Cashew blew his nose for the fifth time that day, currently standing in the middle of some overgrown bushes in the corner of Monsuta’s garden. It was not a sunny day, nor a rainy day - filled with clouds that stretched out for miles on end, quite bright with a warm, Summer wind. It was only a few days after Cashew and Monsuta had come back from London and since then Cashew had caught a light cold, frequently coughing and sniffling. Nevertheless, he was now out gardening with the only thought being ‘if only I didn’t have to stay under the same roof as Monsuta’, but the blonde had not got the message and had followed him outside, once again reading his book.
“Plants really do respond to sound. Talking to plants to help them grow is a well-known old wives’ tale, but studies have shown vibration, like music, or perhaps even the sweet sound of your voice, can affect plant growth.”
(Great, now he has an excuse to be reading out loud...) Cashew thought with annoyance. He longed to shut up Monsuta’s reading, even if it were for a little while.
“Tell me, why do you always carry a metal spoon in your mouth?”
Monsuta was doing so now, whilst skilfully still being able to read out loud. This question, it seems, caught him off guard, since the blonde followed with silence, not replying for several, long moments.
“It is a means of escape from this world, a token from my last major sin...” Cashew caught an uneasy glint in Monsuta’s eyes. White eyes. Fully white eyes? Cashew didn’t have enough time to ponder on the thought before Monsuta spoke again. “When the time is right, the metal will oxidise and kill me for the sins that I have committed. I do not know when that time will come, but the fact that it is taking this long must only mean that I have not atoned enough.”
Many questions sprouted from what Cashew just heard, yet due to Monsuta’s facial expression, as well as resuming his reading, all hinted that Monsuta would answer no more for today. (He must be troubled due to his ancestors.) Cashew sighed and decided to ignore any further reading done by Monsuta and instead focused on what he was going to do today. He had already decided that half was going to be a vegetable garden, the other a flower garden. Summer was already swiftly flying by and Cashew had to decide on what to plant (and soon). Yet, there was still plenty of work to be done before anything he wanted could thrive in here. (Hmm, there is enough space on either side of the walkway... looks like the soil here is a little too rocky... but a very good spot for sunlight. I’ve already checked the soil on this side, I’ll have to add a few more nutrients if I want the flowers to have full green leaves.) After examining each and every little detail, Cashew decided to start by moving out the large, broken slabs of stone from the collapsed path, as well as raking up all the weeds and clipping all the vines that had grown on all the sides.
By the time Cashew had removed most of the rocks in the ground and had replaced the soil with rich, fresh earth from the forest, he started to feel a few sprinkles of water on his face. Looking up, he realised that it had begun to rain and had in general gone darker. The weather was not nearly as bad as it had been in London, where instead today the drops stayed light and few. Cashew stretched out a palm and upon feeling the rain, understood that any further work today would prove futile. He decided to start packing up and call Monsuta to go back inside, only to realise that the other was already no where to be seen. The breeze from before suddenly caught speed and sent a chill down his spine, latching onto and cooling the rain on his clothes as he stood by the house and searched for Monsuta. (He must have gone inside when I was working so I didn’t even notice) and with a final sneeze, Cashew made his way to the front entrance.
A fast, upbeat melody creeps it’s way towards Cashew’s ears the more he approached the, slightly ajar, door. It was a playful and jazzy piece played from the piano upstairs, yet it sounded as clear as if it were just beyond the walls on the ground floor. The swinging beats in the minor key brought a hint of sadness to the tunes, a sort of bitter-sweetness to the melody, yet nonetheless powered new energy through Cashew’s veins and even made him swing side to side, almost skipping by the time he was in contact with the doorknob.
Upon turning his hand and pushing forward, he was met with a surprising scene of Monsuta gracefully dancing in the middle of the living room floor. Cashew’s eyes widened as he stared at the mesmerising movements that Monsuta was creating in rhythm with the deep beats that had the power to transform anyone into a swinging and jiving beast! He was embracing the music and in return the music took control. He was in another world, with closed eyes failing to notice the appearance of Cashew, and thus unable to cover up the distant and painful facial expression he wore on his face, significantly contrasting his bodily movements. For some reason his mind today was in a world of pain.
(Where did he learn to dance this way?) was all that Cashew could bring to mind as his breath was taken away from the dazzling grace flowing from Monsuta’s soul. He was unleashing so much emotion - feelings so powerful it was as if in this moment, Monsuta needed the music as much as he needed to breathe. His entire being moved with purposeful clarity, each stride painfully more obvious of how much heart was being put into the taps and the turns, and expressed how at the same time it was punishing for him.
Finally, the piano slowed to a stop, the unharmonious ending leaving an unsatisfying tang at the back of Cashew’s throat. The spell had been broken and, wiping off the sweat that had formed on his forehead, Monsuta caught the Cashew’s gaze and smiled awkwardly at him.
“Wow, did you actually see that?” The blonde laughed with embarrassment and, upon his approach, began helping to put some of Cashew’s gardening equipment away. The whole time his bangs drooped with sweat in front of his forehead, covering and casting a shadow over his eyes.
“It started raining outside.”
