Chapter 7 – Gimme Some Truth
Henry’s bus arrives at the terminal at the school, it is just a 2-minute jog to the faculty theatre, where his show is running. He is late so he straps his backpack made of Kevlar fabrics onto his back and runs through the grassy outbound yard through the courtyard garden, stained glass windows from classrooms looking out to eager or late students organized symmetrically watch over the area, then through an arch separator of the center square to the back of the school where the theatre lies. The rain-drenched square makes the ground soft and muddy like a world war trench, Henry has to stride carefully to not be consumed by the ground and lose his footwear. Henry wears high-top hiking shoes on rainy days like these.
Henry walks up the staircase as Gabriella and Erica rush out, he is startled as they approach him.
Gabriella, an Italian student with brown hair notices Henry and warns,” Henry, on my word am I glad to see you!”
Henry smirks,” Gaby, you seem excited.” –
She quickly interludes, “The puppets are gone.”
Henry laughs, “Woah, calm down, what do you mean, they’ re gone?”
She continues interrupting Henry, “They are all missing from the workroom, someone has stolen them.”
Henry looks at Erica and then back at Gabriella, before he can speak a familiar voice is heard behind him.
“Henry.” Henry turns around to see Olivia on the walkway just below the stairs where he stands.
Bewildered he asks, “Olivia?”
“It’s me, how are you, Henry?”
Henry rushes over to meet her he can’t believe it really is her and has to get a closer look, “I thought you couldn’t make it, London and all.”
“My folks came out to see me and I decided to come back for a bit.”
“I can’t believe you’re here,” Henry hugs her and she reciprocates, they look at each other and set into each other’s eyes, inching closer and closer until their lips find one another. Erica watching interrupts,
“Ok, you two lovebirds can catch up later, we have a situation here.”
Olivia pulls back and asks Henry,” Is this, is this a bad time Henry?”
Henry smiles and responds,” No, no whatever it is can wait, you’re here now.”
Gabriella interjects,” I hate to break it to you but if we don’t find these we could lose credit, Henry.”
“It’s ok Gaby, there are other things in this world other than this.” He looks at Olivia, takes her hand into his.
“I trust you guys, to find them. I am going to be In the green room.”
“Incorrigible,” Gabriella responds,” Ok, girl let’s go find these.”
Gabriella and Erica cross the square to the main campus. This is the sports center, it includes a professional-sized basketball court, outdoor tennis courts, and a football field just to the outside. They enter the basketball locker room. It is a Sunday so the school is fairly empty.
As Gabreilla and Erica leave, Henry motions to Olivia, they walk slowly down the middle path of the courtyard.
“I never thought I would see you again, after our last fight, before you left, I wanted to tell you I was…”
Olivia stops, hushes him, “I know Henry, I said some things I didn’ t mean as well, you’re not the only one.
“Well, I was such an ass.”
“Maybe you were, maybe I was too, I should never have left like that but things are different now, I am in a good place and once I am finished school next year, guess what?”
“What your going to work for the UN or something?”
She laughs, “No…you remember that night the night you arranged for us to get away to the cabin so we could be by the lake, our last night together?”
He remembers they made love seemingly for ever, most of the long weekend in bed, they ate, drank and slept never leaving each-others side; laughing, crying tickling until they both cried from gut curdling laughter, the kind of laughter that makes your stomach ache like it was a full day of nothing but pilates. Henry remembers they barely moved from the cabins king sized bed, this was the happiest Henry had been in a lasting time. He turns to her,
“How could I forget? We spent two days together, just you and me, but then we fought, about you leaving I didn’t want you to leave but you were mad and then you actually left, I found out later you went to see, Pete?” He waits for her to confirm, She is hesitant. He continues,
“We were supposed to stay together, forever Olivia, just you and me remember?… For infinity.”
“It was just such a hard time to be going to school, I had so much stress, and we spent every minute together. But after that I realized, I needed you, I have always needed you.”
“Did you go see Pete? Olivia?”
“It was a hard time, Henry. “
“Did you see Pete, Olivia?”
Her eyes begin to fill with water, she can’ t bring herself to hurt Henry, she trembles at the thought of never seeing him again but she realizes the only way to heal is to tell the truth, she gathers her thoughts,
Henry aches.” Oh, Jesus, Olivia.”
“But I only did it because I wanted you, Henry. I know this sounds ridiculous but I was immature and just wanted to hurt you for the things you said and the truth is, the truth is it never made you jealous because you moved on before I could even figure it out. I wanted you to fight for me, I was leaving that day and you didn’t fight, I wanted you to FIGHT! Henry, not move on, I didn’t want to lose you.”
He looks at her like he has seen a loved one murdered, “So, you went over to Pete’s, the day after you left, the day after we had the biggest connection, then we had some small fight about you leaving overseas for school and you couldn’t’ t contain that? I was devastated for months, years, after that, Olivia, it affected my life, I have’ t been the same ever since!”
