A Few Years Later
Edna had managed to evade the police and Doctor Marcel. Not long after her escape, she found refuge at a convent school; it was unlikely they would look for her there. While she was there, she hid her parents’ clothes in the cave she found on the night of her escape. In fact, she secretly hid other things there, so it would be a comfortable hiding place in case she needed one once again. However, she had to escape again when Mother Superior called for Doctor Marcel to use his “white-sheet” method, also known a “correction of character”, on a student. She was captured during her escape. At least one good thing came out of the whole ordeal, she was reunited with Harvey. However, he was left with a single scar over one eye and he had a string in his stomach. Her friend from the convent school, Lilli, was put in an orphanage while the school closed down due the lack of students. But, unlike Lilli, Edna did not end up in an orphanage since she was already of age. Luckily, Gerret helped her finding a place to stay.
So, now Edna lived in an apartment in a town one hour away from her childhood home. Her housemate was the little sister of an acquaintance of Gerret’s. She had no problem in letting Edna live with her, her only condition was that she was not allowed to enter her room without permission – she liked her privacy – and that she would wash her clothes on her own. Right now, Edna attended school to get a proper graduation; on weekends and during holidays, she had a part-time job in a small restaurant. Her appearance had changed over the few years. Her once pale skin was now a darker, healthier complexion. She wore mostly dark colors, particularly purple, but all in all, she had no specific preferences in regards of fashion. The only thing that mattered to her about her clothes was that they did not look like they should belong to a clown. Most of the time, she did kept her hair open and free, except when she had to wear a ponytail. Her life was not the best but it was better than it was since she was eight years old.
“What do you think, Harv?“, she asked her old friend, showing him the picture she just drew. It was a picture of creatures dancing around a bonfire.
“It looks great! Except that it doesn’t explode and burn everything”, the stuffed rabbit responded. Edna chuckled but before she could reply to his criticism, she heard a knock on her door.
The door opened to reveal her housemate, Tina. She was about the same height as Edna, but a bit on the chubby side. She was also a few years older than her, though one would think otherwise if the two were compared with each other. Her hair was short and blond and her eyes were green. Tina wore normally a sweater, a light colored one at the moment, and jeans. It was actually her who encouraged Edna to take on art as a hobby. At first, she had no idea what to think about this but soon found she was not so bad and she was improving with each drawing and clay figure.
“Edna, I need to shop for groceries. Do you need anything?“, she asked, leaning against the doorframe. Edna thought for a moment before replying:
“No, there’s nothing I need but should I need something after all, I call you.”
“Okay then, see you later”, with that, Tina left the room, closing the door behind her. A few minutes later, Edna heard the front door open and close. Now alone, save for Harvey, Edna looked around her room. It was kept in dark colors, decorated by a couple of her pictures and clay figures. Her bed was situated right underneath the window; next to the bed was a bedside table, which a lamp and an alarm clock stood on. At one wall was a wardrobe, which could not be properly closed, filled with the pieces of clothing she acquired over time, as well as her parents’ clothes, for she could not bring herself to part from them. Next to the wardrobe was a dresser, in which she kept her art supplies and school stuff. At the wall opposite the wardrobe was a desk with an old laptop of Tina’s, which Edna was using until she could afford a better one. Above the desk was a shelf, filled with the few DVDs and CDs she had acquired. Edna stood up from her chair and walked over to her bed, with Harvey in hand, just to sit down there and to look out of the window. It was a rather cold Saturday afternoon in May, with gray clouds covering the sky and a strong wind blowing. Edna shuttered at the thought of leaving the apartment to go to work later. Perhaps she should ask Tina for a ride...
“Harvey, I have no idea what I could do...“, she lamented to her lagomorph friend.
“We could build rockets and use them to make an island fly!“, Harvey responded enthusiastically.
“No, the next island is too far away”, Edna giggled. Then she added in a contemplating voice: “Maybe I should play a video game...”
“Or that”, the blue stuffed rabbit shrugged. Once again, Edna got up and left with Harvey her bedroom and went to the living room.
It was the largest room in the apartment, with a small cabinet at one wall. A television set stood on the cabinet and a video game console and a Blu Ray player were wired to it. In front of the cabinet stood a coffee table, as well as a couch and an armchair. Next to the television set was a cupboard, filled with DVDs, Blu Rays, video games and books, all which were Tina’s. Edna did not quite agree with her taste but was nonetheless allowed to watch them or play them or read them if she was bored. She picked out a game, turned on the television set and the console, put the game in and the one that was in the console before back into its case and started playing.
