside table. The next several entries her mother wrote all those years ago were of no particular interest, except maybe the part where she mentioned that Mattis went to the city for some unknown reason. The sound of the Key Master reentering her room made her look up. He was clad in his pajamas and she noticed he was rubbing his arm with a rather pained expression on his face.
“Are you hurt?“, Edna asked worriedly. The Key Master stopped rubbing immediately and put on a neutral face.
Now it was her turn to glare at him as he took a seat next to her.
“You can’t fool me, I’ve seen the look on your face”, she revealed. “Tell me or I will make you tell me.”
“And what will you do if I refuse to tell you?“, the Key Master countered, looking at her expectedly.
“Don’t know yet but I will think of something”, Edna retorted. Then she leaned over and hesitatingly and gingerly touched the arm he was rubbing. No reaction. She put a little more pressure to her touch. She heard a soft gasp of pain coming from the Key Master and withdrew her hand.
“Are you still trying to convince me that it’s nothing?“, she questioned, gazing deeply into his green eyes. He sighed in defeat.
“Oh alright... Do you recall the moment you used the reverend’s corpse to push me down the railing I sat on?“, he asked. Edna could remember it well, as if it happened only the day before. Her heart had nearly stopped back then when she saw him lying among the benches with his body in a weird angle and his apparently not breathing. The mere thought of the moment still shocked her; she just could not believe she was capable of something like this.
“Well, I broke my arm on the benches”, the Key Master went on after Edna nodded. “And it never received medical care. So, it never properly healed.”
Edna could imagine why he never went to see a doctor because of his arm; it was kind of hard to stroll into a hospital if one was a convicted murderer and loony running around. The first thing anyone would do is to call the police instead of giving him the help he needed. Maybe there were some who would have helped him... Edna sighed and leaned against his uninjured arm.
“My colleague Anika’s going to attend university for medicine study soon and she knows a lot about those kinds of things”, she told him. “I could ask her next time I see her.”
“You could but if I go easy on it, then it’s going to be alright”, he responded. Edna refrained herself from sighing again; she seriously doubted he genuinely wanted to meet new people. He might say he wanted to but she had yet to see it. Oh well, at least he would be going to town now and then, which was quite an improvement. Maybe she should just give him time. Still, this was about his health and not about socializing.
“I will still ask her”, Edna decided in a determined voice. “You can’t just walk around with your arm in such a state.”
“If I had health insurance and a card, I would go to the doctor’s as soon as possible”, the Key Master stated while moving to the side of the bed that was closer to the wall and lying down. Edna wanted to smack her face against her palm. She completely forgot about those! Of course he would need them if he were to go the doctor’s! How stupid could she be?
“Come on, don’t think too much about it”, the Key Master advised. “Some rest would do you good.”
Edna decided to heed his words and lay down too. She put her mother’s diary on the bedside table and turned off the light. Afterwards, she got comfortable, facing the Key Master, who had been watching her the whole time.
“Good night”, Edna bade him and closed her eyes. Before she drifted off to sleep, she heard the Key Master say “sweet dreams, Princess” to her.
The early morning hours arrived, so early that the sun was barely starting to rise from beyond the horizon. No one would get the idea to get up at this hour deliberately and yet, there was one person who was about to do this. The Key Master opened his green eyes, finding he was holding something or, rather, someone in his arms and this person was hugging him close. He realized it was Edna only a moment later. When they fell asleep a few hours ago, there had been a bit of space between them but now they were as close as two people who were fully clothed could get. The Key Master leaned back and looked at Edna’s peacefully sleeping face. He watched her sleep for a short moment, feeling at ease and also finding himself not minding it if he could wake up to a sight like this every morning – it was certainly better than a scarcely furnished house with no electricity and a fireplace as the only to keep warm when the colder seasons arrived. As if feeling his gaze on her, Edna sleepily opened her eyes.
“Hm? What’ssamatter?“, she mumbled tiredly.
“I should be going now”, the Key Master told her. He moved his arm from its previous position, which was across her waist as he just realized, and wiped a strand of hair that fell in her face away. Edna closed her eyes again and he quietly got up. He saw her turning around in her sleep and grabbing Harvey, who she held close to her chest.
“See you, Princess”, he breathed and quietly left her bedroom.
Not even an hour later, the Key Master left the apartment complex after a shower and getting dressed. Nobody was out at these early morning hours, so he leisurely sauntered down the streets towards the forest. With the deserted streets around him and with no sounds, except the twittering of the occasional bird, he felt like he was in a ghost town. It was only upon reaching the outskirts of the town when he noticed another human life; an old man wearing a gray suit and a red and green tie left a rundown building. Upon closer inspection, the Key Master realized it was the same man who harassed Edna not very long ago. He seemed to have noticed the green-skinned man, for he was heading straight towards him.
“Ah good morning, my fine man. What brings you out here so early on a Saturday morning? No wait, don’t tell me. You spent the night with your lover.” He nodded knowingly. “And now you have to leave before her boyfriend comes home and catches you. Ah, I know how this is. But hey, at least you can sleep with as many women as you like.”
