Note: This. This is where it would get confusing and where the 'bit of fantasy' comes in. I'm still trying to make it clearer somehow.


Chapter 3: The Building and the Home

"We're back." Lance exclaimed as he opened the door of a room lit by a brightly glowing candle in the middle of it.

"Great that you're here again! It was getting lonely here." boy from the far left corner of the room said.

"What are you saying Ruben? We left Clifford and Claude with you." Kyra told him.

"Yeah, except Cord needed to go to Talia because the stone was shrinking again. Since we're not allowed to go out alone, Claude went with him." He continued.

"The town must be using too much energy again." Lance hypothesized. He let Kyra in the room, closed the door, then he sat down beside it.

"They should give it a break sometimes. They don't know how much it affects us." Kyra added.

"Have you got some food?" Lance asked, changing the subject.

"Yeah, I picked some apples a few hours ago." Ruben answered, tossing an apple placed beside him at Lance. "Want one, Kyra?" he asked.

"Sure, Ruben" she answered. Ruben tossed her one as well and she caught it. "Thanks." She said as she sat down leaning against the wall beside some clothes.

"Anything interesting you could tell me about while you were gone?"

"I saw my grave." Lance proclaimed. "Might that be interesting?" he asked, taking a bite from his apple.

"Aw, it's not that bad. We're all dead anyway. At least we get to see everything after death." Ruben told him.

"Yeah, he knows that already. His problem now is that someone saw him." Kyra told him for Lance.

"Who saw him?"

"My brothers." Lance answered. "They went after us and I used my older brother's bike."

"He'll return the bike later." Kyra added.

::::::::::

About an hour later, the door opened again. Two boys, both older than Lance and the others, entered the room. One had straight black hair and the other had light purple colored hair. The purple color reached his supposed-to-be white shirt.

"What happened to your hair, Claude?" Lance asked, taking another bite from his second apple.

"Not to mention your shirt." Kyra added. "I always thought that white one was your favorite."

"Talia was growing a carnation." Claude answered Lance's question with a smile.

"What if she was?" asked Ruben.

"She placed it in water with food coloring to turn the white flower to a purple one." Claude continued.

"Claude climbed up the window first. When my cousin saw him, Talia was so shocked that she grabbed the vase she placed the flower in and threw the water out of it and it went straight to him." Clifford continued the statement with a chuckle.

"Did you get the stone fixed by the way?" Lance asked, taking one last bite from the apple before throwing the core out the window.

"Yeah, did you Cord?" repeated Ruben.

"We did." Claude answered. "Always thanks to Clifford's cousin."

"Yup, though I think we do it too often that she's used to it." Sighed Clifford.

"We have no choice though. We'll die if we don't take blood from her." Kyra said. "Sadly, it's a fact." She continued.

"The second option is… not at all nice either." Lance said.

"You mean killing one of our relatives?" Ruben asked.

"Not specifically killing them." Clifford said. Despite knowing what he would say, the others listened to him. "As long as they die holding the stone, this problem is fixed forever. We're separating our stone to the other stones meaning that, since we don't consume the energy of the stone too fast, it would have enough time to fix itself, our stone would never disappear." He thought for a moment. "But, yeah, this is not nice at all; not using that method is very much agreed." Clifford said.

"I see we have some more stuff." Claude said, looking past Kyra's shoulder.

"I found most of them a few days ago." Ruben said. "Some of them came from the old lady, the one who owns the garden I clean up at times."

"Anyways," Clifford started. "Where'd the bike outside come from?" he asked.

"Now that he mentioned it, is it for keeps?" Claude added hopefully.

"Um, Cord, that bike is my brother's."

"How'd you get it?" Clifford asked.

"We saw them at the cemetery." Lance said.

"Oh, and Claude, no, we're not keeping the bike." Lance stood up. "I'll be returning it now. Could anyone please come with me?" he asked, looking at Kyra expectantly.

"Not me. I'm going to sleep, goodnight." Kyra said as she lay down the ground and shifted herself to a more comfortable position on the hard cemented floor.

"Ruben?" Lance asked.

"Sorry," he said, yawning. "I stayed on guard so I'm sleeping as well." He rested his head against the wall and closed his eyes.

"I'll come with you. It's not that far, is it?" Clifford asked.

"Thanks Cord, it's not that far, don't worry."

"Hey, get some sleep too or keep watch over the children, it's your choice." Clifford told Claude before going out the door.

"I'll be sleeping then." Claude answered him.

Once they were outside the abandoned building, Lance saw the core of the apple he threw away just a while ago. He kicked it as far as he could into the forest. Crickets could be heard and the moon was shining brightly over them.

"Tell me again Cord," Lance started. "Why is it that we live there?" talking about the abandoned building.

"Why?" Clifford asked as he smiled. "Don't you like it there?"

"I do." He admitted. "I was just wondering why you chose to live there. I mean, you were the first one to have the stone and you were the first one to figure it out. You could have lived with your cousin when your parents and you yourself died in the car accident. You could have stayed with Talia when you lived again through the stone." Lance paused for a moment. "So Cord, why didn't you?"

Clifford rode the bike and Lance grabbed his shoulders and stepped on the rods his twin brother stepped on hours ago.

"I didn't know why I was alive." The bike started moving. "That's why I found no reason in going back."

"Why would it matter? You were alive weren't you? So what if there was no reason for you being alive?"

"That's the thing. If I had no reason then what's the point?" Clifford asked him. "When you're given another chance, you change everything as much as you could." He breathed deeply. "My reason for living now is because of you and the others in the building, not because of my family anymore" He sighed. "I can't go back to my family now because I could die anytime. Besides," he smiled. "I think my role there is done."

Lance looked down on the moving road beneath them.

