Things of The Past
“Man, I’m glad we don’t have to drive to that town again. I was getting sick of being stuck in that van!“, Bladder commented to René. The heavy man leaned back with his arms crossed behind his head and with his eyes directed at the small television set that stood on a table next to the surveillance monitors.
“Me too but I’m also kinda worried”, the tall, lanky man admitted. Bladder turned away from the show he was watching to eye him quizzically.
“Worried? About what?“, he questioned. René took his time to grab a plastic cup. Then he walked to the fortunately still filled water dispenser and filled the cup. He took one big gulp and then answered:
“Well, we just kidnapped these two girls; it wasn’t like any other time we got a new patient in. Those patients either have families who know where this specific member of the family was or none at all. But these two? We kidnapped them when they were each alone, no one knows where they are but they surely have friends and family who noticed their absence, especially that little girl.”
Bladder nodded and hummed, with a thoughtful expression on his face. René leaned close in to Bladder’s face, one hand holding the back of the chair and the other the cup.
“Imagine Ben or Amy would find out what we did”, he hissed. “You know how they are. We could end up in the big house. If we do, Doctor Marcel’s plan would fail.”
He straightened up, taking another sip from his water.
“Though frankly, I don’t care whether his plan succeeds or not”, he admitted. “We’re supposed to help the loonies, not abuse them or use them as bait.”
“I agree with you on this”, Bladder nodded. “Maybe it’s time for Doctor Marcel to let somebody else, a more competent doctor, be the head of this institution.”
The heavy man turned back to his show with one last sentence:
“But should Edna really come to save her friends, I won’t do anything to hinder her.”
René nodded once in acknowledgement and sat down too. He, unlike his friend and colleague, set his eyes on the monitors to make sure there were not any unusual activities. He spotted Babbitt bringing a steaming cup of tea upstairs, presumably to Doctor Marcel. Anes made his rounds and Hulgor stood guard in front of Edna’s former cell door. Here and there were other guards keeping vigilance in front of solitary cells. That was weird. Since when did they have so many patients in solitary? And then there was the issue of some patients suddenly disappearing. From what René had heard, it was usually when Anes came to fetch them. He did not feed them to the Phantom, did he? René shuddered at the thought. Suddenly he spotted something moving in the shadows on the topmost floor of the tower, not too far from where Hulgor was. The large, burly man did not seem to have noticed anything since he was talking to someone through the grated window of the cell door.
“Strange...“, René muttered, scanning the monitors very carefully with his eyes.
“What’s strange?“, Bladder was once again looking at his friend and colleague questioningly.
“I just saw something moving in the shadows. I don’t know if that was an escaped patient or the Phantom”, René explained. “But I can’t seem to find whoever it was anymore.”
Bladder stood up and got closer to the monitors, surveying them with a sharp eye. But all he could see were the usual activities in the mental institution.
The grass was still wet, dew dropped from leaves. No one dared to sit on the benches, unless they wanted a wet butt. The smell of rain still lingered in the air as people took a morning stroll. Only a few children were on the playground, perhaps there would be more at a later time. The current weather was a stark contrast to the previous day with the large fireball known as sun beaming down on the world from its place in the azure sky. Edna had convinced the Key Master to leisurely saunter through the park with her. After the horrible weather from the previous day, she needed some time outside of four walls.
“If you wanted to be outdoors, why not the forest or anywhere else outside of town?“, the Key Master questioned. “And why not wait until it’s drier?”
“Well, it would be neat if there was a swamp around, then I would have waited until it was drier and I would still be able to play with mud”, Edna replied. “I would certainly like to go there. But there’s none and we’re gonna purchase a sleeping bag for you later, so it makes sense to remain in town.”
“If you say so”, her companion shrugged. Edna gave him a half-smile, arched one eyebrow and looked at him with her eyes wide open.
“Come on, I know you’re tired of fighting who will sleep on the couch and who will sleep in my bed only for the two of us ending up in the latter”, she pointed out. At least that was what she speculated. She did not mind it sharing a bed with him, as long as he did not do anything immoral; she just did not like the arguments they had every time. However, she was sure he did not want to be in the same bed as her, maybe he even felt uncomfortable about it and their age difference of about eight years. No, she did not want to force him to do something he did not want to do and that included sharing their sleeping places.
People did not look twice when they saw Edna and the Key Master walking past, despite the latter’s unusual skin color. Most were either too busy with their phones or other things, so they ignored rather unusual things. Edna vaguely recalled something when she read the Harry Potter books once – she was bored and had nothing to do – something about non-magical people never noticing anything out of the ordinary. Well, seeing how aware people were with everything around them, she reckoned there had to be some truth behind it. Maybe there really were some wizards and witches flying on their broomsticks right above them and nobody realized this because no one ever looked up. No wonder why legends and tales of mystical creatures had decreased; it was not only the advancement of science that did it – although Edna had to say she liked progress – but also people ignoring everything around them and not using their imaginations. Great, I sound like the host of some kids’ program, Edna thought to herself. She looked ahead only to see two unwelcoming individuals and one acceptable coming their way.
“Well, well, well, look who we have here”, Heike jeered superciliously. “Nutty Edna, our local loony and...” Her eyes fell on the Key Master and she laughed deridingly. “... and her boyfriend. Was he that desperate?”
Edna glared at her classmate; her fists were clenched, ready to smack her in the face. She was sure the Key Master felt the same; Heike was insulting him too, after all. Why could that bitch not be anywhere else in the world, like an uninhabited island?
“Heike, do you have to insult Edna every time you see her?“, Gabrielle asked wearily. “It’s really annoying.”
“No one asked you”, Daniel snapped at her.
“You’re not supposed to think for yourself and you can be easily replaced and I can force everyone else to treat you like the useless little piece of shit you are”, Heike snarled. “You’re only here with me because no one else would be friends with you. And honestly, can you imagine anything better than being with me?”
“An unneeded root canal treatment?“, Gabrielle retorted dryly. Heike stared at her with a mix of horror and madness; Daniel looked like he was ready to hit her. Edna’s facial expression showed a mix of appreciation, impression and pride. The Key Master was pretty much confused.
“H-how dare you -?“, Heike exclaimed, seemingly at a loss for words. She stepped right up at Gabrielle, towering over her. “Watch what you’re saying or else! Well, you know the consequences.”
“You’re just pathetic. I don’t know why I ever listened to you”, the brunette stated with contempt in her voice. “I wasted too much of my precious time on someone like you!”
She swiftly swiveled around and walked away, her head held high in a dignified manner. Heike and Daniel stared after her as though they did not know what just happened, which was probably true. Edna and the Key Master shared a look, she silently suggesting with a movement of her head going after Gabrielle. Before the other two could do or say anything more than “hey!“, they had already followed the brunette.
They found her sitting all alone on a bench, apparently not bothered by its wetness. Edna broke into a run, the Key Master on her heels, as soon as she spotted Gabrielle, only stopping when she was right in front of her. Gabrielle glanced at them, mumbling an almost inaudible word of greeting. The female former patient of a mental institution crouched down in front of the brunette to have a better view of her face.
“That was really cool what you said to Heike a moment ago”, Edna praised the younger girl. The corner of Gabrielle’s mouth moved upwards.
“Thanks. I’ve been getting sick of Heike’s behavior for quite some time now. Guess this was the final straw”, she explained. However, her smile soon faded. “But I once didn’t treat you any better... sorry about that.”
Edna shook her head and gave Gabrielle a comforting smile.
