Chapter 2 – Non-Fiction
The stranger carried Beatrice onto the couch. At first, the girl was stunned, but she soon realized that whatever this man was, he had limited understanding on how humans reasoned and their social expectations. For what other reason would account for his simple unveiling of information, with no other incentive then her secrecy? Adjusting her position so that she was leaning against the arm of the ivory couch, Beatrice examined the man before her.
Her memories may have changed what he looked like, after all, she had only seen him facing herself for a very short window of time, but the man's appearance was quite altered. The morphing had been the strangest and most exciting scene that Beatrice had ever witnessed. If she ever attempted to tell anyone, she was sure that they would think her perception was altered by drugs, yet she knew what she saw. In the woods, the scene had seen reminded her of a wax figure: perfect in every way, but no pores, flaws, or changes made by time had any place or effect. The man before her had gained the human qualities that only came from living. He was still tall, muscular, almost painfully blue-eyed, and had a defined jaw line, however he had gained the freckles and marks that came from living.
Beatrice still doubted if what she saw had been real, but if the stranger was willing to tell-all, then at least she was not entirely insane. The man looked at her, as if to gouge if she was ready to hear what had been happening or not. Apparently the girl looked ready, as he started his tale. He spoke as if what he was saying was from a textbook, and not his own experience; however it was somehow pleasant to listen to.
"This is all secret, but you gave your word, and I will take you at it. What you saw was not a wood, but a generated habitat to hide my morphing. Now, what you saw is difficult to explain in English terms, however I will try and make sure that you can comprehend what I am saying. I am not human, as such I must reset my core every few hours in order to keep my ability to change back to the True Form. It is very much like putting on costumes, like the ones used at Halloween, and then having to get out of it every few hours because the temperature increase in the costume is uncomfortable. However, the final outcome of not changing is…" For the first time he seemed unsure of how to proceed, "unpredictable, whereas the heat would simply cause a human to sweat. Although I've heard that it is an unpleasant experience, it is not a perfect metaphor."
Much of the information was much too vague to create a deep interest and too confusing in her drugged state to make any sense, but Beatrice wanted to know more from the very core of her being. In many ways what was going on seemed like a practical joke, or a dream, and yet she was sure that this was very much solid reality. Though, reality was apparently not as solid as she was accustomed.
To question the alien was now her dream, if she was not already in one, but before she had the chance to even truly process what he had said, the being continued.
"Now I realize that this likely makes very little sense to you, however I cannot explain further without breaking any laws. Although there are ways around this, we shall have to see what happens. The final event that I may further explain to you is why you seem to be drugged.
"As I was surprised when I saw you in the artificial habitat, I had no time to think. From your perspective it may not seem like the most wanted outcome, however depending on who you where there may have to have been more permanent measures taken. I had to make you powerless very quickly, and so the feeling that is similar to drugs is the result of that. This will fade within the hour.
"Now, as pleasant as it is to refer to you as simply the noun you, it would be much more practical and informative to dictate to you using your own name."
Beatrice sat silenced for a moment, confused by his fast subject change from what had happened to her to the subject of her name. Still under the influence of drugs, she still had difficulty jumping around from subject to subject as he did, and so it took the girl another minute to realize that the man was in fact asking for her name. "Beatrice. My name is Beatrice Mason. It is only fair that you tell me your name now," she said the last part with a small smile, as her energy was fading.
"Then in all fairness, my name is Leon…" Beatrice missed the rest.
The last thing that she could remember was a warm pressure on her back as the alien caught her and lied her down.
If Beatrice had been more aware, she would have been weary of being so exposed with a stranger, however she was barely conscious. Her thoughts were of nothing other than the couch beneath her head and the comfort it provided. Time was no longer of consequence; the only important thing seemed to be to sleep. With her guard down, Beatrice let herself drift away into sleep.
It was light in the room. She was going to be late for school. She must shower.
Beatrice awoke quickly and stood up, trying to gather her bearings. Having only just woken up, she did not yet have the energy and her vision quickly blurred and pins and needles went through her body. The girl sat on the couch as she recovered. It was not daylight that woke her up, but a chandelier that she had missed ealier that was now lit. The windowless room gave a sense of timelessness, but Beatrice couldn't help but feel late for something. She had slept for what seemed to be hours.
Her father was probably worrying as to where she was. Despite often arriving home late at night, Beatrice had never gone past the schedule. She had never had reason to. And now there may be bigger reason than she had hoped. The details of the conversation that had taken place the night before were quite fuzzy, but the essence remained. She had not been imaging things: the man in the woods was an alien. She had also been drugged, but with what? And where she was contained was still a mystery.
Or was she? While going over the events, Beatrice realized that she had never made it to the door. She had never tried to open it. This morning, if it was in fact morning, the girl felt normal and no longer weighed down by drugs. Despite not knowing what was behind the door, Beatrice could no longer sit around. She had to either escape or find out more. Perhaps seeing more of the house would provide some more answers. Or so the girl hoped as she approached the door.
The handle was in the shape of an elongated "S" on its side, with an extra twirl on the end. Taking no time to think of what lied behind the door, Beatrice pushed down on the handle. A quiet scrapping noise was heard as the bolt slid out of the door frame. Perhaps confinement was not the right word. Torn between finding the man who had brought her here and simply finding herself in familiar surrounds, Beatrice decided to follow her heart. In many ways her life was not boring, however often she felt immobilize in routine. If there was a chance to break the pattern of daily life, then Beatrice would take it.