"We have the same reason now, am I right?" Clifford asked him, turning the handlebars to the left.

"We can't go back because we could die anytime." Lance repeated.

"Correct." Clifford smiled sadly. "I too would like to go home one day." Clifford looked down on the road. "And my reason would be wanting to have a normal life again."

"You mean instead of taking blood from your cousin, you just live without doing so, instead of either catching or picking your food, you'll actually just take a bag of chips and eat it if you're hungry, instead of sleeping sitting down, leaning on the wall of the cold and hard room, you'll actually have a warm bed to sleep in, instead of –" Lance was cut off.

"Yes, all of those would be a great thing to have again." He turned right.

"Not to mention, a family."

"Right. A family." And the next few minutes were silent.

::::::::::

"Turn right one last time and my house is on that block." Lance said.

"Yeah." Clifford responded.

Once they were there, they got off the bike and looked at the house in front of the both of them. Clifford stepped towards the metal gate.

"Your gate is locked." He said, turning his head to where Lance was standing. Lance put a hand in his left pocket and took something out.

"Well, I never noticed that you still kept those." Clifford said, pointing at the keys Lance was holding.

"It's a remembrance of home." He said, trying to open the lock of the metal gate. "I'll put the bike in the garage, my brothers will get into trouble if the find it lying around in the garden, you stay here and wait. I'll be quick." He said while still looking at the lock. Once he unlocked it, he looked back at Clifford. "I promise." Clifford nodded in response.

"Thanks Cord."

Once Lance was past the gate and was no longer in sight, Clifford chuckled.

"Take your time, Lance." Smiling, he continued, "I know you would."

::::::::::

Lance once again struggled with the lock of the garage. He was starting to forget which key is for which door. So far, he has tried seven out of twelve keys for this lock. 'Eighth key, ninth key, tenth key, eleventh keyoh no, don't tell me.' On the twelfth key, it fit perfectly into the lock.

'Really! It had to be the last key I was going to try?!' he thought. He opened the door and nothing has changed. Everything was where it should be. Including the mess, they all belonged right there. He placed the bike just beside Luke's. His hand accidentally let go of the bike prematurely. He cringed at the sound of the crash. It wasn't that loud, but loud enough.

Suddenly the urge to go inside the house became strong. It became stronger and stronger still. There was a door connecting the garage to the house, a simple turn of the knob will bring him home, if not staying forever, a simple glimpse would be enough.

'But Cord is waiting for me outside.' a voice inside him told him, trying its hardest to stop him from falling into the temptation of stepping into his past. Unfortunately, another voice told him, 'He could wait, I won't be long.' And that statement easily won the argument. He easily found the key with less difficulty this time and turned the knob with a click.

'Everything's the same.' He thought as he looked around. He went to the living room. He touched the figurines his mother admired. He held the things he used to think that didn't matter.

Like the old family picture.

It's always been there. Lance always thought that their family would never experience separation of any sort; he thought that a picture was never needed. They themselves would be the perfect portrait. That was what he thought.

Lance left the living room and went to the kitchen and went to its counter. The counter was made of granite and it felt smooth and cold, it was nostalgic even. Then he proceeded to go to the other side of the counter to see more of the kitchen, still touching its cold surface. Before reaching the other side of the counter, he however, felt something wet on the tiles of the floor through his feet, since he was barefooted, before he completely reached the other side. He knelt down and touched the suspicious liquid. He smelled it.

'Is this milk?' he thought, standing up. Without minding the spill any further, he continued his expedition around the kitchen.

Suddenly, a wet hand grabbed his left ankle. Lance was frozen in fear. He looked down slowly, only to see a pair of equally blue eyes staring back at him. He tried running, forgetting that the puddle was right beside him and he stepped on it with his right foot. He slipped. He was used to slipping and falling. He used to fall off the trees the first time he tried climbing them with Ruben so this one did not hurt as much as it did before. This fall somehow led to his freedom from his captor's grip. He ran as fast as he could to the door leading back to the garage and went out. His twin was not far behind.

He was never far behind.

::::::::::

Luke couldn't sleep. His brother was alive. He was walking a while ago in the cemetery. He wasn't a ghost; he took Alvin's bike and rode on it. Not that he doubted it or anything.

He went to the kitchen, planning to get some milk to help him sleep. He opened the refrigerator; the light emanating from it was strangely comforting. He took the milk carton out and took a glass from the cabinet above the sink. Since he was holding a glass with one hand and a milk carton on the other

He heard a crash while pouring himself a glass of milk. He stopped. 'What was that?' he thought. "Maybe it was just my imagination." He told himself. But then he heard the door click. Out of fear, he dove down under the counter that was conveniently place across the fridge, leaving the milk carton behind, but bringing with him the half-filled glass of milk since half of it was spilled mostly on him and some on the floor.

He heard footsteps and his heart was racing. The footsteps sounded like the person was walking around.

'I always thought burglars hurry up.' Luke thought. He heard the footsteps coming closer to him. He noticed how wrong the decision was, diving under the counter, only having a glass of milk for defense. If you would even call it that defense. Probably not.

The 'thief' stepped on the milk puddle left on the floor.

'I didn't know they were bare-footed either.' He wondered. The visitor knelt down and touched the milk. The wood of the cabinet beside him was in the way of seeing the stranger's face, but at least it was also in the way of the stranger seeing him. The stranger got up again and walked on. When he was stationed right across him, Luke grabbed the stranger's ankle. He saw the stranger's face and saw that he wasn't at all a stranger. Lance tried running away, but the milk on the floor was on his way. Luke's hand, which was also wet with milk and, partially, of sweat set Lance free. Lance ran away.

Why was he always running away?

And why is it that it's also me chasing him?