Cashew’s ears were once again brought back alight as a new song started from upstairs, this time a slow and light tune, romantic and calm. “Who is playing the piano?”
“Sasha and Alphy. I gave them a piano book a while ago since I can’t play myself...” Cashew barely heard the reply due to the music growing in volume and once again picking up the pace. He let his eyes trail behind Monsuta for a few more moments, who went to stand in the middle of the living room, but upon turning around and heading to the kitchen Cashew heard that the blonde had started to dance again.
Cashew turned on the tap and washed his muddy hands in the sink. Dirt had made its way into every possible crack, turning the tips of his finger nails black. The soil in this part of the forest was filled with rusty grains, which, when mixed with water, turned a dark, reddish-brown colour. Cashew monitored the fluid as it splattered against the sides of the sink and gushed slowly down the drain. The dark holes at the bottom stretched endlessly out, into the mysterious unknown, past where no man could be seen nor heard. The red water disappeared into it.
Once clean, Cashew proceeded to wipe his hands dry, noticing now that the music had taken a sad turn through a collection of sombre harmonies; dejected tempo with various high pitched notes played quietly... almost uncertainly, like treading on a new path with no clue to what dangers it could lead to. That was the moment that Cashew saw a spoon lying on the side of the table, between the sink and the towel he had been wiping his hands on. (That’s the spoon Monsuta always chews on... I can never truly understand the guy.)
He walked up closer to inspect the object, noticing that it was of stainless steel, heavily scratched and bared multiple intricate patterns of flowers and vines on the tip of its handle. Then, Cashew read a single word on the other side of the spoon which made his blood turn to ice. Involuntarily, his eyes widened and he hurled the spoon as far away as possible from him, causing it to crash somewhere in a distant corner of the kitchen.
Why? Why was that the word imbedded into the very body of this metal? An image suddenly flashed through Cashews mind of a boy cowering in a cupboard, looking through a crack, full of despair, to see what was happening on the other side.
Cashew slowly started to make his way back to the living room.
The boy continued to stare as a man who had just murdered his mother started to leave.
Cashew walked closer and closer towards Monsuta.
The boy sees the man take an ornament from the glass cabinet by the door.
Cashew approached Monsuta, who had stopped dancing and was now staring at him.
The boy catches a look at the mans facial features before he completely disappears.
Cashew tightly grasped Monsuta by both of his shoulders and looked up into the others face.
The man had blood on his face and a pair of red, glinting eyes.
Right now, Monsuta had red, glinting eyes and the face of his family’s murderer.
“No... impossible” loosing his grip on Monsuta’s shoulders, Cashew staggered back. (What is happening? How is this possible? How does Monsuta have these eyes?) Only after walking back to lean onto a wall for support, did Cashew finally remember to breathe.
The murderer that Cashew had been despising this whole time was not Monsuta’s parents, but Monsuta himself! Cashew looked up once again to reassure his newfound realisation, yet Monsuta’s eyes were no longer red. Had he imagined it? A hallucination? No. Cashew was certain that Monsuta had red eyes, making him look identical to the man on the night of his parents death. Now his eyes were plain white, not a single black pigment left in them, but a gut feeling told Cashew that Monsuta had somehow not aged at all and he keeps the same spoon that was taken from his family house hold all those years ago.
How did he know this? Well, Cashews last name is Revanche.
“You look troubled. Two troubled souls can either add to, or relieve some of the pain they feel. So, Cashew, may you grant me a last dance?” Monsuta had an outstretched arm and was looking intently into Cashew’s eyes. Despite the music continuing to play, it felt like time had slowed to a stop.
“Yes,” Cashew whispered; some sort of ungodly calm took over him, making him suddenly able to control himself. “I will grant you your wish” he murmured, pushing himself off the wall and creeping his hand towards the knife in his pocket. (I will grant you your wish - not to dance, but to kill you!) and with that thought, Cashew lunged at Monsuta with the iron knife of his childhood.
“Great!” Quite contrary to Cashew’s actions, Monsuta grew a smirk on his face and grabbed the other’s arm, pulling him into an abrupt spin. As if on cue, the music gained in speed and energy.
“What are you doing?!” Having his world suddenly spiral around him made Cashew dizzy, yet not enough to make him forget his goal. Lunging a second time with his knife, Monsuta did not even notice how close to death he was, instead easily dodging his arm and pulling Cashew up and over his head. The music hit a crescendo and again Cashew found himself back on the ground. Dum-ba-dum, dum-ba-dum; his heart raced to the beat of the music and the two moved to the steps of a tango. No matter where Cashew swiped, slashed, lunged and jabbed, his knife always missed and instead his body was spun or swung around by Monsuta, like a puppet on strings, deeming him totally helpless.
Finally, the music stopped and did not continue for the rest of the night. Sasha and Alphy had quickly come down to say goodnight before disappearing for their duties. However, no one heard their farewells, as Monsuta and Cashew were too exhausted to move a muscle even before the music had finished, which resulted in them crashing and falling asleep right in the floor they had sparred on.
“I’ll get you tomorrow, you lucky monster.” Cashew grumbled, yawned, then fell into a deep slumber.