The door exited into a hallway that ran along the room that Beatrice had been seemingly confined. Because of this, the hallway ran in two directions, but neither seemed to have any rooms. Beatrice went left. The hallway's interior design was much different than the inner room, though it had the strange mixture of modern and vintage, it was reminiscent of a tomb. Cold black marble lined the walls and ceiling, with matching white marble flooring. Pot lights lined the ground and lit the hallway. Its spotless and smooth surface reflected the lights into Beatrice's eyes, making her vision blur slightly. Despite this, she was still able to see the small touches of warmth in the hallway. The walls were covered with paintings of art from all ages, but all of them were stored in the same frame. It was made out of dark wood, polished to a shine, with intricate gold designs on all four corners. Beatrice could not make out exactly what the designs were, however they resembled little people. The people were reminiscent of Egyptian hieroglyphics, but if they contained some kind of message, they remained a mystery.
Beatrice quickly explored hallway to try and get a sense of how big the house was, and to see if it may lead directly to the exit. It did not; instead it was shaped as a square and led to three new doors. Treading carefully, she began her search with the door to the left of the living room. Before entering, she checked for signs of life, however she heard none. Peeking through the door, it became very clear that there was no one in the room. It led to a chamber that was almost as vast and empty as the living room.
The wallpaper of the room could fool anyone, with only a quick glance, that it must be full of objects. Patterns of swirls, flowers and colours of gold, white, red, and silver danced on the walls. It would have been a royal sight during its time. Instead, it was almost giving Beatrice a headache. It was as if the wallpaper was making up for the lack of furniture. Of which, there were only two pieces: a bed, and a nightstand. The nightstand, the frame of the bed, and the floor seemed to be made of the same wood as that found in the living room. Both objects had no decor, and only plain white sheets dressed the bed. Windows were nowhere to be found.
Beatrice, not for the first time, wondered what kind of style aliens must have to design a house so strangely. Perhaps they were like vampires and did not need a bed, but kept it and other furniture for looks? Or perhaps they did have style, but it was not so considered in modern home decorating. She giggled a bit at the thought; alien looking at modern magazines and home decorating TV shows and getting entirely confused on what a shower was for, or some such thing.
Though Beatrice felt quite free of drugs, they must have still been affecting her, for her mind was caught on the subject of aliens and their furnishings. As she continued to the next room all kinds of motives for the strange style drifted through her head. Contrary to her usual analytical nature, she continued her inconsequential and quite nonsensical thoughts about furniture even after she had already ventured into the next room.
The only reason she managed to snap out of her thoughts was by seeing a tub, which was rather interesting. Most of the furniture seemed to only exist for decor, not for use, so it was curious that there even was a bathroom. It was an odd ensemble, with only a bathtub, a sink, and an empty towel rack.
Perhaps the man was still moving in, and so most of his furniture was still… in space? It was an odd though, an alien still having the human troubles of getting all his items and moving them. Beatrice had no trouble recognizing any of the items, so possibly they were all from Earth. In fact, the bathroom was perfectly average, despite the lack of a toilet.
The bathroom also had no windows, but that was not particularly strange. The real oddity was the lack of any personal effects. No toothbrush on the sink, or even a book in the bedroom. If in a more rational state of mind, Beatrice may have begun to worry. However the oddities, though strange, seemed to have a logical reason for being how they were. Her being unaware of those reasons was no reason for panic.
Beatrice wondered into the hall, stopping again to admire the pictures. There was no rush, as the house was evidently deserted. The last door almost certainly led to an exit, or even the rest of the house. Conceivably, the area could be an apartment under the house. The idea struck Beatrice as particularly sensible, and so she felt no apprehension. If she was honest, she was feeling quite relaxed.
Behind the last door was a powder room. In many ways the room resembled the bedroom. The wallpaper was yet again the same, and the familiar wood was used in all the furniture. Against the left wall, where all the furniture was located, was a hanger for coats and a bench. There was a touch of personalization underneath the bench, where a "Welcome Home" mat rested on the floor. Beatrice felt more comfortable seeing the mat. Unknown to her, it was because of the resemblance to the mat at her home. The mat at her house held a special significance to Beatrice.
With very little of interest in the room Beatrice went to leave. As she was opening the door, she realized something. There was only one door in the room. She was trapped. Taking a moment to gather her thoughts, the girl sat on the bench. Had she seen anything that may have hidden a door? Her eyes turned to her feet, under which was the welcoming mat. Her heart skipped a beat; there may be a chance of escape!
Beatrice lifted her feet and dragged the mat out of the way. She could not feel any snags on the carpet, but perhaps there was an indent instead of a handle. A hard tug released it from under the back wall of the bench and showed her a familiar sight. There was nothing but the wooden floor. Despite a bit of rising anxiety, Beatrice still felt level headed. Now that there was no obvious escape, her search must become meticulous.
Returning to the living room, she searched for any objects that may help her, or hide an exit. The minimalistic furniture allowed her search for trap doors to pass quickly. Nothing was hidden.
A/N: The more I write the more I realize I have a long way to go. I can't say I'm entirely pleased with this chapter, but it introduces some important aspects that will pop up in the future. As usual the wait was long, but this time it was honest writer's block, instead of not having time to write.
One issue that I constantly ran into was using pronouns too often. It seems like it's difficult to read with all the "she"s I have everywhere. Does anyone have any tips on avoiding this? Please review critically so I may improve!
Thanks to anyone who took the time to read, and special thanks to those who review.