“You’ve proven that you’re actually a decent person, you saw the errors in your way. Heike and Daniel didn’t and probably never will.”
“Too true. By the way...“, Gabrielle’s eyes traveled to the Key Master, who stood a bit away from the girls, “... who is this man by your side? An old friend? Or...“, she leaned forward and lowered her voice so much that Edna had to move her ear closer, “... is he your really your boyfriend?”
“No, he’s just a friend”, the purple haired woman denied. Gabrielle did a once-over of the Key Master before commenting:
“Well, he does look attractive in a way but I think I prefer muscular guys with tanned skin.”
Edna knew what kind of men the girl with the dark brown hair meant. In her opinion were males with muscles of steel and skin like the medal third-place finishers received in sporting events kind of boring. Those kinds of guys always seemed to only spend their free time in fitness studios to work on their muscles and watch sports on television. Edna never saw the appeal of this; it was just the same over and over again. She did not understand how everyone seemed to get excited whenever it was time again for the soccer world cup. What was so exciting about watching a total of twenty-two sportsmen kicking one single ball? No, there were a whole lot of other things Edna could think of doing in her free time.
“If you say so”, she replied. “Hey, how about we all walk together and have a conversation? It’s getting kind of uncomfortable to crouch like this.”
“You could have sat down on the bench; I wiped the raindrops away”, Gabrielle said. Edna let her eyes travel all over the bench, not seeing one single drop of rain anywhere. Well, that would explain why Gabrielle had no issues with the wetness when it was not there anymore. “But I wouldn’t mind taking a stroll with you and your friend.”
Edna stood up and offered her classmate a hand, which she gladly took. They walked up to the Key Master, who nodded at them.
“This is Gabrielle, a girl from my class”, Edna introduced her to the Key Master.
“Nice to meet you”, he replied in a polite tone.
“Pleasure’s all mine”, the younger girl responded, shaking his hand. Edna got between them after they let go and threw her arms around their shoulders.
“Now, how about we all take a nice walk?“, she suggested, receiving words of agreements. She let them go, lest she would have hung between them a few centimeters off the ground. With the Key Master to her right and Gabrielle to her left, they strolled through the park.
Far away, but not too far away, in a room on the topmost floor of the tower that was part of an institution sat old, grumpy Doctor Marcel with his back to the window, although he seemed to be uncharacteristically cheerful. Well, his mood seemed to be better than it usually was – he did not glare daggers on a permanent basis. Just a minute ago, Anes had left his office after relaying some marvelous news. If Alfred would knew about this, he would be ecstatic. It was soon time for Doctor Marcel to spend an hour in his secret room for his deceased son and then he would tell him. He heard the door open and, when he looked up, saw a young man in a purple hoodie, gray knickerbockers, blue and white trainers standing right in front of him. His face was obscured by a paper bag and around his shoulders he wore some gray rag that acted as his cape.
“Yes, Ruben? What is it?“, Doctor Marcel asked his oldest son.
“I wanted to ask you if there’s anything I can do to help you to capture Edna?“, Ruben replied. Doctor Marcel raised an eyebrow.
“Tell me, why are you so interested in helping me?“, he questioned. “Is there a special reason?”
“I only want you to be proud of me. I want you to know that I’m on your side”, the young man with the hidden face explained. His father took his time to drink from his tea, scrutinizing Ruben long and hard with his single eye after he put his cup down.
“So, no interest of any kind in her?“, he pressed on. Ruben shook his head.
“Why should I? I don’t know anything about her and, frankly, I don’t want to.”
“But you’re a young man, single, and she is a girl, single I presume. Your age difference isn’t big, although I can’t understand why anyone would ever want to date such an indomitable girl”, Doctor Marcel commented, leaning back in his wheelchair. His voice dripped with venom as soon as he came to the part regarding Edna. There was no way that this little brat would ever marry into his family; Mattis Konrad was deluded and foolish to think that his daughter and Alfred would become a couple. If Alfred had not died, Doctor Marcel would surely have found another way to prevent Edna from getting together with his son. It was only a matter of time and soon, Doctor Marcel could get his revenge on this freak.
“Only someone pitifully desperate would want to be with her”, Ruben agreed with his father. “I heard you and your minions talking about her. She always sounded like the kind of person who belongs in a cell.”
“If I had had the opportunity to use my correction of character method on her when she was still a baby, she might have become a decent person. But she was already rotten when I first made my acquaintance with her”, Doctor Marcel recounted, grouchily thinking back of his first Christmas dinner with the Konrad family. He sighed and once again took a sip from his tea, emptying the cup.
“But to answer your question, Ruben, there’s nothing to do at the moment. However I will let you know if I need your assistance”, he said and rolled to the door, which his oldest son opened for him. “Now if you excuse me, I would like to be alone.”
He rolled out of his office and down the hallway, nodding at Hulgor who kept vigilance in front of the cell. He rolled two floors down and turned to his right hand side and to the door closest to the windows. He unlocked the door and entered the room that was emitted in a red glow. Doctor Marcel locked the door behind him and rolled towards the spot where a pillow once lay. The picture of Alfred took up a considerable amount of space on the wall above the altar. A boy like him, the perfect son, one who was obedient and tidy only deserved the best and that included a giant portrait of him. Doctor Marcel had hoped that he could have gotten a painter to make more of these, one for each stage of Alfred’s life, but it was not meant to be. Soon, it would not matter anymore. Not long and Edna was going to pay for everything.
“Soon, Alfred, soon you can rest in peace”, Doctor Marcel whispered to the picture of Alfred. “I will make sure that there’ll be no more injuries caused by her or by any other child. Childishness will be a thing of the past.”
Doctor Marcel clasped his hands together as in a prayer and bowed his head, closing his eye but not completely. Just so that he could barely see his legs, a reminder of the combined hazard of Edna and childishness. There was nothing children were good for, except to keep the family line going. Still, there were genes that should never pass on, like unemployed slackers and drunkards. Unfortunately, people like those tend to reproduce instead of decent human beings. The world was going to the dogs and it was his, Doctor Horatio Marcel, task to set things right.
Edna, the Key Master and Gabrielle had long left the park after having spotted Heike and Daniel and their desire was to not have a confrontation with them. These three had gone to town, to a nice little café, where they sat at one of the outdoor tables under the shade of an umbrella. Each one of them had a large bowl of ice cream in front of them, which was constantly getting emptier and emptier.
“Hey Gabrielle, there’s something I’ve been wondering about”, Edna started, looking up from her banana split. The Key Master flickered his eyes from her to Gabrielle and back again, listening to the conversation.
“Go on, what is it you’ve been wondering about?“, the brunette responded.
“Remember the day I pushed Heike in the pond?” Gabrielle nodded wordlessly. “You said something about my father, something about her having to be careful because he was a murderer. But how did you know he was charged as one many years ago?”
“I knew it from my mom”, Gabrielle explained. “She and your father went to the same school in their teen years, so she knew him. When I told her that you came to our class, she told me about the whole issue regarding your father.”
“Does... does she believe that he committed the murder?“, the purple haired woman questioned, with a bit of nervousness in her voice. The Key Master could understand why she would be asking this. He knew she always believed in her father’s innocence, even before she remembered the whole incident, and it made her both mad and sad to know that there were people out there who really believed he would be capable of something like this.
“Well, she was always in a conflict with herself about this”, Gabrielle replied. “The person she knew from her youth would never kill anyone, least of all a child, but she also knew that people can change over time and she had not seen him since they graduated.”
