Cashew woke up in complete, calming darkness at which he comfortably lay and stared into nothingness for a while more before getting completely up. He was still tired but nevertheless he felt better than he had been in a few weeks. It seems that all the questions and confusions floating around in his head, which accumulated in the past couple of days, had settled down for the night and re-energised him. At one point, Cashew wondered why indeed it was so quiet today and, upon looking outside noticed that there was not the slightest wind ruffling the trees nor grass. (A calm before the storm, eh.)
He flopped back down into his bed, and, taking advantage of his calm mind, started making a list of things he needed to kill Monsuta with when they made their journey once again back into town. This moment, however, did not last long as no sooner had Cashew sunk into his sheets and relaxed, had the door to the bedroom crashed open with two of Monsuta’s cats ran inside, their owner hot on their heels in pursuit.
“You guys are absolutely impossible, impossible I tell you! Hey! Get back here! I swear, today is the last day that I be so soft on both of you. You do everything I say EXCEPT FOR TAKE A BATH! No longer will you steal my kindness, I’m giving you two a wash no matter if I have to chase you all day!”
Cashew angrily got out of his sheets in time before his bed got jumped and trampled on by five pairs of legs. The three hurled themselves around the room until Cashew finally gave out one of his loudest, exasperated cries, and caught two tails and a blonde ponytail in both of his hand and threw them all out while shouting “next time you guys disturb my peace, I will make sure you all get an extra long bath and I’ll scrub you all so rough, that you’ll wish you never met me!” Then, slamming the door shut, Cashew got only the more annoyed at realising the sun was already up and he had to get ready to travel into town with Monsuta. (I never even finished thinking up my list of weapons) he thought sadly whilst opening the door for the final time that day and going down stairs.
They had ridden to town on horseback because the carriage that Monsuta owned was still broken. The two beasts that they rode were beautiful, powerful creatures which did not slow down even once throughout their whole journey. Their flawless, black mane and their incredibly long strides made Cashew think that even the horses were magical, and could somehow turn into human beings just as Alphy and Sasha had done. Yet when he tried to ask Monsuta, his eyes widened in awe as he saw the blonde was sleeping soundly on the back of his horse, to which the animal somehow managed to keep its back steady enough so that he wouldn’t fall off, whilst at the same time navigating its way to town. Half the journey passed before Cashew finally got over his shock, and broke his stare at the blonde to try and ask the horse himself. This is how he spent the rest of the journey whispering profusely into his poor horses ear, demanding that it tell him whether or not it was a magical creature which could morph into a human.
They arrived into town roughly by the same time that they would have done if they were on carriage, which seemed an impossible thing for Cashew to fathom, yet looking at the constant stamina with which the horses ran and the way Monsuta had slept on their backs gave Cashew a crack of belief. They stepped out and left the horses untied, since they were amazingly loyal and obedient creatures, and walked past the rows of flowers outside into Cashews shop. They were immediately met with a huge bellow of welcome from Earl and Cashew was suddenly bombarded with manly hugs and pats from the big man. Monsuta politely nodded a hello and took out his spoon and put it into his mouth out of habit. He intently looked around the shop at all the new plants and flowers that have appeared since their last visit and upon making eye contact with Cashew, a sudden realisation made him freeze and widen his eyes. Cashew stared intensely into the blonde’s eyes for a few, long moments, but upon seeing that no true intent was meant by the man, he huffed and gave a disgruntled wave of acceptance. Monsuta’s eyes took a shade of gratefulness and he gleefully continued chewing his spoon and started talking to Earl about a new plant he found which looked quite similar to a chrysanthemum. Taking advantage of the blonde’s diverted attention, Cashew quickly snuck through to the secret trap door and tiptoed down the stairs into Shirley’s lab. At first he couldn’t see anyone, but the smell of melting metal was strong in the air and he knew she had to be here somewhere. His eyes then settled onto a large, hanging piece of cloth which covered something grand beneath.