Edna had no idea how long she played but eventually, she heard Tina returning, which was confirmed by her announcing “I’m back!” the moment she stepped through the front door. A moment later, the older woman entered the living room, shopping bags in her arms, which she set down on the dining table behind the couch.
“Um, Edna? I think you should get ready for work”, Tina pointed out. The younger woman looked at a watch and saw that her housemate was right, so she saved the game and turned everything off before disappearing into the bathroom. There she took off her clothes and got into the bathtub. At first, it was weird for her to be in a bathtub and taking a shower there as she was too used to the washrooms at the asylum but quickly got used to this. More privacy and she could take as long as she liked... unless Tina had to use the bathroom. Anyway, after Edna was done with washing, she got dressed again and left the bathroom. Back in her room, she took her work clothes and put them in a bag – she would change into them at her workplace. Now a quick bite to eat and she was ready to go.
An hour later, Edna was on her way to work, carrying her bag, in which she kept her work clothes, money, ID, a lunchbox full of sandwiches and something to drink. The way was not long but not short either; it was actually good exercise for her to walk the path, but she did not like walking when the weather was bad. Oh well, she just had to live with this but she walked faster. The sooner she was at the restaurant, the better. There was no need for her to catch a cold in this weather just because she decided not to ask Tina to give her a ride.
A short time later, Edna appeared at the restaurant. It was a nice, quaint place that reminded her for summer with its white exterior and turquoise door. During summer, a couple of tables and chairs stood outside the restaurant, underneath some parasols. Edna entered through the employees’ only entrance and quickly changed in the changing room to start her shift. The work clothes for waitresses consisted of a pale blue dress that ended just above her kneecaps and a white apron. Edna also had her hair tied together in a lose ponytail; actually, most long-haired waitresses did. Once she was ready, she took a notepad and pen and left the changing room.
The restaurant’s interior was kept in light colors, starting with white and gradually becoming a darker shade of blue until the bottom was midnight blue. On the window sill were seashells, plastic starfish and seahorses as well as a little figurine of a mermaid. Various pictures showing sea creatures, both real life and mythological, decorated the walls and from the ceiling hung a fishnet filled with plastic water flowers and seashells. Only a few guests were there and each of them already had their orders. However, this was not the case for long, for a young couple entered the restaurant. They took off their jackets and hung them on a coat hook before taking a seat underneath a picture of a Kraken taking down a ship. Edna took two menus and walked over them.
“Welcome to the Mare de Sol”, she greeted them, handing them the menu. “Would you like something to drink?”
“Um, yes, Miss. I would like a glass of beer”, the man answered.
“And for me apple juice, please”, the woman, who was most likely his girlfriend, replied. Edna nodded while she made a note.
“I’ll be back in a moment.”
With that she left their table and went over to the bar, where she got the drinks. She returned to the young couple, carrying a tray with their refreshments.
“Here you go”, she said, while placing the glasses on the table. “Would you like to order now?”
“Oh yes, I would like the beef steak, medium rare, with potatoes and a salad”, the woman replied.
“Fried fish with French fries for me”, the male responded. Just like before, Edna made a note and told them their orders would be served soon. Then she went to the kitchen, where the cooks were busy preparing the meals. It was deafeningly loud being in the kitchen, with the cooks shouting, the banging of the pots and other utensils that were dropped. Normally, Edna did not mind if it was noisy, but this was just annoying for her in this case, which was why she was glad she was not working in the kitchen. She was sure she would never want to work in gastronomy once she finished school but the trouble was, she still had no idea what kind of job she could have. She had never thought about this, she never had the chance to when she was stuck in the asylum. There were often times when she wished she could blame Doctor Marcel for her stolen childhood and adolescence but she knew she had no one to blame but herself. It was after all her who killed Alfred, not him. But no point in thinking about this now; she had work to do and thus shouted the order to a cook Then she left the kitchen to find more guests had arrived and went on to wait the next table.
Hours later, Edna returned home from her stressful shift. She quietly took off her shoes and jacket and made her way to her room. She knew Tina was already asleep, otherwise she would hear something in the living room, as Edna knew her housemate liked to watch a movie or play a video game before going to sleep.
“Edna! Edna! Edna! Edna!“, Harvey enthusiastically greeted her by calling her name several times. “Did you miss me?”
“Sure I did, little buddy”, she replied with a small smile on her face. She took a nightgown and panties and walked back through the door, telling her stuffed friend that she would be back in a few minutes. She was exhausted and just wanted to sleep but before she did it, she would brush her teeth and change her clothes. Once she was done, she returned in her room and went to bed, falling asleep the moment her head hit the pillow and holding Harvey close to her chest.