The Key Master glanced at Edna, seeing an unreadable expression on her face. She did not response verbally, only with a slight nod of the head, while she consumed her banana split. At least it was better than outright believing that her father was the culprit but he was sure she would have preferred if Gabrielle had told her that her mother always believed in Mattis’s innocence. He guessed the whole issue was something that Edna could never let go, it would always follow her. It was the same with him and his murder victims, they kept following him in his dreams, mourning about their untimely deaths and dragging him to Hades.
“Well, I should be going now. I have a dentist appointment in an hour and I need to brush my teeth before I go”, Gabrielle announced to the other two after she finished her bowl of ice cream of fruity flavors. She waved at them before departing. “See you around.”
“How come someone like her was with such an unpleasant person like this blond girl in the park?“, the Key Master questioned the moment she was out of earshot. Edna shrugged:
“Don’t really know. Apparently it was because Heike threatened her to force everyone else to treat her like she was a worthless pile of junk if she did not do what she said. I’m not sure, though.”
“Judging from the way this Heike behaved when we saw her in the park, I wouldn’t put it past her”, the green-skinned man commented. “She was probably the most obnoxious, pesky person I have ever encountered.” He looked questioningly at Edna. “Is she related to Doctor Marcel?”
“Don’t know, wouldn’t be surprised if she were though”, Edna replied with a shrug. “Both are equally annoying.”
“Can’t blame you for pushing her in a pond”, the Key Master commented before eating a spoonful of his ice cream. He was sure he would have done the same and he felt regret that he did not have the chance to do so and he most likely would never get the chance. But why would anyone listen to a person like Heike? The only reason anyone would ever do as she said would be if she were wealthy and would actually pay them.
“She is and she does”, Edna confirmed after the Key Master spoke his thoughts out. He bet, upon hearing this, that she would have no friends or anyone who would like her if she were not rich. Heike bought her friends and if her family were to lose all their money, she would lose them too. It was better to have just one true friend than a thousand false friends. The Key Master gazed at Edna, thinking back at how he used her to get out of the asylum. He was relieved and glad that she readily accepted him as a friend years later. She could also have decided to not have anything to do with him or even hand him over to the police but she was instead willing to give him a second chance. No, the young woman who spoke to a terry cloth rabbit was his closest friend. But speaking of the rag doll lagomorph...
“I just noticed, where’s your blue rabbit?“, the Key Master inquired.
“Harvey? Oh, he didn’t want to come along”, Edna explained. “Didn’t want to force him.”
“I see”, the Key Master replied. Both finished their ice cream soon, Edna paid for both of them and for Gabrielle, and then left. The Key Master let his companion lead him since she knew the town much better than he did. He already knew of some of the locations and how to get there but not as good as Edna did. She could lead him to a store he never visited before without getting lost while he would only happen upon it by chance. When she showed him the house he was currently living in, he assumed it would only be temporary and thus did not bother to get to know the town. While he still planned to flee abroad, he figured it would be a good idea to at least know where some stores were until it was time for him to go. But when was the time? How would he know this? Two months ago, he presumed it would be just a couple of weeks. However, the more time he spent with Edna, the less he wanted to leave. It was hard for him to imagine life without her. Perhaps it was because she was his only friend and the only person who was willing to be his friend despite knowing what he did. He felt he owed something to her, even if it was only his name – if only he could remember it. Since he forgot his true name and received his nickname ‘the Key Master’, he found it unimportant to try and remember his given name. However, he found it to be tedious to only be called ‘Key Master’; it did not make him feel like he was an actual person but more like a representative of keys and locks. He recalled the conversation about names he had with Edna on the day she led him to the house that was now his hideout. She had asked him for his actual name and he has given her his opinion about names. Hard to believe it was only two months ago; it felt like much more time had passed.
“Where are we going anyway?“, the Key Master questioned, walking a little faster so that he was right next to Edna.
“Well, I told you we were going to buy a sleeping bag for you today”, she started. “There should be a store for camping equipment around here somewhere.”
They kept walking down the street of the historic downtown. The pavement, the houses’ exteriors reminded the Key Master of the early twentieth century. If there were no modern day cars, if the windows of various shops would not show any electronic devices and if the people around here would be wearing suits and dresses and hats, he would think he traveled back in time. Should he ever see a hundred year old photo of this part of the town, he was sure he would find only few differences, namely the aforementioned ones.
Soon, they found the store Edna was talking about. The moment they entered the shop, the Key Master could tell it was a paradise for campers with their selection of gears, ranging from tents and sleeping bags over camping cookers to rucksacks and compasses. The only thing they did not offer was trailers. However, he figured a nearby car dealer sold trailers. But would that mean that he had to expect people going on a camping trip in the forest he ventured through every day? Or did people just enjoy traveling far away and camp in the great outdoors? There had to be a reason why they had a store for camping gears instead of just being available in a supermarket when Summer time approached. He could imagine the owner of this shop did not have any remunerative business in winter and silently pondered to himself whether or not the shop owner sold skiing equipment, ice skates and sleds in colder seasons.
“How come there’s a single store for camping gears in this town? It hardly makes any sense for half of the year”, the Key Master spoke his thoughts out.
“I know but this store’s already been here since before I came to live in this town”, Edna answered while looking at some sleeping bags. She took a midnight blue colored one. “How about this one?”
The Key Master took a look at the sleeping bag she held in her hands. It did not look bad from what he could tell, although he did not really care. The important thing was that he had a sleeping bag.
“As long as it’s not pink, I’d take any color”, he replied. “Still, not the best business idea. What does the owner sell in winter?”
“Dunno, it’s my first time in this store”, Edna shrugged as they made their way to the cash register. “But I reckon they’re still selling camping equipment.”
She paid at the register for the sleeping bag and afterwards, they left the store with her suggesting they should go to her home to drop off the bag.
It was time for Ben to get to work since his shift was about to begin in thirty minutes. Amy decided to come along and spend some time with the patients as she would not be seeing them for some time after today. She actually considered them as her friends but she still refrained herself from giving them any special treatments during her therapy sessions; it would be unfair for all the other patients who did not spend so much time with her.
“Excited for your vacation with your sister?“, Ben called from the bathroom to the bedroom, where Amy got dressed in a pair of shorts, a shirt and trainers.
“Sure am”, she called back while tying her shoelaces. “Though I’m gonna miss the guys from the asylum while I’m gone.”
“Ah, don’t worry. They’ll still be there when you get back”, her boyfriend said as he entered the bedroom wearing nothing but boxer shorts. He sat next to her on their bed. “It’s not like you’ll be gone forever, just for a short time.”
“You got a point there”, the young therapist smiled. She gave him a quick kiss on the lips and stood up. “Now get dressed or you’ll be late for work.”