Subtle movement could be seen and a sudden “finally, my creation is complete!” was heard from inside. Cashew went to lift the cloth to look inside but instead he was head-butted as a woman blindly emerged.
“Ow! Jeez Shirley, watch where your going!”
“Oh, Cashew? I had no idea you would be coming today! And just in time, too, as my newest invention has just been created. Although I have never tested it... but either way, you can still have a look if you’d like!”
She lifted a the cloth by pulling on a string and from within emerged an enormous metallic box, with wires and buttons sticking out from all sides, and an extra thick cable travelling from the machine to a control panel, at which Shirley now stood.
“Well, what do you think?”
Cashew didn’t have time to utter a single word before his heart lurched into his throat upon seeing that Monsuta had come down the stairs and was now standing behind Shirley. Noticing his sudden change in mood, Shirley slowly turned around and took in a surprised breath upon seeing the blonde stare with narrowed eyes at Cashew.
“Is he... the guy?” Shirley asked as they watched Monsuta silently and unblinking make his way past Shirley and straight to Cashew. Those black eyes, with a slit of white, a new moon’s reflection, unwaveringly continued to stare and forced Cashew into a state of silence. He desperately wanted to look away from this mental interrogation, but no way in his mind was he going to admit defeat and instead he only backed away slowly from the blonde. At last his back hit the wall inside of the big piece of metal that Shirley had been working on, and when Monsuta was close enough to the entrance of the machine, he was about to say something but was abruptly pushed from behind and stumbled clumsily into Cashew. Shirley slammed the door behind them and with a mischievous grin walked to the control panel and began pressing various buttons.
“What a great situation I have here? Thanks to you and your friend, I can test out if wether or not this thing actually works! Not only that, but seeing as... Monsuta, was it? Is still standing, that must mean that Cashew has had some trouble with... dealing with him. I’ll kill two birds with one stone by helping you, and transport you to a time of great danger in the human world using this brand new, first of its kind, time machine!”
“Wha- wait, Shirley! I’m still in here, did you forget?” Cashew was panicky slamming at a class window in the door, but Shirley simply said ‘I’m sure he can figure it out’ and flicked up one last switch before pressing down onto a bright red button. It took a few seconds of wondering if the machine truly didn’t work before both Cashew and Monsuta felt slightly nauseous. Then a headache began to form and outside the tiny window, it looked like rays of all colours of the rainbow and thousands of stars were flashing past. The two men slid down to the floor in order to get more balance and hoped that whatever was happening would soon end. Finally, a dull thump was heard and a sudden smell of salt in the air hit their noses and they looked out the window completely awestruck.
The door pushed open lightly from the slightest touch of a palm, and upon emerging, their eyes settled into a bedroom of a ship with the view of a never ending sea outside the window. The room was quite low above the water and included a pair of beds attached to the wall, covered by intricately woven patterned quilts and a little table stood in between. Two cups of hot tea which were placed on the table seemed to have been served right before they teleported here, to which Monsuta gladly approached and started sipping on whilst looking out the window.
“How wonderful... will you just look at how blue that sea is? I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“No! Not wonderful at all!” Cashew angrily took away Monsuta’s cup and spun him around to face him. “We are stranded on a boat in the middle of absolutely no where, and have no idea how to get off! Also, you have to explain your actions from before in the lab.”
Monsuta gave a very slow, large yawn before taking back his cup of tea and once again started sipping it whilst looking out into the ocean. Finally he gathered his thoughts and began to speak.
“As I have mentioned before, I usually cannot smell your blood.”
“Usually? I thought I don’t smell at all?”
“Well that’s the thing, usually, I don’t smell your blood. But according to some of my recent findings, it smells, extremely sweetly - a scent so strong that I have never before smelt anything like it in all my years of existence, and which could send any other of my species with weaker willpower into insanity. To top it all off, it only comes out when you are not afraid.” Cashew stared at Monsuta, unsure of what to say. “For example, when you are in that hidden cellar in your shop you relax so much that I could smell the scent of your blood from all the way by the horses upstairs. There was also the time where I first payed eyes upon you in the busy street. You were so calm amongst your flower stand that the scent you gave off was disgustingly excruciating. However it disappeared as soon as I hired you so I thought it was a fluke. It could be due to your high alertness and unease in public, and possibly my intimidating aura that I give off, collectively either consciously or my aura by your side unconsciously makes you afraid and thus hiding your scent. Very unusual, I’ll give you that.”