She woke up around midday the following day, awakened by a delicious smell coming from somewhere in the apartment. She got up and put on her dressing gown, and then left her room, still holding Harvey. Following the smell, she soon found Tina in the kitchen, preparing lunch. The older one of the two looked up when she heard the door opening.
“Oh morning, Edna”, Tina greeted her. “Did you sleep well?”
“Yes, I did. What about you?”
“Me too. Lunch will be ready soon; could you please set up the table?”
Edna nodded and put Harvey down on the window sill before opening a cupboard to get two plates, which she carried to the living room and put them on the dining table. Then she went back to get the cutlery before taking Harvey with her to the living room. She decided to watch something on television while waiting for lunch but found nothing of interest. Sundays were her least favorite days of the week, as there was nothing interesting to watch on television and because she knew another week would start the next day, another week of school. Speaking of which, she had an examination paper in English class the next day. Maybe she should ask Tina for help for some last minute studying...
“Lunch is ready!“, Tina announced as she appeared with a large plate fill of chicken legs. She set it down in the middle of the table and went back to the kitchen to get potatoes and did the same for the vegetables. Then both girls sat down, filled their plates, and started eating.
Miles away, in a building on a hill just outside a village, a rather old man in a wheelchair looked out of the window. He had pretty much stopped caring about his mental institution ever since Edna escaped him a second time. The only thing that mattered to him was that none of his patients would also escape. What did he care if his patients were not treated? It was enough to keep them, but paying for therapists? No, thank you, although he had recently started to hire a rather young therapist but he did so very rarely. The last time he declared a patient clinically sane was Moti a few years back. As far as he knew, he died not long after. He was also aware that Hoti was in prison but not where that guy in the aluminum outfit, the Key Master and especially Edna were. He had to find them, particularly the girl; she was going to pay for the death of his son and because of his disability and one lost eye. Because of her, he had to hire construction workers to add ramps for his wheelchair just so he could still keep his office on the topmost floor. Because of her, he had to renovate his office for it was defiled with ketchup, mustard, writings and spit about everywhere. One way or another, he was going to find her. Then he would take her rabbit, her Harvey, away and destroy him and he would erase her memories and rewrite her personality. He did not care if some people saw his methods as controversial; it worked on Alfred and many other people. In fact, Alfred was among his first test subjects. Doctor Marcel never wanted children but he accepted it when his wife got pregnant and gave birth to their firstborn, Ruben. Around that time, Doctor Marcel had started developing his character correction method, which had reached its final stage around the time when he got his wife pregnant with Alfred. He spoke with his wife about trying his method on their sons, though Alfred was still unborn, but she refused, which led to a huge fight. She soon filed for a divorce and sole custody for their sons. He did not care; he knew he would find other test subjects. But of course, his ex-wife just had to get herself killed in a car accident. Because of this, he had to take care of his sons, though this change of events had some merits. Instead of looking for test subjects, he had two available. However, his correction of character did not work on Ruben. His oldest son was a disappointment, so he forced him to live in the basement and not interact with other people. Fortunately, his method worked on Alfred, making Doctor Marcel proud of his younger son. No more of this childish playing – for the most part – and running around and doing what he, Alfred, wanted. No, Doctor Marcel had a son he could raise to be just like himself. Unfortunately, Alfred was nevertheless in need of toys, but as long he would turn out the way the owner of the asylum liked, he would not mind. Actually, he did love his son at least a little. He would still go to the perpetually closed room each day to remember his son in silence. Alfred had a great future waiting for him but this Edna had to kill him. Oh, he was going to find her and she was going to pay. He just needed a plan...
“Enter!“, he called after hearing somebody knock. The door opened to reveal a large, blond man clad in blue. “What is it, Hulgor?”
“Doctor Marcel, those loonies have another food fight down in the cafeteria.”
Doctor Marcel groaned. Could those walking definitions of incompetence not do something right for once? He turned around with his wheelchair, glaring daggers with his one eye at Hulgor.
“So? THEN DO SOMETHING, YOU FOOL!“, he bellowed, sending his employee running way from his office. As soon as Hulgor was gone, Doctor Marcel continued looking out the window. If his guards were just a little more intelligent, then the breakout from a few years ago would have never happened. But he was going to find Edna, no matter what; he did not particularly care for the Key Master and Aluman, though that would be a nice bonus.