Ten minutes later, the couple was on their way to the asylum up on the hill on the outskirts of the village. Ben’s red haired colleague in the watch tower opened the gate for them upon their arrival, closing it immediately after they went through. Amy decided to take a walk through the garden before going inside; Ben, however, entered the asylum at once. It was a pity that Doctor Marcel never let his patients go outside in the garden, especially on a fine day like this one with a cloudless blue sky and a happily beaming sun. It would certainly do them some good to get out in the fresh air. Perhaps they could even start a little project, like growing their own crops. That way, they had more to do than just being in their dormitories or playing in the recreation room or, worst of all, participating in occupational therapy. There was something definitely wrong if the only thing they were allowed to make in occupational therapy was ashtrays and the therapist disapproved of this. Still, she often wondered to herself why the ashtrays kept having a shapeless form even after all these years. Did the inmates do this on purpose? If she also had to make one of these, she would probably do the same as the patients too. Amy actually doubted Doctor Marcel wanted to heal the inmates. Not once since she and Ben started to work here had she witnessed the old man declaring a patient as clinically sane. If anything, he got more and more patients. Amy took a seat on the bench right in front of the Zen garden and gazed at the stones, which were arranged like an arc, and the wave patter in the sand. It made her feel tranquil and at ease, as though her every being was in harmony with herself. She sat there for a few more minutes until she decided to head inside the building and to the recreation room. The first thing she noted in the main area was the lack of Drogglejug in front of the cushion castle. This usually meant that King Adrian was busy with his role-play. Amy wondered who would be participating this time as she gave the room a once-over. Petra, the Beeman, Professor Nock and the newbies she heard of were nowhere to be seen but it did not have to mean they were all role-playing. They might as well be in the television room or they could be drawing.
“Well, I won’t know ’till I went to see Adrian and Drogglejug”, Amy mumbled to herself as she left the main area through the door at the other side. She came into a hallway, where she found three doors – two on her right hand side and one on her left hand side. She took the latter, which led to the arts and crafts room and walked straight through to the other door, leading to the bar. There she found the barkeeper wiping a dirty glass with an even dirtier piece of cloth and Maestro Frank and Max drinking something – she hoped it was not the Stinkydrink. Amy waved at them before going through to the backdoor to the coffee room. Of all the rooms belonging to the recreation room, this had to be her least favorite one. The dim light made her feel like a criminal organization would smoke and play poker here when they were not busy committing crimes. Then there was a slight trace of vomit in the air, even if it was difficult to smell through all the cheap perfume. She recognized King Adrian immediately as well as Drogglejug, Petra and the Beeman. However, next to the yellow and black of the last one, she noticed two more players. Both were blond, like Petra, and one of them had her hair tied together in pigtails with pink ribbons while also wearing a pink bow on her head. The final player was...
“Tina!?“, Amy exclaimed, astonished to see a friend of her sister’s in an asylum for the mentally ill. All the role-players turned to look at her.
“Oh hi, Amy!“, Petra greeted her cheerfully while Tina simultaneously exclaimed “Amy!?”
The therapist approached the group, her eyes still fixated on Tina. One theory after the other entered Amy’s brain, each one more unlikely than the last. She took one empty seat and observed the round.
“What are you doing here, Tina?“, Amy asked after several minutes of silence. “It didn’t seem like you belong in here when we first met you or any other times after that.”
“I don’t quite know but apparently, me and Lilli –” she nodded at the little girl next to her. “– are here to lure Edna out.”
“What?“, Amy frowned. The youngest person in the little group leaned forward and explained to her what she heard and figured out since she was brought here two days ago. Amy listened attentively, becoming more and more worried. She never thought that Doctor Marcel would go as far as letting two innocent persons kidnap. But both Tina and Lilli seemed to get along with the patients of this mental institution, which Amy was relieved to note. Still, something had to be done to get these two out and to put an end to Doctor Marcel’s deeds of darkness.
“I go speak with Ben about this”, she announced, rising to her feet. “We have to do something; we can’t let that grumpy old man do what he wants just because he’s got a grudge on someone.”
“Right you are, my dear”, the Beeman agreed.
“Well spoken, Amy, but if you don’t mind, we aren’t quite done with Hoth Motigor yet”, King Adrian contributed to the conversation.
“Uh yes, sorry I interrupted”, she apologized somewhat sheepishly. “I, uh, I see you all later.”
She waved at them and left the room, glad not to be inhaling the disgusting smell anymore. How could anyone stand spending any period of time, no matter how long or short in this room? Certainly not Amy, who took a deep breath once she was out of the room and muttered “thank God”. Next time she saw King Adrian, she was going to convince him to play Hoth Motigor someplace else. But first, there were more important matters at hand. Therefore she left the recreation room and went upstairs to her boyfriend in the surveillance room. Amy was about to speak the moment she entered the room but caught herself in time for Anes was there in the room with Ben. The therapist nodded at the older man in greeting and sat down on an unoccupied chair. On the outside, she was calm and collected but on the inside, she was fidgeting. She did not want Anes to listen to her talking with Ben; she knew he worked closely with Doctor Marcel and if he knew she wanted to do something against him, he was sure to tell him. Thus, Amy sat there in silence and watched the everyday activities of the asylum on the many monitors. She kept hoping Anes would soon leave, kept hoping that he would not be there for much longer, kept hoping he would be sucking up to Doctor Marcel any moment now but it was not to be. It was like he was adamant to prevent her from talking with Ben about the patients but why? There were no cameras in the coffee room, so he could not have seen her talking with them. Her eyes widened a minute later when she remembered that there were cameras in the bar and Anes could have seen her going through there to get to the coffee room. Who knew, mayhap he had seen King Adrian and company going there earlier. Still, if Anes did, he would nonetheless not know what she and the patient were talking about and he would not know that she and Tina already knew each other. Perhaps she simply chose a bad time to visit her boyfriend...
“Anes, how long are you going to hover over my shoulder?“, Ben huffed in annoyance. “It’s getting aggravating.”
“Well, I have to make sure you do your work and not make out with your girlfriend”, the oldest member of the species Homo sapiens in the surveillance room replied. Ben’s glance was certainly not amused.
“Do you really think I would forget my task and be busy with Amy? Look, she and I have plenty of time to be busy with each other at home. She won’t seduce me into getting intimate with her”, Ben explained before looking at Amy: “Am I right or am I right?”
“Right you are, Ben”, she confirmed, hoping it would convince Anes to leave at last. His narrowed eyes flickered from Ben to Amy and back again as if he was skeptical of their words.
“Alright, I’m going to leave now but I will come back and if I see you two making out, I will personally throw you two out”, Anes threatened before departing. Amy waited for a minute or two to make sure he was really gone and then proceeded telling Ben about her discoveries.
After having brought the new sleeping bag to the apartment, Edna and the Key Master were once again out in the fresh air, this time in the nearby forest, however. The young woman had offered Harvey to join them but he declined before adding he would have if the Key Master would not come along. She told him about this when he asked if her blue friend did not want to come along, although she left out the last part. Still, the jealousy in Harvey’s voice worried Edna more and more. She feared he would make her do something that would end up hurting the Key Master and considering what happened to Alfred, she felt that no one could not blame her. However, this time she would make sure she would not do anything that would harm her green-skinned friend; she wanted neither more losses nor any trouble. She had enough of those, especially the former, to last a lifetime.
It was cooler in the forest than in town with the trees blocking out the sun but still letting enough light through to see where one was going. Nevertheless, there were still some parts of this forest where the trees were so closely together that it would be recommended to bring a flashlight along to be able to navigate through. But the two friends were currently in one of the brighter lit areas, so there was nothing to worry about running into a tree unless they closed their eyes. Edna sat down on the ground right underneath a tree and leaned her head against its trunk. It was funny, when one thought about it, she had gone through this forest almost every day in the past two months and yet she never spent some time doing nothing but relaxing. Whenever she wanted to relax, she usually went to the field where the Key Master’s house was located or to the park.
“It’s nice here, isn’t it?“, her companion remarked, sitting down next to her.