Monsuta thoughtfully placed his cup back on the table whilst Cashew was processing his racing thoughts in his head. From his side, Monsuta took out a book with the title ‘Plants of the Dinosaur Ages’, but upon looking at the cover with an unimpressed look, he seemed to decide that he was not in the mood for reading the book at this particular time and placed it back inside. Then a certain memory flew into Cashew’s mind.
“Oh, I remember someone said the same thing to me back in London!”
“Oh?” Monsuta immediately stopped sipping his tea and eagerly looked at Cashew to continue.
“Well, you see, I bumped into him and he reminded me a whole lot of you. Even when he smiled at me, although it was stiff, I definitely thought you two looked alike!”
“He smiled... at you?”
“Don’t look at me like that! I was helpless and he simply helped. Nothing more.”
“Fine, what did this pedophile look like then?”
“Hey! He’s no pedophile! Well, he had black hair and he wore a yellow suit.”
“Oh so it was him! This is good news for me if he is so close, I won’t have to put in so much effort of finding him! Alright then, Cashew, we need to go look for something to read which is more appropriate for the occasion.” The blonde jumped up at once, gave off another yawn, and walked out into a long, glamorous hallway and started making his way down with Cashew stumbling not far behind him.
“Wai... wait a second! You only gave me more questions and on top of all that you ultimately called me a scaredy-cat! How disgraceful, hey! Wait!”
They rounded a corner and upon walking up a flight of stairs emerged onto the deck of the ship. It was cold and there were dozens of small boats attached by thick ropes on either side of them, but they nevertheless decided to walk slowly across and deeply breathed in the fresh air. They enjoyed as their hair was lightly swept up by the wind, and Monsuta had ran up to the side bar, much like a child would, and excitedly laughed as he saw stick fish fly out the water as they passed. Cashew was looking up at the seagulls and made sure that they didn’t decide to take a dump anywhere near him when a sudden thought came to mind.
“You do know we are on a ship, right?”
Monsuta looked at him quizzically and stifled yet another yawn.
“There! Exactly my point. How are you still standing and awake if we are on a moving thing?”
“Oh your right!” The relaxed atmosphere added to the look of surprise on Monsuta’s face and very nearly made Cashew burst out with laughter, but he forced himself to remember the distaste he felt towards Monsuta’s disgusting cooking and managed to hold back. “To be honest, I do not know. Possibly due to the lack of travel by boat from me and my past family members, we have somehow not developed the same sleepiness we feel when compared to other modes of transport. Or the rhythm of water is different to that of land, either way, I do not know but you are right,” he let out another yawn before being able to finish what he was saying, “however I still feel that drowsiness might catch up to me soon.”
As the sun began to set, Monsuta gave a last wave to the fish and then the two men walked back inside where they found a grand, winding staircase, made of polished oak, wrought iron and an assortment of boutique glass. The staircase was situated below a beautiful dome that gave an excellent illusion of natural light at any hour of the day. In the centre stood a large carved panel containing a clock, which, when the two men walked past, caused them to widened their eyes even more at the view below.
Thousand of people’s voices led them to the largest dining room they had ever seen. The room was decorated in an attractive Jacobean style and was painted in a peanut white. The decorations around were all magnificent, based of off some fine houses from England, and that of Hutton Hall. The furniture was made of oak and designed to add luxury and comfort at all times. Monsuta eyed the semi closed booths where people could sit on in the side and elbowed Cashew to follow him. On the way there he also saw something on the corner of his vision and quickly grabbed some sort of leaflet before finally the two sat down. They were immediately approached by a waiter who asked them their order, to which, not knowing of the date and place of where they sat, simply replied “Give us a set of your finest cuisine!”.