Edna sat at her desk in her dark room, illuminated only by her desk lamp. She had spent all day long studying for her examination paper in English with Tina’s help. Now and then, they had taken a break and watched a movie, in English on Tina’s insistence as this would be good training for her. Now Edna could not get Under The Sea out of her head. She was going to get back at her housemate, one way or another. But first, she had to go over her notes and then she would go to sleep.
“This is boring!“, Harvey complained. “Can’t we do something fun, like mixing some random chemicals and see what happens?”
“We can’t, Harvey. I have to study and besides, we can’t risk blowing up our home. If this were all Doctor Marcel’s stuff, then I would have no problem with it”, Edna replied curtly, looking up from her notes.
“Man, you used to be so fun. Now you’re just boring”, the stuffed rabbit groaned. He was met by a glare from Edna:
“Harvey, I can’t just be a child forever. I have to grow up some time and I need a proper graduation and a job for a good future.”
This time, she received no answer from her old friend. Edna used to silence to go back to her notes and went over them for another hour until she went to bed.
He could just not understand it. For years, he had been trying to find the girl but so far, he had not succeeded. How did she manage to escape him? He was the Key Master; he was more intelligent than anyone else from the asylum. But maybe this was his problem... Edna was the only person, aside from him, who was actually intelligent. This could be the reason why he could not find her yet. He had to think like Edna if he was ever going to find her. However, he was soon faced with another problem. How did Edna think? All he knew was that she kept talking to her stuffed rabbit and that she feared he would kill a person with whatever object she would show him. He remembered how she would suspect some ludicrous thing whenever she showed him something like a scissor or a fork, with some amusement. Oh, and he remembered she was set on returning home to find evidence that her father was innocent. The Key Master now wondered if she ever did go to her childhood home... Well, this was not important now.
“Franz, what is this big house over there?“, a woman, who walked past the place the Key Master was hiding in, asked her boyfriend.
“Oh, that is the convent school, darling. It was closed down a few years ago”, the man replied. Like a carnivore stalking its prey, the Key Master watched them from the shadows as the couple disappeared from his view. He could just drag them in the shadows and kill them but he held back, like he did for a few years now. It was far more difficult to kill more than one person in public, as opposed to a private home, and he had another, far more important matter, on his mind. Of course, no one would think of looking for Edna in a convent school. Swiftly and silently, he kept himself in shadows as he made his way towards the convent school. If Edna was not there, he would need to find another likely place...
Speaking of Edna, she was home from a stressful day at school. She had one examination paper in English, as well as a test in History and Mathematics. Fortunately, she had a good feeling about English, courtesy of Tina, and about History too. However, Edna did not feel so sure about Mathematics. During the test, she often found herself wishing Alfred was still alive. He could have helped her with studying. Then again, if he was alive, she would have finished school years ago and maybe have a job. A sob escaped from Edna, which she tried to repress. She held it back earlier during the test, but now, with only Harvey in close proximity, she could not hold back.
“Edna, what’s wrong?“, Harvey asked, clearly worried about his friend.
“It’s just... Alfred...“, Edna replied, wiping a single tear away.
“What about him?”
“He was obnoxious, a jerk, an annoying wimp; a frog-faced, klutzy, teacher-lovin’, snitchin’, boring shit-ass... and a snitching frog... but I still miss him...”
She looked down on her lap with her eyes half-closed, not bothering to force back her tears. Harvey approached his sad friend and laid his head on her lap, ending up in her arms a second later. It was like their argument from the day before never happened. For the moment, it was only them, two old friends who braved many dangers and sacrificed so much for a life in freedom.
“I’m sorry about last night, Harvey... It’s just... I want for us to have a bright future. One as far away from Doctor Marcel as possible...”
“Hey, it’s okay, Edna. We’re still friends and will always be.”
Edna gave her blue, stuffed, lagomorph friend a tiny smile.
“Yes, we will be. Thanks, little buddy.”
Her little talk with Harvey made her feel better. At times like these, she was glad to have such a great friend to talk to. She did not get along well with many of her classmates; they all thought of her as loony but this was not the reason. Most did not feel comfortable trying to get close to someone several years their senior. It also did not help that the daughter of a wealthy business man had some students in the grade turn against Edna. But as long as she had Harvey and Tina, who had become a great friend, and a few friends she had she was not all that bothered by it. She knew she could count on them and that meant for her a lot more than a thousand unreliable friends.
“I’m back home”, she heard Tina call from the hallway. Edna stood up, still holding Harvey close, and left her room to greet her friend.