He let out a booming and dirty laugh. The Key Master felt disgusted and annoyed by him. He could not believe how some men only used women for their sexual desires and showed them no respect. True, he was hardly any better when he went through puberty but it stopped by the time he had his girlfriend – before that, he simply flirted with girls and sometimes did even more than that. But women who would want to sleep with every man they meet were just as bad as this old man who walked alongside the Key Master. The green-skinned man had been deprived of any sexual activity for more than a decade but now he would not do this with every woman he met. At least, he could control himself and his desires. Besides, if he had not done it for so long, he could still wait with it for more months or perhaps even years.
“Ya know, my good man, I encountered a pretty girl all alone in the park at night time a few weeks ago”, the old man went on. “From what I could see, she had dark hair and eyes. She looked quite distraught. I wanted to take her to my house and comfort her – if you know what I mean.” He winked at the Key Master. “Couldn’t, thanks to the meddling of some guy. Oooh, but if I find her again. I will take her to me and she will never want another man ever again.”
The Key Master’s blood boiled like a pot of water on a stove. He knew who the man was talking about. Who did that man think he was? It was Edna’s own business who she wanted to be with and, frankly, the Key Master doubted she would want to be such a disgusting man. Still, that guy did not shut up; he kept talking and talking:
“But she was not the only pretty girl I saw. There are a lot of girls around here, all waiting for them to take me. They just don’t know it yet.”
Did that guy have an off button? Each word coming out of his mouth made the Key Master even madder. If he did not leave soon, an accident might be happening within the next ten minutes. However, the old man either seemed not to notice the Key Master’s annoyance or he chose to ignore it. Anyway, the older man laughed boisterously and put an arm around the younger guy, much to the latter’s chagrin.
“Maybe I could even convince ’em to please you. You look like you could use some action”, the old guy commented. The Key Master’s fingers started to tingle and twitch; the urge to kill that man was steadily rising.
“Remove your arm or I will remove your arm from your body”, the green man threatened in a forced calm. The old geezer laughed, as if he had been told a joke.
“Ah, you’re the most hilarious guy I’ve ever met. One of my girls will surely please you. How about the dark haired beauty from the park? Or any other girl? I let you choose. You can even have two or more at the same time.”
That was it! The Key Master had enough! In one swift movement, he grabbed the old guy’s tie and tightened it, cutting off his air supply. All this talk as if he spoke of tools! It annoyed the Key Master and made his blood boil. One of the females the old geezer wanted to use was his friend! And how did he dare to offer him some of them for pleasure like they were something like sex toys? Even he, the Key Master, never stooped that low. As long as he had no reason or urge to do someone in, he respected other human beings. But this old guy? Oh no, he did not deserve any respect. The Key Master bared his teeth as he pulled the tie even tighter; his victim scratched his hands and arm in an attempt for struggle but it was in vain. All those degrading things that left his mouth only made the Key Master more furious. He felt no pain, only rage and satisfaction when he saw the man’s face turning blue. The old guy’s eyes lost the life residing behind them and they rolled back. The old man’s arms fell limply to his side. He was no more...
Coming back to his senses, the Key Master stared at his victim. His heart pounded against his chest as if he ran a marathon. Did he really just kill a man? How could this happen? He had not committed any murders for years; it made no sense to him... The Key Master looked around to see if he had any eye witnesses. Fortunately, the streets were still deserted. But even if he had spotted somebody, what would he have done? He did not know but he knew the corpse had to disappear. His eyes fell on a nearby alleyway. Yes, this should do it. Still holding the victim by the tie, the Key Master dragged the body to the alley. It was littered with banana peels, rotten food and paper wrappings. One large dumpster took up most of the space. He hid the body next to it, so that it would not be seen from the streets but when one was deep in the alleyway. If he was lucky, the corpse would not be found until he was gone. However, he should not count on his good fortune. The Key Master examined the corpse and took the tie away. It would have his fingerprints, so he decided to take it with him and destroy, perhaps burn, it. On his way out of the alley and back to his hideout, he pondered whether or not he should tell Edna about his relapse. Would she be mad? Well, he could not blame her if she was; he would be too. Nevertheless, she deserved to learn the truth from him...
Hours passed since the Key Master’s departure. It was around midday now. Edna slept peacefully in her bed, not a care in the world. Six weeks of freedom, of doing what she wanted to do and spending time with her best friends. No more school. She did not have to endure Heike anymore. She was free at last. Of course, some would see it as a waste of time to sleep through half of the day but Edna’s work shift the previous night was so stressful she had to work overtime. It had been past midnight by the time she was back home. Besides, Edna currently dreamed she was in a setting of a role-play game with her as the main characters, her friends as either companions or helpful citizens and Doctor Marcel and his minions as the evil faction. It was a fun dream, her primary weapon was a polo mallet and she was able to summon different versions of Harvey, each with their own unique power. Her favorite was probably dragon Harvey, who had the ability to fly and burn her enemies to death. Maybe she should write all down some day, although she doubted it would be published as book and be as successful as Harry Potter or Twilight, though she still could not explain how the latter became so popular.
