A rather... random half of the chapter. From mental disorders (you learn the answer to the question I asked you a few chapters back!) to donuts and to shock collars. Fun fun. Hope you enjoy! And give a thank you to Moonvibe for being such a dedicated reader!
Chapter 15 part 2
And that's when he fully saw what had happened.
It was a gruesome scene, and he froze at the sight of it.
Isaac lay on his back, face contorted in pain. Blood seeped from a wound in his shoulder, pooling around him like crimson roses on his death bed. His eyes were open and faded, pleading for them to do something. Ada sat next to him, her eyes wild, shocked, and confused. She hovered over the pierced flesh, staring down at it and shaking.
"What happened!?" Aquilla demanded, eyes trained on Ada.
Anton stood and stared. He didn't know what to do, none of them did. His heart pounded in his chest, blood pulsing through his ears. It was all he could hear as he stood there.
Then he stumbled, his feet leading him to Ada without his consent. He fell to his knees next to her, noticing the large rock sitting to her right. Specks of russet coated it on one side, and a better image of what had transpired filled his head.
She looked at him, calming with his presence. "M-M-Moray did th-this," she stuttered at last, burying her face in her hands. "He killed him!" She cried, shaking her head, back and forth, back and forth.
Anton forced his lips to twitch up into something resembling a smile and leaned over, touching her shoulder as the mood crashed down on them. She flinched and gazed up at him, brown eyes filled with torment. Then she turned those eyes of hers, resting them on Isaac. Anton followed hi gaze, spotting the faint rise and fall of the man's chest, soaked in blood.
And that's when he spoke everyone's thoughts, voice small and weak.
"He's not dead."
Aquilla carried Isaac down the stairs, resting him carefully onto the many blankets that were strewn across the cold stone floor of the basement. Anton grabbed a couple pillows, placing them gently underneath the man's head.
Although the man had treated him terribly the night before, Anton still felt a tug at his gut when he saw him lying there. The tourniquet that Adam had created from the long strands of fabric was wrapped tightly around the man's chest, already stained. The rest of Isaac's torso was bare, showing off a well muscled form that made Anton envious.
He turned to leave, the sight to painful for his eyes, when Aquilla called him back.
"Anton, thank you for your help," he said softly, staring down at his injured comrade. "And I'm sorry you had to see that."
Anton swallowed, shifting nervously on his feet. "It-It's okay," he replied, wondering about whether or not he should tell his old teacher about how he was there when Adam was hurt. He wasn't used to blood and broken flesh, but seeing it once could do wonders for a person. "I'm fine."
Aquilla sighed, still not looking to his favorite student. "I don't think you know what 'you don't have to be here' means. Anton, go. I don't want to see you injured. I don't mean to be harsh, but The Phoenix just isn't you. I was wrong to have ever brought you into my battle."
He remained standing there, turning his eyes down to the floor. The question popped into his mind once again: Why was he still there? He didn't know the answer to the question, even after all this time. Even after seeing Isaac down on the ground with blood clogging a deep wound.
Was it Ada's scream that had brought him there, and her shaken presence that kept him there to that very second? He didn't know, he wasn't sure. What he wanted to do right then was beyond him.
He fingered the feather, traced the black ink with his finger.
There was something keeping him under that roof, next to Aquilla and the other members, some unknown force that kept him pinned to the spot.
And that's when he understood why he was hesitating to leave The Phoenix. He wasn't a Wingless Bird held within a tightly woven cage. Nobody in The Phoenix, no soul kept him tied up like a young lark in a trap. It was him, and him only.
The experience was surreal, different. It reminded him of the many role playing games he and his parents had made, and it thrilled him. To a certain extent. Sure, it was terrifying and hard, but in a way its challenge was... fun. Exhilarating.
He loved it, and he hated himself for admitting it. It was like being thrown into a fantasy world, where everyone had to fight for themselves if they wanted to survive.
Anton shook his head. "No, I'm going to stay," he announced, refusing to let his voice waver when he realized the sacrifice behind the words.
Hear his student's resolution made Aquilla finally turn, shock flashing in his eyes. "Anton," he said gravely, "Think this though. I don't want you to get hurt."
Think this through. Think this through. Somebody had already told Aquilla to think something through and he ended up realizing how great of a mistake he was making. For the briefest of moments, he regretted the words he made, but he pushed that feeling to the back of his mind.
"I'm staying," he insisted, trying to make his tone into something that couldn't be ignored are argued against. Then he turned and headed back up the stairs, refusing to hear what Aquilla had to say. He heard the dark skinned man sigh, but he stayed down in the basement with his fallen comrade instead of pursuing.
Anton stepped out into the kitchen, and hurried toward the other rooms, peering in through the doorway. Ada sat on the stool, elbows leaning on the table. Her shoulders were hunched, her face a blank slate. She squeezed her fingers tightly then looked up at him, sensing his presence.