“Hi, Edna”, the older one of the two girls greeted her while taking off her shoes. “How did your English exam go?”
“Pretty good, but I couldn’t remember the answer to the question about the name of the ship from Treasure Island“, Edna replied.
“That’s the Hispaniola. I have the book in English, if you’re interested”, Tina told her as they made their way to the living room. Without waiting for an answer, she went on: “By the way, I have an idea. How about a nice day at the beach this weekend, if the weather’s warm and sunny?”
“I would like this, but I need a bikini or a swimsuit”, Edna replied, who had neither.
“Well, looks like we got some shopping to do.”
A few minutes later, both girls found themselves in Tina’s car on the way to the next boutique. They went shopping for clothes before, when Edna was in need of clothes that did not belong to her parents. She did not mind wearing their garments but she did not feel comfortable at all when she had to wear her mother’s underwear when she had little to no undergarments of her own. All she had after her escape was nothing more than lilac panties in case of undergarments, so wearing her mother’s underwear was just a temporary solution. But it had been a while since she and Tina last went out together. It was kind of nice. The ride was not long and soon, they arrived at a big store. The store windows showed dummies wearing elegant dresses, handsome suits and casual wear. A giant sign above the double doors read in large, royal blue letters: Boutique de Vêtement – Clothes For All Occasions. Tina found a parking space only moments after arriving and another moment later, they were both inside the store.
“Let’s see... where’s the beach fashion...?“, Tina mumbled while scanning a map just a few meters away from the entrance. Edna was looking too until she pointed to an area somewhere on the third floor.
“There it is.”
Now knowing where to find beach fashion, they used the escalators to get up to the third floor. Edna felt like she landed in a paint box, so many colors everywhere, as far as the eye could see. Bathing suits, bikinis, swimming trunks in all sizes and colors; beach balls, volleyballs, surfboards and so many other objects for a nice day at the beach filled the shelves. No doubt everyone could find what they need here. Edna had a vague idea how her bathing suit or bikini should look like. She did not want anything extravagant; something simple would be more to her liking. She walked with Tina leisurely through the rows of bikinis and bathing suits. Now and then, her friend would point at one but Edna either declined or just shrugged. Most of the things Tina pointed at were in bright colors and, frankly, Edna did not want to feel like a walking neon sign.
“How about this one?“, Tina called from behind her. Edna turned around to her friend to see her holding a dark purple bikini. Edna stared at it with big eyes; this was just what she wanted! No bright colors, no ridiculous prints. It was perfect, as if it was made just for her.
“Oh yes! I like it”, the former patient of a mental institution replied with a big, toothy grin.
“Well, then it seems we found everything we need. Or do you need anything else?”
It turned out that Edna could need a beach towel and sandals. Tina also remembered that they should buy sunscreen, unless they want to end up looking like a giant crab on two legs.
“Why not? That would be awesome”, Edna giggled.
“Nah. Besides, red’s not my color”, Tina shrugged as they walked to the cash register. They paid for the products and left the boutique. On their way home, they decided to get a pizza for dinner.
The Key Master had arrived at the abandoned convent school but, looking at the place, he had a feeling he was not going to find her. There was something about it that told him it was as empty as Hulgor’s brain, if that guy had one. He could not see any indication of someone being there; nevertheless he was going to look through the place, just to be sure. It would be foolish not to check the school in case she was actually there. That was something he had learned while he was on the run; always be a hundred percent sure of everything. One case of carelessness could mean back to the asylum and who could knew what Doctor Marcel would do to him. Yes, he, the Key Master, did say he did not belong in freedom but ever since he was free and not condemned in a solitary cell, he had no desire of going back. If only he could relish his freedom without being on the run. It was so refreshing, so rejuvenating, to be outside again that he almost forgot why he was in solitary confinement in the asylum. Still, he remembered and will always remember. He was a murderer, a ruthless killer with no regards of the feelings of his victims’ loved ones. Even so, try as he might, he was unable to remember the circumstances of the murder he committed that brought him into the mental institution in the first place...
Careful not to make a sound, the Key Master entered the old convent school. He kept himself out of the moonlight; he did not long to be seen by anyone. Once he found Edna, he would... he would... The Key Master paused. What did he plan to do once he found her? All those years, he had been so obsessed with finding her; he never spared a thought of what he was going to do when found her. Would he kill her? Well, seeing that he actually killed to get new clothes – then again, if the owner had not found him, he would still be alive – and if he had been asked the question a few years ago, he would say yes with no hesitation. But now, he was not so sure anymore. Had he changed? What was so special about a girl ten years – give or take a year or two – younger than him? Nothing, except that she always managed to counter Doctor Marcel erasure of her memories and she was smart, unlike the other inmates. Perhaps it was because he found something like an equal in her. One, who did not go around killing people. If he thought about it, she was somewhat special. But no, he must not think that. For now, he should just focus on his task of finding her...