Edna awoke from her sleep upon sniffing the enticing smell of roast chicken. Her grumbling stomach sounded like the roar of a ferocious beast. She had not eaten anything since she came back home after school ended, except for a little sandwich she managed to stuff in shortly before work. Oh, and the popsicle when she visited Bianca and some cookies. Nothing satiable, however. She could eat a horse but chicken would do too. With one good yawn, Edna sat up and stretched herself, then she got up and left her room for the kitchen, where she found Tina, who was already back, in the middle of making lunch.
“Smells delicious”, Edna commented while leaning against the doorframe.
“Well, it’s chicken! How else did you expect it to smell?“, Tina retorted with a cheeky grin while checking the potatoes. “Hm, five to ten more minutes, then we can eat. You could set the table.”
Edna nodded and went to the cupboard, where she took two plates from. She carried these to the living room and put them on the table before returning to the kitchen for the cutlery and napkins. After having set the table, she decided to zap through the television channel to pass time. Perhaps she could find something interesting. It was not long until she found something – documentary about the Roman Empire. Edna decided to watch it since it was unlikely she would find anything that would not cause her to lose brain cells or be bored to death. Maybe she should just go out after lunch and enjoy the warm weather. After all, the glorious sunshine practically screamed for her to go outside. She remembered how she used to spend every single day outside in summer, unless she was grounded for teasing Alfred again. She had loved to go swimming in the local lake or play on the playground, as well as riding with her bicycle through the forest. However, her favorite passing of time was to play “Hunt The Frog”. Edna chuckled when she thought of how much Alfred feared their lawnmower. Oh, how she missed him. Even though she found him annoying, he was an okay guy and he really did not deserve to die. Once again, Edna found herself wishing she could communicate with the dead and talk to Alfred and Mattis and apologize to them. Not wanting to depress herself again, she tried to think of something positive, like the dream she had. But her thoughts strayed to the man she had a crush on and the fact that they slept together in one bed. She had hazy recollections of waking up in the very early morning hours and of his saying good bye for now.
The scent of roast chicken intensified when Tina carried a big plate of it into the living room. While she was putting the dead poultry on the table, Edna walked to the kitchen to get the potatoes. Tina followed her a second later for the sauce. Once everything was on the table and once they were seated, they started eating.
“So, what’cha gonna do today, Edna?”
It was just after lunch. The women were busy cleaning the used dishes and cutleries.
“I’m going to meet a couple of old school friends later. You could come along if you want to”, the blond woman offered while now scrubbing one of the used pots. Edna considered for a moment. Normally, she would decline meeting Tina’s old friends, though she could not say why, but perhaps she should change it. After all, she had convinced the Key Master to go to town now and then and if he could do something he avoided doing, she could too. It would also be nice to meet new people and make new friends.
“Hm, sure. I don’t see why not”, she eventually replied and put the dry plate into the cupboard. Tina gaped at her:
“Really!? You never said yes before.”
“If you wanted me to say no, you can just say so.”
“No, it’s not that. I’m just pleasantly surprised.”
Tina finished cleaning the pot and began doing the same to the other.
“Sure, just don’t forget it, okay?”
“And you think of reminding me.”
Edna nodded once in agreement before putting the now dry pot in the cupboard. At the moment, she had nothing to do – not until the second pot was clean –and so, she decided to enjoy the view out of the window. If only the weather would be like this every day, she would spend every minute of her free time outdoors. In her childhood, she had liked days like these the most, as much as, if not even more so than, teasing Alfred. They used to have tours on their bicycles whenever they liked; Mattis would prepare a giant pot of noodle soup before their tour began. He was not the best cook when he made anything with noodles but it did not prevent him from trying. Edna found herself wishing she had a bicycle just so she could relive those times at least once more. But she never had enough money left since she deemed it was more important to help the Key Master out. However, the most important items he needed, like new clothes or new furniture, he got them already. The only things he needed regularly were food and drinks and, of course, something to occupy his time with. Perhaps Edna would be able to save for a bicycle sooner or later.
“Say, where are we going to meet your old friends anyway?“, she asked when she was finally able to dry off the last pot.
“At an ice cream parlor”, Tina replied while drying her hands off. She scrutinized her hands critically. “I look like I have the hands of a granny...”
“Ice cream parlor?“, Edna repeated. “Not the Ice Cream Spectrum?”
She really did not like that parlor ever since she visited with Sebastian. Sure, the cold sweetness was delicious but she could ever bring herself to enter that place again, even if she was being paid for it. Only if Ice Cream Spectrum would get a new interior designer, she would consider going there again.
“No, of course not! The other one – Tropical Ice Cream“, Tina responded. “We meet at three, so we have less than two hours left of doing what we want to do.”
Well, if there was still some time, maybe she could start writing down her dream. Perhaps she could draw up a comic, like she did with The Adventures of Amazonian Space Girl in her childhood. If she thought about it, she could also revive her old comic series, too. There were a lot of creative things she could do and let her friends read and review them. She knew they would be honest with her and would also make suggestions to help her improve. But first, the writing down of her dream. So, Edna went to her room, turned on her laptop and opened a new text document. She began writing...