Sunday, June 7, 2015

4. Old Stories, New Meanings

On the way home, she could finally think about her own life. She had to recognize that she felt good after being a well doer. She did something good with her curse. But Chen was the first ghost that she helped while still being partially alive.
“You helped Chen.”
She rolled her eyes and walked in the park. Unlike most places, the park was full of happiness and bright colours. Not many ghosts or demons were around.
“You didn’t really give me a choice. You sent him to me in the first place.”
Mehrdir chuckled and sat on the bench. She had no other choice but sit next to him. “Why did you send him?”
“I told you to make friends in high places. When he will get better, he will look for you.” He mumbled as he stared down at her with a blank expression.
She doubted that.
“No, he won’t. He won’t even remember what happened.”
Mehrdir leaned back and crossed his arms in front of his chest. He looked like he didn’t have any problem with what he was doing.
“He is a special case. He and a few others will become your companions in the future. Have you watched Constantine?" He started. "Well, even Constantine had friends who would often come and rescue him when he needed.”
She didn’t see any connection to her issue.
“That’s only a comic book.Demons that powerful will never come to Earth. As you said, the hole is too small.” The demon chuckled.
“But you haven’t seen it, have you?” She shook her head. “Just listen to me and accept any help that comes to you.” He got on his feet and sighed loudly. “You’re such a pain in the ass, Zoe Lestrade.” He whined before disappearing into the night.
That wasn’t the first time he said and did that. It was a mutual annoyance between the two.

Zoe was still walking around the park when her phone rang. She didn’t check the caller ID.
“Where the heck are you?! I rang and knocked like a psychopath and no one responded!”
The commander froze. She completely forgot about her editor.
“I was around.”
Her editor was fuming. She could already see him breathing fire.
“Where are you now?” It became deadly silent.
“Police station. Your neighbours thought I was dangerous.”
For her, it was really funny. Her editor was really handsome and girls were often attracted to his good looks. Truthfully, that was all he had. He wasn’t very smart and he wasn’t thinking at all before acting.
Come and get me out, you stupid woman!” She hung up and pouted.
“Why does everyone call me stupid?”

“Thank God you’re here! These guys wouldn’t let me go because they didn’t believe me!”
Mark and Luke were there as well. They didn’t seem to like Alec too much. The editor was glaring at everyone.  When he saw her enter, he jumped from his seat.
“You said it yourself. You knocked and rang like a psychopath.”
He scowled and raised his chained hands. She watched him push his hand forward in order to be released; just like a puppy. Zoe couldn't help but feel good about it.
“You actually look really good with those. It matches your personality.” She had a poker face but her voice sounded suspiciously innocent. It made him fume even more.
“GET.ME.OUT.”
She chuckled and ruffled his hair. She glanced at the officer and nodded. He got up and went to unlock the handcuffs. Afterwards, she turned to the room-mates.
“I’m really sorry for Alec. He’s actually my editor and we were supposed to have a meeting today.”
“I thought you draw?” Mark asked her a bit taken aback by everything.
She nodded. Alec walked towards them while rubbing his wrists. He was still wary around the two.
“She’s Zoe Lestrade. I’m sure you heard about her webtoon series, Fallen.”
The two boys looked genuinely surprised.
“The one about a fallen angel and his adventures on Earth?”
Zoe threw her editor a mean look from the corner of her eye.
“Thanks for not keeping it a secret like the contract says.” She mumbled, though no one was listening.
Alec remembered something important and grabbed her by the shoulders. He shook her a little before he pulled her really close to his face.
“Where is the manuscript?” His face was paler now that she got a closer look at him. Besides, he looked really tired and angry.
“At home. But I only have half of the next chapter. I have a life unlike you.”
“I doubt that.” He scoffed. She stared at him for a moment before she punched him in the arm.