“I did’ t sleep with him, Henry. He was just there, someone to talk to but I wanted it to be you, always. The reason I m here now is…” She continues.
“Well I want to continue that and well start a family with you, Henry.”
Henry looks into her eyes, his nerves overcome him not a good nervousness a profound feeling of failure if he should give in, give all his heart again, and this time maybe not survive a blow to it, confused not knowing if he can give her another chance, the anger slowly starts to fade, he still loves her, but can he trust her? He looks deep into her eyes again hoping for the sake of his life she is being sincere, another whirlwind would most certainly kill him or at the very least wind him down a dark and lonely path maybe forever, he thinks for a long while, decades in a far off planet, he asks,
“Like kids and the whole ceremony and all that?”
Henry is taken aback, as Henry thinks, Olivia bends down on one knee and pulls out a small jewelry box, she opens it revealing a 2 carrot diamond ring, she saved up for two years working late shifts at a local London pub all the while attending school, she settled for law, international law. She continues,
“Henry William Milles, will you have the honor of being my confident, my one and only for times in sickness and times in health, in bed or out for richer or poorer, until the sun sets on our old wrinkled faces, our kids grow up and have lives of their own, our souls bond together forever, will you give me the honor of being my Husband?”
Henry watches as she waits anticipating his response. He doesn’t answer. She notices his hesitation and continues,
“I love you and will always love you….Henry…for Infinity.”
Just as she is about to ask him, again, Henry responds quickly, “Not good enough…
Just you and me?”
“You and me.”
They embrace, laugh and exchange a kiss as they run into the green room. Henry picks Olivia Up into his arms and yells, “I am getting Married!”
Jude a tall black man with bald head yells over to Henry, “Hey, Supe! Congrats!” (a pen name Jude uses for Henry, as Henry loves the comic hero superman, he owns a set of pyjama’ s with the famous logo that he sometimes wears to rehearsals) Jude who plays Ethan and Shivon who plays Alice for Henry’ s show are chatting near the stage. They are reading through pages of lines rehearsing together. Henry and Olivia pass them on their way to the green room. Henry acknowledges them.
“Jude…Shivon. How are things?”
Jude looks to Shivon, he is not sure if he should ask the questions they have been chatting about. He hesitates and then asks.
“Hey, Henry I know you have a lot on your plate, but this scene where I am confronting the raider, it…it doesn’t feel right, man.”
Henry stops a moment then looks at Jude, and then replies,” It’s basically for contrast Jude, we can’t all be perfect heroes in the story, gives it some depth, plus you are badass in this, really.”
Jude looks to Shivon, she shakes her head, and speaks, “It’s our fellow brothers, Henry! I don’t think we would fight them like this, not on any day ever! After all this shit that went down, the people in charge need to be accounted for! We have been at their mercy for far too long, it has to stop!”
Henry ponders this a moment then speaks again, “You know you’re right, but isn’t there a bigger issue here? Evil can creep up on us all. Shouldn’t we take the higher ground? To seek out peace? The world is full of war, we really don’t t need it here, my Great Grandfather died trying to keep his land and they took his kids, forced them to do unthinkable things, rape, torture, and take from their families, they were thought of as lessor beings like rodents and then the people in charge said: ‘Ok we’re sorry here is some money but stay over here in the corner and keep to yourselves.’ So I know how you feel, but it all comes full circle, what is good will always find its way, maybe there is some good to come after it all if we choose, and let guilt play its part.”
Shivon thinks a moment, then shakes her head. Jude looks at her and begins to add, “Ok, I can go with that, hey, let’s go help them look for the lost puppets.”
Shivon is angered, her eyes well up, and becomes distantly aggressed as Jude comes in to comfort her, he looks for a kiss but she is reluctant. He consoles her and she agrees to go with him, they kiss and walk down the stage front to the exit on the other side.
Erica and Gabriella walk through the empty basket ball gym, Erica immediately sees a rack of basketballs near the foul line.
“Oh, hell ya, lets play 21!”
Gabriella responds,”Eri, come on we have to find the puppets.”
Erica playfully grabs a ball out of the rack and starts to dribble, her skills are better than most as she weaves the ball between her feet in a quick motion she spins, jumps and throws the ball to the net. The ball arcs in the air and perfectly falls through the net not touching the rim.
“Swoooosh, nothing but net, oh baby!”
Gabriella looks at her and grabs another ball, “Ok one game, then we search.”
Jude and Shivon leave the theatre, they walk around the outside of the complex where long ryegrass fields surround them they walk along the path, a small river flows to their left. As they make their way to the main front entry they hear a scream.
Jude recognizes the voice, it’s Hazel, he listens intently, then another gargling scream:
originating from the music room as he looks to the window he sees faint light flashing through, “Come on that’s Hazel, let’s.” –
Shivon looks at him, “You are not going in there are you?”