It was pitch-black in the convent, save of the silver lights from the moon shining in through the windows. The first thing he noticed in the silver light was a single chandelier in the middle of the entrance hall, as if someone had unscrewed it. There was something eerie and foreboding about this place, as if the ghosts of those who died here were wandering around, unseen by mere mortals. Nothing moved, nothing made a sound, save for the occasional rat the Key Master saw. Cobwebs were in every nook and cranny; layers of dust muffled his steps; it was obvious no one had been here for a long time. Every room in this school looked like this. In one corridor, he found a crushed gargoyle statue that looked like it fell down from somewhere and, when he looked up to see where it came from, he could make out a sword, fitted in the minute hand of the clock, in the moonlight. What was it doing there? What had happened here for this place to be in such a state? The Key Master entered a single classroom, though it showed nothing of interest; there was nothing, except desks and chairs, an empty display cabinet and the blackboard. He left the room and entered another one, which seemed to be a storeroom. Whoever abandoned this place did not seem keen to take all this stuff with them...
He kept going through every room, not finding a single person. The last room he checked seemed to be the chapel. For some reason, the cross had toppled over and destroyed a part of the floor. The door of the confessional box was slightly ajar. Doubting he would find anything of interest, he opened it further and entered, almost falling down stairs he did not see. Wait a minute... stairs? Well, he had a flashlight – stolen, of course – so he turned it on and walked down the steps through the secret passage to a hiding place. This would have been a good place for someone to hide, but this room also showed signs of not having been inhabited for years. Well, it did not seem anyone would be here, so he decided to leave. He did not want to spend the night here for he had no desire to be gnawed at by rats and having spiders laying their eggs in his ear.
Edna and Tina spent the rest of the day watching movies and then Who Wants To Be Millionaire. The former had no homework and no further tests were announced for the rest of the week, so she decided to relax for the day. Of course, she would go through her notes before going to bed; she was not that irresponsible. For now, they ate some snacks, the empty pizza box lay on the coffee table, and tried guessing the answers to the question.
“Sheesh, this question is so easy!“, Tina exclaimed, rolling her eyes. The question was what Snow White’s stepmother wanted the hunter to bring her as proof that he killed her. “It’s the heart, you idiot!”
Yet, despite her shouting at the television, the candidate could not hear her and picked “kidney”. The candidate left with only five hundred Euros.
“Even I knew this, and I didn’t read fairytales in my childhood”, Edna, who was holding Harvey, commented while the selection process for the next candidate took place. The other day, she sat here in the living room to make a new clay sculpture while Tina was watching the Disney version of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. It had been inevitable to pick up some of the dialogue, so Edna heard the part with the heart.
“I have Grimm’s fairytales. You could read them if you want to”, Tina offered her friend. But Edna just shrugged and shook her head.
“No thank you. But thanks for the offer.”
“Yeah, and there’s nothing burning in fairytales. Booooooring”, Harvey commented.
“Harvey!“, Edna said to her lagomorph friend reprovingly.
“What did he say?“, Tina asked curiously as a commercial break began.
“Oh, just that fairytales are boring. Nothing dramatic”, Edna replied, looking reprovingly at the blue rabbit. Her housemate shrugged before bending forward to the coffee table to grab some chips. Tina’s green eyes wandered over to Harvey while she munched her snack.
“Say, how did you get Harvey?“, she asked after swallowing the chips. She stared intently at Edna, as if trying to drill her head open and to extract the memory from her brain. Edna raised an eyebrow when she noticed the way Tina was looking at her, but her expression soon changed into a faraway look:
“I don’t know... I think I had him for as long as I can remember, maybe even longer...”
“And you will always have me!“, the stuffed, blue lagomorph exclaimed joyfully. Edna smiled at him, still with a faraway look in her eyes. It was hard for her when she was separated from him after her escape but now she was going to make sure they would never be apart again. She and Harvey were a team, nothing was impossible if they were together, except maybe traveling to the moon without the need of spacesuits.