“It is, but it’s a little too quiet here”, she agreed. The corners of her mouth moved upwards as she began to reminisce. “But I remember how we used to spend so much time in the forest back home – me and Mattis, sometimes Alfred too. We used to have bicycle tours throughout fall. Mattis always prepared a great big pot of noodle soup for lunch and then we were out cycling all day long. When we were back home in the evening, we drank some hot chocolate and just talked or we watched a movie together.” Edna sighed in content, not noticing that she rested her head against the Key Master’s shoulder. “I wish I could experience this all with you too...”
She did not know whether she said the last part out loud or in her mind but she also found that she did not mind it if he had heard her.
“I wouldn’t mind it, Princess”, the Key Master responded, putting an arm around her and, maybe it was only her imagination, pulling her closer. Edna made a contented sound, closing her purple eyes. For the first time, she was glad she left Harvey home; he would have just ruined the moment. But this, this moment was perfect. A beautiful day, alone in the forest, birds tweeting their joyful melodies somewhere in the distance and him holding her close. A perfect moment to tell him how you feel, Edna thought to herself, opening her eyes. But was it really the moment? She wanted to but she could not bring herself; she was too nervous. Why was it so difficult for her to tell the Key Master what she felt for him? It was no different from telling someone something else, anything else. No, there are some discrepancies, Edna told herself mentally. She knew that the relationship between two people could drastically change when one admits he or she felt more than friendship towards the other. The other could reciprocate their feelings or not but in the end, their friendship was no more, although it did not always have to be this way. Nonetheless, Edna decided it was better to wait until she was ready to admit to the Key Master that she felt more than friendship for him.
Ben looked in worry at his girlfriend. He could hardly believe what he just heard. Two perfectly healthy girls were brought here all because they were connected to Edna in one way or another? Doctor Marcel really lost his marbles. Why was there nobody doing anything against him, except Ben and Amy? And they could not do everything to stop this mad man. They needed help but there was a slight problem; all of their friends were on vacation.
“What about the friends you made a few weeks ago, when you joined Anika and her friends on their girls’ day?“, Ben suggested. Amy pulled out her cell phone and scrolled through her contacts; she had gotten the numbers of her new friends back then.
“Hm, I could call Anika but I don’t want her to cancel the vacation. She’s been looking forward to our trip to the US”, Amy muttered more to herself than to Ben. She shook her head. “No, I can’t force her to cancel the trip. Let’s see... who else do I have here?”
She continued going through her contacts, only finding Gregor, Bianca and Sebastian. Wait a minute, there was one person missing in her list. She scanned her list of contacts once more, again unable to find one specific name.
“Huh? That’s strange, I thought I had Edna’s number too”, Amy mumbled. Ben, who had his eyes on the monitors, swiveled on his chair to look at her.
“Do you really want her to know about this? What if she comes here to save them? She would be walking straight into Doctor Marcel’s trap”, he said. Amy sighed and gazed at her boyfriend:
“I know but I still feel she should know...”
She sighed again and leaned back, glancing at the monitor that showed the recreation room for a moment and saw Hulgor and Babbitt taking Tina and Lilli away. Her brain registered this all a second later and she did a double take.
“Hey, what are Hulgor and Babbitt doing?“, she questioned, frowning at the monitor. Ben turned around to look at the spot she was looking at. His jaw dropped and his eyebrows furrowed.
“I don’t know but whatever it is, it can’t be good”, he answered in a low voice. The young couple followed the four as they got from one room to another, quickly figuring out they were taking the girls to one of the solitary cell, an empty one at that. Doctor Marcel and Anes waited in front of the cell door, the latter carrying a camera in his hands.
“D’you reckon they’re making something like a blackmail video?“, Ben guessed out loud, watching the six going inside the cell.
“Could be, he has to let Edna somehow know he got her friends captive”, Amy replied. “I guess I should better let her friends know about this tomorrow morning... Or I’d better call them now.”
A few minutes later, they saw the four men and two girls leaving the cell and Hulgor and Babbitt bringing them back to the recreation room. Amy let out the breath she did not notice she was holding. She was afraid that the two would be forced to make blue terry cloth rabbits too.
Edna did a walk through town with Bianca, talking about their day. She only wanted to go to the supermarket to buy some beverages and happened to meet her half-Italian friend on her way. Bianca told her how she, Sebastian and her brother Luca were at the beach all day long. From what she told Edna, it seemed that Sebastian was getting more and more interested in her. The former inmate of an asylum was glad for her friend; ever since she learned about Bianca’s feelings for Sebastian she thought they would make a cute couple. It helped that they sometimes behaved like a synchronized duo.
“And how was your day?“, Bianca asked after she was finished talking about her day.
“It was nice, spent it with a friend”, Edna replied. “But guess who we met in the park?”
“Well, judging from the annoyance in your voice, I suppose it was Heike, in company with Daniel”, the half-Italian guessed. She tilted her head. “Was Gabrielle there too?”
“Yep, and you should have seen her. She actually told Heike off”, Edna said, still clearly impressed at Gabrielle. Bianca looked at her, astonishment written all over her face. Edna proceeded to tell her about the little incident in the park. Her pale, dark haired friend looked pretty much impressed and also proud. The purple haired and purple eyed woman reckoned it was because her friend knew Gabrielle from her time before she became Heike’s lapdog. Hearing how she told the platinum blond bitch off seemed to satisfy Bianca.
The two females reached the supermarket by the time Edna finished speaking. They were about to enter the store when Bianca stopped walking.
“See that trailer over there?“, she asked, pointing at the aforementioned vehicle. Edna followed her friend’s eyes, spotting the mode of transportation.
“Yes, I see it. What about it?”
“It hasn’t left the parking lot for two days, apparently because something happened here”, Bianca recounted. Edna frowned at her.
“Really? What happened here?“, she inquired.
“The police was here two days ago and I overheard a man telling them that their daughter wanted to go back into the trailer while he and his wife were paying for their groceries but when they got there, she was nowhere to be seen”, Bianca said. “The parents ruled out that she ran away but I didn’t hear why.”
“And can’t they just call her on her phone?“, Edna questioned.
“Maybe she doesn’t have it on her? Or empty batteries?”
“Didn’t think about that...”
Edna kept staring at the trailer, feeling sympathy for the parents of the disappeared daughter. She could hardly imagine how painful the loss of a child had to be but she had a feeling it was similar to a child losing their parents, like she experienced. She contemplated going over and console the people inside the vehicle.
“Edna, what are you thinking about?“, Bianca inquired as though she knew what Edna was contemplating.
“About going over and talking with them”, Edna replied, nodding towards the trailer.
“I don’t think it would be wise. Who knows what they might think”, Bianca said, sounding kind of concerned. She took Edna by her arm. “Come on, let’s go inside.”
She led her into the supermarket with Edna glimpsing behind her to the trailer. The owners of the vehicle and their missing daughter did not leave her mind, not once while she was buying lemonade – and not noticing Bianca being busy with her phone for a moment – or when she left the supermarket and was on her way back home after saying some words of departure to Bianca. She could not say why they would not leave her head. Was it because their fate was an inverted version of her own fate? But there was still a small yet significant difference – her parents were in a place she would not reach any time soon but these people still had the chance of seeing their daughter again.
“Welcome home, Princess”, the Key Master greeted her the moment she entered the living room. Edna nodded and raised her hand in acknowledgement, not really aware of her surroundings. She went to the kitchen and put the bottle of lemonade next to the refrigerator before going into her room, all the while walking like she was in a trance with how deep she was lost in thought. She let herself fall on her bed with a heavy sigh.
“Edna? Are you alright?“, Harvey asked her worriedly. The young woman turned her head and looked at her blue friend. She was about to answer when a knock interrupted her.