He sat down on the pillow next to her. "Where's Rosalie?" He asked quietly, resting his hands in his lap. It felt awkward breaking the silence, but he knew it was necessary.
Ada shook her head, "She hid when Moray broke in, but I haven't seen her since." Her voice was weak, weaker than he had ever heard it be. It scared him, and he wished she would turn back to her normal calm self. "I think she might have fallen asleep, because I called her name a few times and I haven't heard an answer."
"Why does she sleep so much?" He asked, finally able to get that question out to be answered. One less thing pressing on his mind, one more space for another question to pop in.
"Rosalie is... too old for her body, I guess you could say. She was diagnosed with some disability that my parents never told me at birth."
Anton lowered his head, now understanding vaguely why Ada had always tried so hard.
"And my parents didn't even care," she continued, her voice hardening, breaking like glass. "I did my best, and all they ever did was beat me. I took care of them, and Rosalie. Worked for their sake because that's what they raised me to do. It was all so stupid. All so hard! They didn't even care that Rosalie was in no condition to see her older sister get a beating. Her mind is too weak to see something like that, yet they went ahead and did it. I can't believe how heartless people can be! I can't believe how hard it is to hide my sister from the cruelty of our own family. With her physical disorder... With it... With-" She choked and fought back tears, shaking her head.
"And if she comes out and sees the blood on the floor, the broken glass... I don't know what I would do. It'll scar her for life, and that's the last thing I want to happen to her. She's already pushed around so much at school for being so... different from the other students her age. It's already hard enough on her. Seeing - learning - how Moray had done such a thing to Isaac... I don't know what would happen to her."
Anton bit his lip, lifting his head to look up at her. Her eyes were watery, the tears threatening to spill. "Ada..." He whispered, staring once again down toward the table.
"So you know what it's like too?" Melina asked from the doorway, stepping into the room and crossing it. She sat down on the other side of the table.
"What do you mean?" Ada sniffed, wiping at her eyes, looking up from the table at the other girl.
"Brynn's been diagnosed with DID," Melina explained, "Or better known as MPD - the Multi Personality Disorder." She turned to Anton, "Remember when he knew you one day then forgot who you were the next? He had problems remembering things. One day he could be left handed, the next right handed. He could be allergic to peanuts one day, then allergic to citric acid the next. It all depends on the personality he switches to."
"Oh," Anton didn't know how to respond, and found himself blinking. He had read about the disorder once upon a time, but he never actually thought that the guy had it.
"Mhm. It's scary sometimes," she continued, as if Anton had replied to her statements, "I never know if his next personality is going to be brash or timid... or abusive. He has thirty-one personalities that I have experienced, and each one knows and remembers different things. Right now he gets angered easily. He's quiet, but if you even talk to him you might find him strangling you and yelling at you."
"He hasn't hurt you, has he?" Ada asked, speaking for both her and Anton.
"Numerous times. I have scars and bruises from when we were younger. Now he has learned to control it, or is learning. He doesn't do anything to me anymore, but he erupts at other people. It's the reason why the U.O treated him like dirt, and why we left. I just hope the same doesn't happen here."
"I won't be offended if he says or does something to me," Anton offered, giving the smallest of smiles. "I'm used to it, as Ada always messes with me."
She slapped his shoulder. "I do not!"
"You called me a stalker, and insisted that I was an idiot without even saying the word when Jason- er- Adam stole my stuff."
"You completely deserved those. I think you're the only person who knows how to tell where someone lives based only on their name."
Anton rolled his eyes. "Anyone could. Those yellow books that the mailman used to put on your doorstep, they're magical things called phonebooks and they give you both the phone numbers and addresses. I found an online one. Not that it would help me find Jason- Adam, since he had that cloak of his. I need to stop calling him that."
"Why do you call him Jason?" Melina questioned, curious.
"That was the first name he told me," Anton explained with a shrug. "I feel like it suits him more than Adam."
"You know, you're right. I feel it does work better for him."
"We should get him to change his name, don't you think?"
"Get who to change who's name?" Someone said, walking up behind them. Anton turned, flinching slightly when he saw Adam's red eyes stare back at him. He carried a box in his hands, which he sat on the table.
"You," Ada said, "You should change your name to Jason."
"Why? I think Adam is perfectly fine. I'm not a book character anyway, so I can't have that name."
"Jason isn't limited to only book characters," Anton pointed out, watching as the thief fiddled with the box.
"I'll think about it. Do you want one?" He said, finally opening the thin box.
"What is it?" Melina tried to look around the box's corner, but he lifted it away, a smirk twitching on his lips. Then he turned it around.
"I donut know," he chuckled, setting the box of donuts down onto the table once again.
They laughed. What a punny joke. "Really, Adam? What's with the lame pun?"