Nothing of importance happened for the rest of the week. Edna got her test in History and in Mathematics back. She was overjoyed for the B plus she got in the former but disappointed that she barely scrapped a C in Mathematics. She was supposed to hold a presentation about Goethe for next Friday and they had started reading Faust I in German class. A few of her classmates had groaned that they started with this topic so late in the school year instead of early the following. But Edna did not care when they would go through the topic, as long as she would graduate at last. At the moment, on this sunny Friday afternoon, she sat at her laptop and worked on her presentation. The sooner she was done with it, the better, although she did not intend to work on it all day long, just for an hour or two. Then she would take a walk through town to enjoy this nice weather.
“Born... August twenty-eighth, 1749 in Frankfurt am Main... son of a highly educated jurist... was mainly educated by his father...“, she mumbled to herself as she typed in the information she found on the Internet. She would just make a rough draft first before refining it. Harvey, meanwhile, lay on her bed, quiet for once. Edna was thankful for it, for she had no desire to have another fight with him. Besides, she promised him they would go to the park. So, able to work without any disturbances, Edna quickly prepared her presentation, saving and closing her document when she reached the part about Goethe’s friendship with Charlotte von Stein.
“We can go now, Harvey”, the young woman told her friend after turning off her laptop.
It was a fine day in May, not too hot but not cold at all. The sun shone brightly, bathing everything in its warm light. There were hardly any clouds in the bright blue, endless sky, except for a few fluffy ones like flying sheep. Edna hoped the weather would be like this the next day, or even better on the weekend. It would be nice to go to the beach again. Last time she was there was two weeks before Alfred’s death. His father had been away at a convention in Great Britain, so he had left his son, rather reluctantly, in the care of Mattis Konrad. Edna had been forced to share her room with him, which had led to fights more often than not. One time, she had hidden crumbs under his bed sheet; he had been unable to sleep at all that night. The following morning, he had behaved like he was from the fairytale The Princess And The Pea. Her father had found the crumbs when he checked the camp bed; it had ended with no dessert for Edna that day and they were going to have one of her favorites – chocolate pudding. Still, their day at the beach was one of the fondest memories she had regained ever since she fled the asylum. They had had a lot of fun that day, swimming in the sea, playing with a beach ball and her pulling Alfred underwater now and then. After lunch, he had gone to sleep and Edna had used to opportunity to build a big sandcastle on him, so that only his head was sticking out of it. She still did not know how he could sleep through all this; nevertheless, his panicky reaction when he realized he could not move was priceless. Later that day, when Alfred was freed, Edna had bought ice cream for him and for herself and her father had actually taken a picture of them eating the cold sweetness. Actually, they had taken a lot of pictures.
Edna sighed as she sat down on a bench near a pond. She wished she could go back to the day; everything was brighter and happier back then.
“What’s wrong, Edna?“, a concerned Harvey asked. For a moment, Edna did not answer, instead she opted to watch the ducks swimming and waddling around. Eventually, she replied:
“I was just thinking about the day when Mattis, Alfred and I were at the beach... You know, a few weeks before I killed Alfred”, she added upon noticing Harvey’s puzzled look.
“Oh”, he replied, comprehension dawning on his face. “I wasn’t there, but I remember you telling me it was the best day at the beach ever.”
“It was”, Edna confirmed. “Mattis took a lot of pictures at the beach. I wonder if our old photo book is still in our old house...”
She had been wondering about this for quite some time now. Back then, when she returned to her childhood home to find some new clothes, she had not remained there for a long time. Just long enough to take her parents’ clothes. She wanted to go back to there, with all her heart, but something was stopping her. It was the fear of how rundown the house would look like now or if it was even still standing. She was afraid of going back, only to find a new, modern house in its place and all of their old possessions thrown away.
“Well, look who it is”, a shrill, obnoxious voice jeered. Edna refrained herself from groaning and instead put on a fake smile before turning around to the owner of the voice:
Heike was a classmate of Edna. She had platinum blond hair, icy blue eyes and usually looked she was smelling dung. Her beak-like nose was always pointed up, giving her the impression of being conceited, which was true in Edna’s opinion.
“Nutty Edna, unfashionable as always”, Heike said, or rather screeched. A sneer formed on her thin face when she noticed the blue rabbit in Edna’s arms. “Oh my, you’re still playing with plush animals?”
Heike’s shrill laugh could be heard from miles away. She laughed in a frequency that should be heard only by dogs and bats. In fact, a female dog suddenly appeared next to her. Edna was seething, ever since the first day they knew each other, Heike had belittled her because she was different from all the other girls. Some of them were on Heike’s side, but at least a couple did not mind Edna’s eccentricities and most kept themselves out of this.