“What are you reading this time?” Cashew asked exasperatedly, looking at the leaflet that Monsuta had found.
”This? It’s the booklet of the ship. Oh my, it says here that this is the worlds largest man-made moving object, of 269 metres. There is also a gym, pool, Turkish Bath, a kennel for first class dogs and even squash courts... Cashew we just have to visit all of these after dinner!” At Cashew’s silence and look of disappointment, Monsuta decided to simply continue reading and figure out a way to force the other to come with him some other time. “Can you believe that they have 20,000 bottles of beer, 1,500 bottles of wine and 8,000 cigars on board with them, and it’s all for first class!”
“Yeah, well I guess we must be one of them” Cashew muttered as the waiter brought them a bottle of some fancy wine that neither of them could pronounce. After their meals came and went, several hours had passed to which Monsuta had gone back to his ‘Plants of the Dinosaur Ages’ book so that he wouldn’t fall asleep, which Cashew admitted he found more interesting than learning how many tonnes of coal the ship used up.
It was then that, without warning, the whole ship gave an immense jolt and the lights turned off and on in a flash. Quite a few glasses and plates had crashed down onto the floor and a couple of people screamed with the movement. Both Cashew and Monsuta sat alarmed in their seats for a couple of long minutes until a man in a suit and long, white beard came rushing down the grand stairs and shouting “We are sorry for any inconvenience, everyone please calm down! This ship is designed to be unsinkable so there is nothing to worry about.” Waiters went about cleaning broken ceramics and everything seemed to go back to normal as the sound of chatter rose up loudly once again. Cashew was about to comment on something that Monsuta had read out when he felt a shiver crawl down his spine upon looking at the other’s face.
Monsuta was staring down at a page that the leaflet had flipped to, a picture of the front of the ship and his knuckles curled up until they turned white.
“Do you remember how Shirley mentioned that we were going back in time of great danger?”
“Uhm, yes. Have you figured out what it is? Some sort of war or mass poisoning?”
Monsuta flipped the leaflet over so that Cashew could see, and pointed to a bunch of strange squiggly letters painted on the large metallic side of the ship.
“Is that the ship name? What does it say? I can’t read this strange language even though it sounds the same.”
Breathing out heavily, Monsuta momentarily closed his eyes and muttered, “this is the Titanic. It is the year 1912; we have hit an ice-berg and are going to sink very soon.” He then opened his eyes to the stunned face of Cashew, and with an even deeper look of distress, said “and we haven’t even done the ‘I’m flying’ scene yet...”
Cashew was still extremely confused when Monsuta grabbed his arm and hurriedly walked through the dining room and back onto the deck.
“Hey, what are you doing? How can we be up here when the ship is sinking? We must get back to the time machine and-“
“Are you crazy? I can’t let up this opportunity! Now hurry up before Jack and Rose get there.”
Cashew couldn’t do anything but clumsily follow Monsuta back up the way they came from and onto the edge of the ship, deciding that the sooner he got over the others weird outburst, which he probably read in one of his books, the sooner he would be able to go back to the time machine. It was very dark and frosty outside now, and no seagulls nor fish were around them anymore, yet the eerie feeling Cashew was accumulating within was quickly turned to annoyance when Monsuta handed a poor old fellow his iPhone and told the confused man (who, like Cashew once was, had completely no clue what the block of metal did) to press a button so that he could take a photograph of them. Then Monsuta told Cashew to stand at the very end in a T pose, and suddenly wrapped his hands around his waste. The old man must have been an expert, since he managed to take a series of photographs which included a millisecond of Cashew and Monsuta standing in the iconic movie pose of “Titanic”, and then the very next millisecond to where Cashew was beating up the blonde. Finally, with ruffled hair and clothes, Monsuta managed to get the phone back and thanked the old man whole heartedly, whispering under his breath something about how he will have fun posting these later.
“Ok we should start getting back now before we sink with the boat” the blonde said whilst still gleefully looking through his new photographs.