“I wouldn’t have expected a girl to be behind Fallen.” Luke’s statement grabbed her immediate attention. They were going home, Alec included.  “I mean, who would have thought someone who’s so small can write those action scenes?”
Mark noticed her annoyed expression and pinched his room-mate. Luke didn’t seem to get it.
“And the main character is a man. The details in that webtoon are impre-ow!” Luke scoffed when Mark glared at his friend before he turned and smiled at Zoe.
“You’re right.” Alec was too sincere. “I didn’t expect someone like her to get so popular. I thought she was going to draw some girly webtoon about cats. I already had a plan to discourage her when we first met.” He smiled at the memory. He really didn’t have any faith in her.
“Wow. I’m overwhelmed with love.” She was ironic but the men didn’t even listen to her; she didn’t expect it anyway.
To get to their apartment building, they had to walk through the alley between the convenience store and a night club therefore, Zoe had to walk past that wall again. Out of curiosity, she glanced at it. Her eyes widened when she saw the writing still there. She didn’t want to give the guys more reasons to make fun of her or even worse, get them interested in her life. No. She had to come back later; alone.
The meeting with the editor went well. Alec was happy with the outcome of her dark story. The hero was growing up thanks to his adventures in the Middle World. Actually, the names she was using were very weird but at the same time, very creative. Alec was curious how she came up with them.
“Middle World. Easy. The Earth is between Heaven and Hell, therefore it’s the Middle World. And don’t ask me about angel names. I just used books for reference.”
Alec nodded in appreciation. That was a good answer, by the book even. Unlike what most would think of her, Zoe did know how to use words well; she should after she graduated Psychology. She was doing a good job at hiding her past.
After Alec left, she grabbed her jacket and went to check out the wall. While she was reading the sentences over and over again, she unconsciously started to move back to see the bigger picture. It was written in demon language; some kind of bullshit language that was practically a mess of other languages. Humans could read it if it was written on Earth however, it wasn’t the same sentence. Usually, the words would change according to what would interest the reader. That wasn’t applying to Zoe.
“What does it say? I can’t really understand.”Andy startled her.
Maybe it would’ve been better if she was normal. The meaning behind that sentence was giving her goose bumps. Andy tilted his head to the side and watched with interest. He couldn’t read it even if he was dead. He could only see three words that didn’t make sense.
“That’s because you have no darkness in your soul. You should have gone to Heaven.” She responded.
Zoe rubbed her forehead and turned her back to the wall. Andy was getting curious because he noticed just how much effect those words had on her.
“What does it say?” Andy asked after he gave up on making the words connect to something; it was impossible since he could only read I Am Dead.
“They’re making an army.” She mumbled.
Andy’s eyes glanced between the wall and her face. It was so strange because whatever she was seeing was completely different from what he could see.
“Then why telling you about it?” She couldn’t look him in the eye.
“Be-because they're looking for a leader.” She whispered, feeling the hair on her arms rise in fear.

“What?!”
She sighed heavily and closed her eyes. After what she read, she couldn’t just go back home and work. She sat on the ground and stared at the wall. Whatever was going on, she was scared.
“I don’t know. I’ve always been by myself when talking about demons and darkness. Everything I know is from old books and documentaries. My parents would freak out.”
Andy agreed. That was probably what would happen and she would probably end up in the nut house.
“What about Mehrdir? Or a dark fairy?” She froze.
“I haven’t seen dark fairies around me lately. It’s like they’re hiding when they see me.” She frowned and leaned back on her hands. “Ah, this is getting complicated!” She turned her head in order to ask Andy something. Instead of a pair of wide owlish eyes, she got blinded by a flash.
The guy who just photographed her smiled nervously. He placed the camera in his bag and waved at her. Zoe blinked in confusion and reached out to touch him, just to make sure he was real. It became awkward when she figured he was very much real and was watching her with wide puppy eyes.
“Who are you?” She asked while tilting her head to the side.
From what she could remark, he was another student about Andrew's age. However, unlike the ghost, this guy was taller and had a certain innocence around him. His messy hair and confused face were only adding to the image of a puppy. By that childish wave of his from the beginning, she was sure he was a troublemaker.
“I can ask you the same thing,” He responded, leaning in.
He was a smartass. That just gave him more black points in her point of view. She wasn’t going to tell him anything and the boy figured out that much on his own. He noticed how guarded she was by just looking at her back. Her muscles were tense even when she was standing by herself, like she was always ready to defend herself. She seemed like an uptight person.
Instead of leaving like a nice kid, he laid down next to her.
“What are we looking at?” He followed her vision and noticed the words. “ 《You are pride》 I don’t understand. I took a picture of it and showed it to my friend but he saw something different.” He hummed and scratched his cheek.
Zoe raised an eyebrow and glanced at him from the corner of her eye. He looked suspiciously innocent yet had something strange circling around him. Above his head she swore she saw a glimpse of something but it vanished quickly.
“What did he see?” She asked as her eyes moved back on his face. The guy chuckled.
“So now you’re interested,” He didn’t get any reaction from her. “Well, I was sure it says 《You are pride》  but he said it looks more like a riddle. The dark side of the moon, he said.”
“The dark side of the moon,” She repeated. It was closer than what anyone has seen until now. Actually, it was too close to the real meaning. “Did your friend say what the response to that riddle is?”
A wide boyish grin spread on his face and he nodded enthusiastically.
“We got curious and looked for something regarding the dark side of the moon. We found something in an old fairy tale book. It says that once upon a time, the Devil came on Earth to play with humans. He especially liked a certain woman and she had a baby. Of course, he didn’t know that. When he found out, he killed her. He wanted to kill the baby too but he didn’t find him. It says that the Devil is still looking for that child. He will be found when the dark side of the moon will face the Middle World.” He sighed. That story was always making him think about religious stuff.
On the other side, Zoe's mind was swirling with thoughts and memories from her childhood. Her breathing became heavy and her heart was beating so fast that it felt like blowing up; she was going through a panic attack. Her pupils dilated and she felt like someone just plunged a dagger in her heart. Zoe wasn’t scared; she was horrified.
The Master is forming an army. The Inheritor shall lead it once he’s found and the darkness shall engulf humanity forever.

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