“No wonder you’re still single. Who would want a girl like you? I mean, look at you; you’re ugly, your hair is a catastrophe –”
“Wow, you know the word ‘catastrophe’“, Edna sarcastically remarked.
“– you have no sense of fashion and you never wear make-up. You’re going to die as a lonely, old woman and no one will mourn you.”
Edna glared at Heike, wishing she could set her hair on fire. She thought Alfred was annoying, but compared to her, he was easy to get along with.
“Let me at her! Let me at her!“, Harvey angrily snapped only for Edna to hold him back.
“Not now, Harvey”, she said in a low voice, unheard by the other girl for she was now giving a long rant about what made her so perfect. Edna stood up and walked away, saying in a raised voice:
“I better forsake this female dog by herself and her shadow, and I’m not talking about the quadruped.”
She and Harvey, as well as the dog, were long gone by the time Heike could comprehend what she meant, if she could ever comprehend it at all.
In the early morning hours, while it was still dark out, after his failed excursion to the abandoned convent school, the Key Master wandered down the path to a four-way fork. Not really paying attention where he was going, he took the path on his left hand side, which led him to the quagmire. Not a single human, or other life forms, was in sight, just the Moor Lake and plants as well as a cave. In front of said cave stood a sign depicting skull and crossbones. Normally, people would not enter a place with such a sign at the entrance, but the Key Master had a feeling that there was nothing to fear. This was confirmed when he entered the cave and went deeper inside. He had his arms outstretched to prevent himself from colliding against a wall or something, as it was rather dark and the battery of his flashlight died when he looked for Edna in the convent school. It was hard to see anything, though he could make out shapes once his eyes adapted to the darkness. There were two jars sitting on protrusion of the cave wall, something large and soft-looking was placed right next to a wall, and something that looked like a telescope next to it. The Key Master headed towards the large, soft thing and sat down on it. Well, at least this was a good place to spend the night, for it was unlikely anyone would find him here. His eyelids became heavier... He needed sleep... He needed the energy to avoid the authorities...
By the time the following morning broke, Edna had pushed her encounter with Heike to the back of her mind and not thought about it. It was no good to dwell on it; she certainly would not give her the satisfaction to know her words have any effects on her, Edna. Besides, she had something better to think about, her day at the beach with Tina. The moment Edna looked out of her window after waking up, she knew it was going to be a warm day. This time, she could enjoy this warm weather; nothing could stop her from it. No long hours at school, no Mister Hornbush to hold her back, no locked door and no asylum. For the first time in years, she fully realized she was free. Nothing would ever force her back to the mental institution, where she lost ten precious years of her life.
“Excited for the beach, Edna?“, Harvey asked her while she was looking for something to wear for the day. The dark haired woman turned around, holding a button-down shirt and a skirt, and beamed at him.
“Of course I am. I mean, who wouldn’t?”
Then she turned back to her wardrobe and kept looking for clothes until she found an outfit she was satisfied with. It consisted of a pair of hot pants, a shirt that exposed her stomach, a vest and sneakers. However, she was not going to get dressed yet; first she packed her bag with her bikini, beach towel and sandals as well as other stuff she might need. After she was done, she went to the kitchen to get some breakfast; she decided on cornflakes. Tina joined her moments later, also choosing to eat cornflakes. They talked a little about the week they had, though Edna made no mention of her encounter with Heike in the park the day before. Tina, however, told her of how boring her job was and advised her to find a job she would sure enjoy.
Later, after both had washed and gotten dressed, they were on the way to the beach. The place was a little far away from the town they lived in, so the ride was taking its time. Edna spent most of the time just napping and listening to music. She had forgotten how long the way was. Maybe she should consider moving closer to the beach once she found a job... or even live on an island. Maybe one with unexplored caverns, full of treasures of ancient times, and an underwater cavern with a submarine, so she could always secretly go to the mainland and back. Oh yes, that would be neat. But of course she would not be there alone; she would let her friends and other people she liked live with her on the island. People she could not stand, like Doctor Marcel or Heike, would be banned from her paradise.
“Oh come on! MOVE YER BLOOMIN’ ARSE!”
Tina’s sudden shout broke Edna out of her reverie. For a moment, she was confused why her friend was screaming in the first place before noticing an endless line of cars in front of them, barely moving.
“Um, you do know those are cars, and not horses, right?“. Edna pointed out.
“I know, but screaming that made me feel better”, Tina replied, not taking her eyes off the road. The line moved forward by about a meter. Edna groaned; this was going to take longer than expected...