“If you are correct about the boat sinking, shouldn’t you say something to all the passengers on how they should look for safety?”
That’s when the blonde’s face shadowed over, and looking sadly at Cashew he gave a little shake of his head.
“No matter what we know, we should not change the past, it’s already a problem that we’re here. I’m afraid that either way, there are not enough safety boats on this ship in the first place to accommodate all the passengers in need of safety, nor was there any system developed in case of emergency. Nevertheless, after this accident there were many changes made to future ships in order to increase the safety of people.”
“I know but...” Cashew looked down gloomily at his feet and continued to follow Monsuta.
They were just about to ascend through the stairs leading to their room when suddenly a loud roar of fear rose up to their ears. The sounds of screams and cries made every hair on Cashew’s body rise, and the sudden freeze from Monsuta up ahead told him that the blonde was just as spooked. It seems that the news of the sinking ship had spread around to all the passengers, and the sound of drumming footsteps was approaching swiftly.
“Monsuta, hurry, we still have a lot of levels to get through to our room!” But the blonde didn’t move. His eyes were unfocused and he kept whispering something under his breath of which Cashew could only make out a couple words of.
“It’s like my dream... Cashew help me, the people I’ve murdered- it’s the same screams! They’ve come to haunt me...”
“Hey! Monsuta, snap out of it, we have to go! There’s people flooding out onto the decks already and unless you want me to beat you up again we must hurry!”
It was Cashews turn to pull on Monsuta’s arm and together they slowly made their way through the swarm of bodies. By the time they reached their floor, Monsuta seemed to be back to his normal self, but upon stepping onto their hallway, the two once again gave each other a look of worry. The water had already risen up to this floor, and was still rapidly rising even as they stood there, splashing violently side to side and turning as half of the ship was being pushed out of the water. By the time they reached their door, they had to nearly crawl in order to avoid sliding down to the other end. Cashew turned the door knob in panic but it wouldn’t budge, to which Monsuta gave a large kick and made it fly open. They climbed in and were now half walking on the wall as the water continued to fill up and past their knees. Hurriedly, they both made it inside the time machine, but now they desperately hoped that even though it was filling with water that it would still work. They were now calling Shirley’s name and banging various buttons and switches.
“Oh how I hate water. Really makes you loose your appetite doesn’t it?” Monsuta asked
“Who cares about your eating habits now? We need to figure out a way to get out of here!”
“I thought Shirley said you could figure how this thing worked?”
“Like hell I could! I’ve been around it for about a second less than you have!”
“Well I never thought I would spend my last moments with you in a sinking ship.” Monsuta laughed and sat down in the water. Not long after, Cashew gave up banging on various pieces of metal and with clenched jaws, also slid down to join him.
“You know, you are the only person who has stuck with me for this long in a while.” Cashew suddenly looked up at him in surprise, “the last one to do that was my sister. She died in an apartment 20 years ago and, although I admit she was sometimes a little over the top and liked to push everyone’s limits, she was always there to support me. She liked to play the piano, but sadly her death was during a very hard time of my life and until you appeared I wasn’t the same. Thank you for letting me read my random books to you and letting me show you London, no matter what your actual intentions really were.”
The earnest and sad smile on the blonde’s face moved something within Cashews heart, and it was at that moment that he realised that the other was the loneliest being in the world. Lonelier than even him. He was about to ask something more, when suddenly the door to the time machine was opened and all the salt water instantly poured out. A surprised shout was heard from the other side and Shirley’s head poked in.
“I knew you would figure it out, Cashew! But sadly I think you destroyed some wires in the meantime and pipes were filled with sea water so I’ll have to re-fix the whole damn thing! Oh and I see your friend there is still alive, so you either felt nice or you didn’t manage to shake him off, huh?”
The two men just stared at her the whole time of her speaking and eventually their muscles caught up to their tiredness and gave way as they slid onto the floor outside, relief sweeping over them to once again be on flat ground.
“You pair are quite a lucky, aren’t you...” Shirley just stood cross-armed and shook her head.