Adam gave a breathy laugh, amusement dancing in his contacted eyes. "When in doubt, pun it out. So, do you want some? I got them for you sorry bunch, all grieving and such. From what people have told me, donuts make everyone happy."
"Where'd you get them?" Ada asked, cautiously taking one from the box. There were exactly enough for everyone but one.
"Collected them from some place," he stated casually, the implied action hanging in the air. He looked at Anton, "You don't want one? I got them for everyone by Selena, since Aquilla sent her out last night."
He shook his head. "I can't eat them."
Adam blinked, tilting his head like a little boy would have done. "Why? They're just donuts."
"Vegan. I can't eat it," Anton explained quickly, shrugging his shoulders. "Sorry about that."
"Can I give Rosalie yours?" Ada questioned, reaching into the box and grabbing one out when Anton nodded his head. "Thank you," she said, standing up and hurrying out of the room. Not long after Anton could hear her voice radiate from the hallway, calling out her sister's name.
"I've never had a donut before," Adam said, wiping powder off his face, "no wonder people say they make everyone happy."
An old thought passed through his head then, and he couldn't help but laugh. In that last week or so - time had completely escaped him - he remembered his old description of Adam: A demon of death. Now, as he say there in something like a living room, he watched as that demon with the magenta colored eyes and black cloak ate a donut. He never would have imagined a messenger of death to be enjoying something a trivial as a donut.
"You know, I think I do like the name Jason," the thief stated at last, breaking the silence induced the by the sweet treats. "How'd you come up with it?"
Anton blinked, "that was who you said you were when I first asked your name," he stated blandly.
"Really? Huh. I don't know why I didn't just keep it." Jason shrugged, putting the last half of his donut down. "Makes me sounds less like a farmer's boy."
Oh, Selena wasn't joking when she called the scary child-like thief a farmer.
Jason stood up, about to say something. Then Ada's voice interrupted him, making the blood in their veins freeze.
The caged doors to bright hell opened, making the prisoner squint and blink, the light painful to his sore eyes. Black spots swarmed his vision, making the world hazy as it spun and tipped about.
Hands grabbed his bony arms, lifting him easily to his feet. His legs nearly gave out, but he locked his knees and forced himself to support his own weight, stumbling as he tried to keep up with the guards.
Slowly, his eyes grew accompanied to the light and he found himself dragged through a white hall that was light only by candle light. A huge difference to the artificial light that had lit the prison hall. They pushed him up stairs which his shaking legs could barely endure. After the first flight he was breathless, yet they continued to bring him up.
As they walked, he could see the difference between one flight to the next and could instantly tell that each story was an add-on. Finally he was brought to the highest level and he choked back a sigh of relief, gritting his teeth instead.
There was a woman standing in the center of the room, leaning casually against a single chair. Her short hair looked almost silver, her eyes a deep green, her face hard and emotionless. In one of her hands was a brown collar, hanging lip next to her side.
"Hello, Ugata," she said, straightening. The guards threw him down into the chair, one taking the brown collar and fastening it around his neck tightly. The fabric dug into his skin, making him wince. "Today you're going to be testing out a little device we've created in the past few days. You'll find that it will prove quite a... shock to you, if you don't speak up."
"Fynne, so you are treating me like a naughty dog? A shock collar to keep me in line?" He huffed, wishing his voice wasn't rough with exhaustion. "Petty. Every day you stoop lower and lower."
She pulled a black box from her pocket, pointing it at him. A small button rested in the center, and just as he realized what it was the collar sent a stream of electricity through him. He screamed, the pain spiraling down his neck to the rest of him.
It was a quick zap, nothing more, but his already weak body reacted badly to the jolt. He collapsed into the chair, limbs turning into rubber. He coughed, feeling blood well up in his mouth.
"So," continued Fynne, "I would like you to explain some things to me."
Ugata didn't respond, for a mixture of reasons. Instead he gritted his teeth in defiance, the simple movement a struggle against the paralysis that still lingered in his muscles.
Her eyes demanded an answer, for him to submit and ask what she wanted in a weak, wavering voice. She pushed the button, and in the same moment he clenched his fists, bracing himself for the blow.
It never came.
She flicked the button again, irritation flooding her. No shock passed through him still, and he relaxed his hands and jaw, a triumphant smirk playing on his lips.
Though, as he sat there, weak and unmoving, his vision started to fade. To grow fuzzy and light. The room morphed, each second that flashed by turning the pixelated area into a new picture.
He found himself back in his cage, staring bleakly up into brown eyes. It was a kid, standing there with his hand stretched through the steel bars, no older than fifteen. His black hair hung messily around his forehead.
He looked down at the hand. It was held open, as if he were expected to shake it in agreement. Words floated in the air, unrecognizable.
Then the image faded, and he found himself once more staring into Fynne's angry face.