“If Hazel is in trouble.” –
“You ARE NOT going in there are you?”
“I have no choice.”
She cant stand to be alone, not now, something doesn’t sit right with her, she takes a moment and responds.
“I’m not staying here alone, take me with you.”
They hold each other tight and enter the door to the hallway just outside the music room.
Jude holds Shivon’s hand as they tread ever so lightly making large but quiet steps. They come to the crossroad in the royal Hall where Orson has twisted apart only moments ago. They are about to turn the corner but as they turn, they notice a piece of footwear laying untied on the floor. Jude recognizes the shoe its his friend Orson’s shoe distinguishable from its blue color with a yellow lighting stripe down the side. He stops looks at Shivon, she is looking at the shoe then looks at Jude.
She whispers, “Let’s get out of here.” Just as she does a thump is heard knocking against a door nearby, then again louder, and a third even louder yet until a final thud and accompanied by an incinerating scream. They look at each other Jude rushes over to the door it’s locked.
They hear a song playing just behind…
Jude presses his right side ear against the door trying to listen in. He hears a barrage of heinously sounding growls then many small footsteps like 100s of canine paws scattering around. All at once a thud against the door as his ear is flattened against it startles Jude. He backs away then again it thuds the door handle turns and opens, as hundreds of marionette arms and hands shove through the opening, He backs away even more and speaks, “
“Help me hold this!”
He can hear the snarling and smell the vileness like someone left as full carved turkey carcass under a sink for a full month. Shivon gathers her courage and rushes the door pushing it shut. The arms are wringing out the crack in the door snap and fall to the ground. The door handle turns rapidly, rapid fire knocks on the door become louder and louder, the door handle snaps off as the door opens a second time, as it become harder and harder for Jude, he looks at Shivon.
“Yep, time to go.”
They grab each other’s hands and run out the side door again onto the pathway that surrounds the campus.
Erica takes another ball from the rack, dribbles then starts to set up to throw the ball, as she does the lights in the gymnasium all turn off. Suddenly music comes over the intercom:
Erica looks around the gymnasium, it is empty she then remarks to Gabriella “I have a bad feeling about this.”
Gabriella is having none of it, “Ok, very funny, you can turn the music off and the lights back on, jokes on us!”
A low rumbling voice voice is heard in the distance, “Hungry.”
Erica turns to Gabriella, startled and nervous she speaks quickly with assertion, “Who was that?” She waits for Gabriella’s response then speaks again yelling into the dark.
“You’re not funny you know?”
“WHO IS IT?”
A gargling voice speaks again, “Bel-leth.”
Suddenly a door opens at the far side of the gymnasium as multiple shadowy figures scatter throughout the darkness, hundreds of tiny figures too small to be even a small Child’s height, not human, another song echoes through the court as the figures growl and scowl like rabid wolves.
“Da, da, da da dum, dum didy… dum da dum dudu de dum, Didy dum dudu du dum come ad go, A Woah Woah whoa whoaha”
Gabriella shakes, she has heard this name before, and she yells at Erica, “Let’s go someone is citing a demons name, a demon that uses music, whoever it is, well let’s not find out, you know how movies go, curious, the characters die. Let’s go…NOW!”
Erica nods and follows Gabriella, they start to run as they hear tiny footsteps far off on the other side of the gymnasium. Gabriella remembers she left her car at the theatre, she pulls Erica strong on her arm almost hurting her; they run through the doors, through the courtyard to the theatre parking lot. She looks at Erica.
“What about the rest?” Erica asks as she is catching her breath.
Gabriella thinks a moment, hesitates then gives in, “Oh no…” She places her hands on her head nervously she adds, “Ok, ok we can do this quickly let’s go.”
They run to the theatre through the stands and into the green room where Henry and Olivia are laying together on a futon. They are making out under a blanket as Erica and Gabriella enter, Olivia and henry are laughing together.
“Henry, I think we got to get out of here, somethings happening, maybe it’s what happened to the puppets. I’ll explain later.” Gabriella explains, that just as she does, Jude and Shivon enter, Jude is worried, and he rushes his words, “Guys there is blood in the Royal Hall, and.” He is stricken by fear…”Orson’s shoe is right at the crossroad. No sign of him. Blood everywhere …and..and …I heard screams, It sounded like..” He has trouble saying the name, “Hazel.”
He continues, “I saw something, somethings lots of them, hundreds….”
The door to the Music room slams open. Thousands of snarling puppets escape into the Hall, as Beleth stands in the center of the room in front of the workbench with the portal mirror a continuous path of mixed puppets enter from the portal into the new world, Beleth begins to laugh, low and continuous…
“Maybe thousands…” Jude announces as the puppets rush in…
Just as dawn appears with a misty morning the river to the east is seen flowing red.
To be continued…
Written by Colin R. Mah
Proofed by CJ Wolfe