“Princess? Can I come in?“, the Key Master called from the other side.
“Yes”, Edna called back, sitting up. The Key Master entered her room and approached her, stopping right in front of her bed.
“Is everything alright? You look like there’s something on your mind.”
He looked at her as concerned as he and Harvey just sounded. Edna patted an empty spot next to her while simultaneously taking her terry cloth lagomorph in her arms. Her other friend of a peculiar color understood her invitation and sat down on the spot she indicated at a second ago. She was glad she had two individuals who she could talk to or else she would go mad. Thus she took a deep breath and told both males what was on her mind.
“It’s silly, isn’t it?“, Edna commented after she was done talking about it.
“No, not at all”, the Key Master and Harvey replied at the same time, much to Edna’s amusement. At first, a tiny grin appeared on her face, which grew into a large toothy grin that would make Petra proud and at last, she laughed. It was not a loud and boisterous laugh or one when a person would be rolling nor was it a tiny giggle; it was just something in-between. Both the Key Master and Harvey looked at her in puzzlement, most likely wondering if they said something wrong.
“Uh Princess?“, the Key Master spoke up. Still grinning, Edna looked at him. “Did I say something funny?”
“Oh that”, she chortled. “Not exactly, but you and Harvey said the exact same thing at the same time like you two were one and the same. I couldn’t help but laugh a little about this.”
She gave the Key Master a smile, which he reciprocated with one of his own. Mumbling something about not wanting to bother her anymore, he was about to get up. However, Edna took his hand, preventing him from leaving. She gazed at him, silently asking him to stay – and ignoring the retching noises Harvey made. The Key Master sat down again, looking at Edna as if he was expecting her to say something.
“You could never bother me”, she admitted. “And I’d like it if you keep me company for just a little longer.”
“Well, if you want me to”, the Key Master replied. “But you know, perhaps you should talk with the parents of the missing girl. You could offer your help in finding them.”
“So, you’re of the same opinion as me, right?“, Edna asked, leaning close to the Key Master.
“Well, obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t have suggested that you talk to them, would I?“, he retorted.
“You got a point there”, the young woman shrugged. “You know, I’m going to see them tomorrow. I don’t care if Bianca thinks of this as a bad idea; I just want to help them.”
Their game of Hoth Motigor was over for the moment; King Adrian had other duties to fulfill – whatever they were. Petra enjoyed herself by drawing a picture of a lonely butterfly on a gray background. Drogglejug stood guard in front of the cushion castle, as always. The Beeman, Tina and Lilli watched a documentary about bees – on the bald man’s insistence. The two girls were actually waiting for Maestro Frank, who was currently using the laundry lift.
“I go see if he’s back yet”, Tina announced, rising to her feet. The other two made noises of acknowledgement before she left the television room. She nodded to Drogglejug in greeting as she passed him on her way through the main area to the second hallway. There, she went through the first door on her right hand side. There she came face to face with a bearded bald man dressed in a dark gray coat. Tina wondered if the Ticket Inspector ever wore anything different.
“Tickets please!“, the Ticket Inspector said in a loud and clear voice.
“I don’t have one, I j –“, Tina began to explain but he interrupted her:
“Then stop holding off the line.”
Tina raised an eyebrow and looked around, as though she was expecting a group of humanoids to reveal themselves.
“What line? There’s no one here but us”, she pointed out.
“Quiet! Get off the platform before I personally throw you out!”
Tina rolled her eyes; there was no going through him. Hoping she would see Maestro Frank soon, she left with a huffed “fine”. No wonder why the Ticket Inspector was an inmate in an asylum; he was mad enough to belong here. She was about to return to Lilli and the Beeman in the television room when a few guards appeared.
“Everyone gather around! It’s time for dinner!“, one of them announced in a loud voice. Several other guards went to the other rooms to get the inmates from there. One by one, the patients gathered together. Tina looked around, spotting Lilli, King Adrian, Petra and Drogglejug in the crowd. But the others kept coming until everyone, including Maestro Frank, was gathered. Once they were all together, the guards escorted them to the cafeteria like they were a herd of sheep. Tina actually glanced around, expecting to see some sheepdogs running around. Every single time they go through the whole procedure, she pondered to herself whether this was normal, or rather as normal as it could be in such a place, or if it was only in this asylum. But considering what she heard so far about Doctor Marcel and how he treated his patients, not to mention the short time she and Lilli had to spend with him just so he can film a video to lure Edna here, it would be no surprise. All she could hope for was that Maestro Frank succeeded in his mission of stealing the DVD. She would try to sit next to him and ask him in the cafeteria.
They all reached their destination, the inmates all sat down at the dinner tables. Tina was lucky, she shared a table with Professor Nock, Drogglejug, Maestro Frank and, to her annoyance, the Ticket Inspector. A moment later, trolleys were rolled into the cafeteria by employees, who gave the patients their dinner. Beefsteak with potatoes and carrots and peas as side dish was on the menu. Their beverages were only water since they forgot to buy different drinks for the inmates. At least, that was what Tina overheard one of the employees mumbling on the way here. She waited until the guys who rolled the trolleys in left and until guards were positioned at every exit and for everyone to start eating before she poked Maestro Frank’s shoulder with her index finger.
“Did you manage to get the DVD?“, she whispered when he glanced at her. Maestro Frank shook his head almost unnoticeably. Tina refrained herself from sighing and instead opted to start eating.
Dinner was also being served in a place where Tina would certainly rather be – her apartment. In this case, Edna and the Key Master enjoyed a pizza the former ordered half an hour ago while watching some Star Trek episodes on DVD.
“I will never be able to take La donna è mobile seriously”, Edna half-laughed, half-stated after the cold opening of the episode Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy. She leaned forward to grab a slice of pizza while the main title sequence was running.
“It’s undeniably more hilarious than the original song”, the Key Master commented before taking sip of the lemonade Edna purchased earlier. “But that thing the laughing man was going through... what exactly was that again?”
“Pon farr, you could essentially call it the mating season for Vulcans that happens once every seven years”, Edna explained, peacefully munching her slice of pizza. Her male friend breathed an “ah” and nodded in acknowledgement but made no other comments. The main title sequence was over and the actual episode just started. After her conversation with the Key Master about the parents missing their child she realized she needed something to cheer herself up. This was why she ordered a pizza – that, and the fact she as too lazy to make something by herself – and started watching one of the funniest episodes in the Star Trek franchise. It really helped her for she was in a much better mood by the time the episode was over. She and the Key Master proceeded to watch two or three more episodes before realizing they could do with sleep. Or rather, he could do with sleep; Edna did not feel sleepy yet. Nonetheless, she switched her outfit of the day against a pair of shorts and a purple, oversized shirt.
“Good night, hope your sleeping bag’s comfortable”, she bade the Key Master. Feeling a little bold, she even went as far as giving him a hug.
“You sleep well too, Princess”, he replied, returning the hug, much to her surprise and delight. However, when they parted he gave her a once-over and commented: “Isn’t that my shirt?”
Edna’s eyes widened and her mouth became her thin, curved line when she suddenly recalled where she got this shirt from. She remembered taking it home to wash it for him but they had a fight not long afterwards and she refused to see him. Out of sight, out of mind, as one would say.
“I’m not gonna take it off now. I would like to keep it a secret how I look like underneath the shirt”, she commented. Her green-skinned friend chortled.
“I’m not asking you to but I wonder what it says about you that you actually expected this from me”, he smirked. Edna rolled her eyes good-naturedly and lightly punched his shoulder, and went to her bedroom. At the door, she turned around for one last look at him and waved; he waved back. With a smile adorning her face, she entered her room, where she made herself comfortable on her bed with her parents’ diaries and Harvey. As always, she first took Vivian’s to read, knowing she would be finished with it soon. She had read several pages of both diaries every night before drifting off to sleep and she knew she was getting close to the date of her mother’s death. A part of her was a little terrified to learn what happened to her mother but another part of her had a curiosity the size of Canada. Officer Schmitz mentioned at her hearing that what happened to Vivian was horrible... and speaking of her hearing, should there not be a letter regarding her sentence or something similar arriving soon? Or were perhaps the charges dropped because Heike and Daniel lied about what happened? Oh well, she would find out soon enough. Not thinking about this anymore, she opened the lavender blue diary and read about the things she and her mother used to do together, about Vivian watching her and Alfred play together, and about them going to the daycare center her mother worked at. Whenever Edna finished reading about one day, she switched over to Mattis’s diary and read about the same day from his point of view. He did not watch the two children play together as often as his wife since he was quite busy with his work but it did not mean he neglected his family. Quite the opposite, they all did things together very often, sometimes with Alfred coming along too if Doctor Marcel was too busy with his works. But usually the doctor insisted that his son stayed with him; Edna never knew why and neither did her parents. She kept on reading until late into the night when the lamp on her bedside table provided the only light in the room, she was about to close the diaries and go to sleep when she noticed the date of the final entry in the one belonging to her mother: June 29th, 1995. It was the day before her death. Edna’s heart began to race. This was it, the point of no return. She had a hunch what Mattis wrote in his diary on the following day. But did she really want to know this now? Would it perhaps be better to wait? No, she wanted to know what happened back then for so long, she was not going to chicken out. So, bracing herself she began to read:
June 29th, 1995
Today was such a lovely warm day, perfect to go to the lake. Mattis had to work, unfortunately, so it was just me, Edna and Alfred (Doctor Marcel was kind enough to let him come along too). We were usually only in shallow water but I also seized the opportunity to teach them how to swim. They were really good students, I’m sure they’ll be able to swim without any kind of aid in no time. I love watching Edna and Alfred play together, she is so happy and he is like a normal little boy. Every time he was in company of his father, he behaved like a miniature adult. It’s kind of disconcerting... Anyway, we had a lovely day together at the lake, swimming, playing and eating ice cream. I hope we can do it again tomorrow, but with Mattis joining us.
Blurred memories of the day flashed by while Edna read about it. She found some consolation that her mother died the day after she had several hours of fun and joy – Edna hoped Vivian experienced the same emotions on her death day. If only she had written about the thirtieth of June but Edna guessed her mother was probably killed before she had the chance to. She closed the lavender blue diary and took the one in brown leather. However, this was just about Mattis’s regret of not being able to join his wife, his daughter and his daughter’s friend to the lake. But the next entry was the interesting and also scariest one:
June 30th, 1995
Today’s weather was just like yesterday’s, so we spent the day at the lake, this time with me coming along. Vivian told me it was easier to watch the kids when there was a second adult with her, especially since Edna has even more energy than a hyperactive rabbit. Our daughter seemed to enjoy teasing Alfred whenever she can; I hope it’s just a phase.
After we returned home, I brought Alfred back to Doctor Marcel and we talked a little about our professions. Well, as best as we could since he listened to opera music, loudly. I think I lost some of my hearing... But I wish I would have gone back to our house the moment Alfred was back with his father, then maybe Vivian would still be alive. I found her mutilated body in the kitchen, the backdoor was wide open. The door leading to the rest of the house was slightly ajar, I feared for the worst. I was afraid I would find Edna in the same state as her mother but when I entered the hallway, I heard a soft cry in the corner farthest from the kitchen away. It was Edna, she told me that she and Vivian heard a crash in the kitchen and that Vivian went to check what happened there. Edna followed her, peeked through the gap and saw a scary looking man hurting Vivian. The man didn’t notice her and Edna fled to the corner I found her curled up in. The thought that a four year old saw what happened with her own eyes worries me... The police appeared shortly afterwards and a neighbor from across the street who heard Vivian’s screams. He told me he saw Edmund The Slasher running from our property. If only I had gotten home sooner, if only the opera music hadn’t been so loud, then maybe Vivian would still be alive...
Edna closed the diary, leaving it on her lap. She stared straight ahead at an empty spot on her bed but did not really see it. She was a million miles away in her mind. So, that was happened to Vivian, murdered by the most psychotic killer in the history of her old hometown. He was even worse than the Key Master when she still thought of him as mad but compared to Edmund The Slasher was the other man harmless. Edna closed her eyes, seeing the blurred image of a face in her mind. It was the face of a man, his silvery gray eyes opened wide and unblinking. They showed nothing but madness. He had the creepiest mile across his face. His hair was long, dark and matted, as though he never washed it. Edna opened her eyes with a loud gasp. She did not expect to remember the face of her mother’s murderer at once. She thought she would see something different in her mind’s eye, like Mattis when he found her. Vivian’s body had been mutilated; the adjective Officer Schmitz used a few weeks ago seemed to be an understatement for Edna. A new word had to be invented to describe Vivian’s fate, if one would ask Edna. How heartless could a person be to murder the mother of a young child? Her vision got blurry when she became teary-eyed. The worst part was that she could barely remember anything about her mother for years. It made her feel like a horrible daughter.
“If only you were still alive, Mom”, Edna breathed. “You didn’t deserve to die like this...”
She kept in reading, learning more things that depressed her. During the autopsy of Vivian’s body, they noticed that she was pregnant again. Did she know about this? How far along was she? The answers for neither question were hidden in Mattis’s diary entries. They were all kept short since the one about Vivian’s murder, some days were even missing. The one that was dated on Vivian’s funeral was botched with tears that had dried after almost two decades, making it almost unreadable at certain parts. However, there was one entry, dated about a month after Vivian’s death, which caught Edna’s interest:
July 27th, 1995
Edna began talking with her rag doll rabbit like it was an actual person. I hope it’s just a phase, a way for her to deal with her mother’s death...
Edna stared slack-jawed at the entry. Was this why she used to have so many conversations with Harvey, some of which even lasted for hours? But if this was just a way for her to deal with her mother’s murder, then why had she never stopped speaking with him, even after having forgotten about the whole ordeal? Had Doctor Marcel not once said that Harvey was the anchor that kept her chained to her past? Perhaps there was some truth to it; it was through his help that she began to remember her past and he was very much like the child she once was. But he became silent far more often the more she matured. Did this mean that she was letting go of her childhood? That she was ready to face her future? Edna shook her head, knowing she was not quite ready – Harvey still spoke to her from time to time and she still had not let go of something very important from her past – the deaths of Alfred and Mattis. She let herself fall on her back with a loud sigh and rolled onto her side, so that Mattis’s diary ended up lying next to her legs. The young woman stared straight ahead to a wall.
“Yes? What is it, Edna?“, her blue rabbit replied. Edna took Mattis’s diary and showed him the entry he made on the last day of June.
“Can you tempomorph me to this day?“, she asked. Harvey looked at the diary before glancing uncertainly at her:
“Are you sure?”
She gazed determinedly at her oldest friend, who sighed an “alright”. The moment he said the word, they were engulfed in a bright white light and transported to the past.
It was the end of a hot summer day; the sun showed first signs of its retreat beyond the horizon, to an unseen part of the world. Every single thing looked much bigger – the chairs, the table, the garden gnomes, even Harvey. There was nothing that did not appear to be giant, not even the only other human around. Yet, little four year old Edna felt no fear towards her, quite the opposite actually. She felt safe in the presence of this woman. The woman had a kind face, purple eyes and hair like her daughter, although the hair was styled much more wildly. She wore a simple dress as red as blood.
“Come sweetheart, it’s time for bed”, Vivian said in a kind voice.
“Aw, do I have to?“, little Edna, who was holding her Harvey, asked while her mother picked her up.
“Oh yes, or else you’ll be too tired to play tomorrow when the sun comes out again”, her mother replied, entering the house through the backdoor. However, neither they nor the neighbors realized that stranger crept into their backyard not long after mother and daughter and rabbit went inside
Edna always found that the furniture and other objects in their house looked strange whenever she viewed them from a higher place, like when she was on Vivian’s arms. Edna was usually barely able to see anything that was on a higher platform, unless it was not particularly high or the objects on the higher platforms were tall – one example would be the potted plant on the window sill. Vivian ascended the stairs in the hallway; Edna’s eyes were directed at the head of the funny looking animal attached to the wall. She had never seen anything that had such an odd head and she did not know what it was; she did not even now if such an animal really existed. But if it did, she would like to see one some day.
“How about I read you a bedtime story?“, Vivian suggested, causing Edna to look at her with a big grin and an enthusiastic nod. “I take that as a yes.”
They reached the top of the stairs and Vivian turned to her right hand side, where a second set of stairs led up to Edna’s room. This little obstacle was conquered in less than five minutes and they reached the realm of the youngest family member. It did not look much different from when she was eight years old, with a few exceptions. There were several toys that would later be given away to the daycare center when Edna got older; one shelf was only filled with children’s book, the clothes in her closet were much smaller and she had no posters hanging over her bed. Also, there was no diary on her desk yet since she would not start writing in one until she learned how to read and write, which would be in two years.
Edna was put down on her bed and changed into a lilac nightgown by her mother. The little girl was not happy of the prospect of having to brush her teeth. She did not understand why she had to do this every day. What was the point? Even the few visits to the dentist she had behind her were pointless. Plus, brushing her teeth wasted three precious minutes of playing in her life in the morning and in the evening each.
“Now then, you go brush your teeth and then we’ll –“, a loud crash from downstairs interrupted Vivian, who frowned at the door. “I wonder if that’s your father. Go brush your teeth; I’ll go downstairs to check.”
She left her daughter’s bedroom, with Edna, who took Harvey in her arms, following behind her. However, instead of doing what her mother said, she snuck after her. She was as quiet as a mouse, walking several steps behind Vivian just so she would not be detected by her. Soon, Vivian reached the kitchen and entered, letting the door fall into the frame. But it was left slightly ajar, enabling Edna to see the most gruesome display in her short, young life.
“Mattis? Are you home?“, Vivian called, almost stepping into the shards of her broken cup, which she had left next to the kitchen sink. She frowned at the shards, it was unlike Mattis to accidentally break something; he was usually too careful. Vivian looked around, expecting to see her husband somewhere when she came face to face with the most insane and psychotic smirk anyone had ever seen. He held a long knife in his hand, bringing it down on her chest, right were her heart was. From where the knife pierced Vivian’s body, he let it carve downwards her upper body. Then he did he same with her arms, hands, legs and even throat. He slashed her face until it was unrecognizable. Every stitch, every slash was punctuated by Vivian’s screams as her blood ran down from all of her wounds, drenching her dress. It was not long until the screams of unbearable pain stopped but the scary man kept using the knife on her. Edna, horrified of what she had seen and afraid she would be next if he saw her, ran away to the corner where their coats hung on the rack and curled herself up in the corner next to the stairs. Suddenly she heard a mad laugh coming from the kitchen and little Edna closed her eyes, holding Harvey close and softly weeping.
How long she sat there and cried, she did not know. She only became aware of her surroundings again when a lanky man picked her up and held her close. Edna opened her eyes to see her father through her blurred vision. Before she knew it, she told them what she had seen, everything from hearing a crash to the dangerous stranger hurting her mommy. The police and a neighbor appeared not long after the little girl told her tale. She heard her father directing the authorities to the kitchen in a broken voice and asking the neighbor to keep an eye on her, sounding as if he was far away. But it was not only his voice that sounded like this, everyone spoke as if they were getting farther and farther away until Edna could not hear them anymore. The bright white light engulfed her and Harvey again as she followed Mattis to the kitchen, the sight of the mutilated corpse was the last thing they saw before being transported back to the present.
That was when she let out a loud gasp. Her heart raced and she was drenched in sweat like she just ran a marathon. Breathing heavily, she looked around in disorientation soon realizing several things; she was not four years old anymore, she was not little anymore and that she was in no danger. Actually witnessing her mother’s death, instead of reading them in the diary was far more gruesome. Why, just why had Edmund The Slasher decided to kill her mother? Why had the police not captured him sooner? She had been fortunate that the killer never noticed her either or else she would be dead too. Edna did not know what to do; she was in a shock. Slowly in a trance-like state, she stood up and paced around in her bedroom. Oh, if only she had someone who could just hold her; she really needed a hug... Hang on; there was someone who could give her just that. Was there not the Key Master right there in the next room? But should she really wake him and ask him to hold her? What if she pulled him out of a pleasant dream? Would he be mad and refuse her request? Even as she thought this, she knew he would not react like this. He might be a little dazed and not as happy as a clam but he would certainly not be furious. Taking one deep breath, Edna took determined steps to the dark living room and to a long heap on the floor that she could barely make out. She needed a moment to see which end was which. As soon as she knew where the Key Master’s head was, she kneeled next to him and shook him awake.
“Key Master? Are you awake?“, Edna asked, mentally cursing herself for sounding so desperate. She noted her voice as also thick in her sadness but this she could live with. One would have to be heartless and emotionless to not feel sad after having seen what she had seen.
“Yes? What’s wrong, Princess?“, he asked groggily.
“I need you...“, Edna admitted in a tiny voice. In the darkness, she could see him sitting up and, even though she could not see his face, she knew he looked at her in worry.
“What happened?“, he asked in a concerned voice.
“Well...“, she began, shifting in a more comfortable sitting position, and told the Key Master about her resurfaced memory. By the time she reached the end, she was in tears. He said no words and if she could see his face, she would only see an unreadable expression. Nonetheless, she felt his arms around her body and, a second later, her own head came in contact with his chest. The steady rhythm of his heartbeat calmed her. She felt how he stroked the back of her head with a gentleness she never expected from him. There was no need for the Key Master to say any words; his little gestures were enough to make Edna feel better. As long as he was here with her, she would have nothing to fear. He was her tower of strength whenever she needed one. She did not want to imagine a life without him...
“Will you... will you stay with me for the rest of the night?“, Edna requested in a tiny voice.
“Yes”, was his simple answer. He removed his arms from her to fully open the sleeping bag and stood up. Taking her hand, he pulled her up and they returned to her room. Edna quickly put the diaries that still lay on her bed away before they could both lay arm in arm on the soft surface of her mattress. Her head was close to his heart again, its steady rhythm sounding like a lullaby to her.
“Sleep well, Princess”, the Key Master said in a sleepy voice.
“Thanks, and you too”, Edna responded, closing her eyes. Soon, she was in the land of dreams, fortunately with no unpleasant memories of her past.