-jazz hands- Blank Mastermind Thursday retuuurrns!
I don’t know, guys, tagging this…. I mean, we’re not technically a serial story anymore? I’m not following any consistent plot. This is mainly just poking around at backstory and character things and ambling around the story world. So I don’t know if it even counts. But whatever, it’s still fun and we’ll keep going until I run out of ideas. xP
Anyway. Collages, music and story for today. The whole shebang.
And, the story for this week, something I dug up from the archives of a few months ago. It’s Fall now, which means cold season, (-muffles my own coughing and rough voice-) which means WOLFGANG GETS THE FLU.
Okay, sorry, it’s not very fun. It’s pretty sad, actually. Mostly arising from my thoughts on what lingering, subconscious hard feelings would stay between Wolfgang and Charles after the events of the book.
But still, it’s an interesting character study if nothing else.
Enjoy, or don’t. And have a song to do with what you please while reading. (sorta reminded me of Wolfgang and his family, idk. Not perfect, but I do like the song.)
The numbers counted down, faster and faster towards zero. Beeping filled the air.
I slammed every button I could, trying to shut it down. My hands shook. The buttons stuck and didn’t seem to be doing anything. The counting got faster.
“You can stop the bomb . . . can’t you, Wolf?” Leif whispered from next to me.
“Leif, you’re not supposed to . . .” I whirled, heart pounding. It wasn’t just Leif. Mom and Dad and Peter and Ellie . . . all of them were inside the bomb with me. Waiting and watching.
I swallowed hard.
All of them. Here. They’d die all over again if I didn’t stop it.
I needed to stop the bomb . . . my bomb.
Mom pulled Leif back into her arms. “It’s okay, honey. Wolfgang will fix it.” She looked back up at me expectantly. The light on the inside of the shiny bomb reflected onto her face, the shadows making it look disturbingly skeletal.
I snapped out of it and spun back around. Stop the bomb. Disarm it now.
Only seconds left on the counter.
A soft hand rested on my shoulder and a heard a swish of skirts. “Can I help, Wolfy?” Ellie asked quietly.
This couldn’t be happening. I shook my head. “You guys . . . n-need to get out of here. It’s not working. Please, just . . .”
A figure jumped forward from the shadows, pushing me back from my family. They all stood frozen, watching me.
The counter stopped beeping and it was dead silent for a second. Then the explosion.
White hot, searing fire blasting over everything. But it didn’t touch me. Only blew my family away.
I tried to go to them, but the figure that had jumped me a few seconds earlier held me fast. I tried to pry his grip away, cursing and choking back tears. “Please . . . I need to . . .”
The man held fast. His face came out of shadow. Whether it was Mansley or Charles, I couldn’t tell. He drew something from his belt. A sword. I tried again to pull away, but he pulled the sword back and jammed it through my middle, pressing me back and pinning me to the ground.
I gasped in pain as the white fire around us edged in. The man leaned over and grinned at me with all his teeth showing. I smelled cigarettes and blood as he hissed by my ear.
“Die by the sword.”
My eyes flew open and I sucked in a breath, only to let it out again a second later in a harsh, barking cough. Blankets tangled over me, almost in knots.
But this wasn’t my room. Not at the Den . . . not at my apartment . . . where was I? My heart pounded hard and I swallowed. My throat felt raked by nails. Breathing hurt.
The room around me was dark. The red numbers from the digital clock nearby shone through the glass of water next to me. I didn’t pay enough attention to catch the exact time. Sometime after midnight.
A cold mug of tea and an untouched bowl of soup sat on a little stool nearby.
An image came back to mind. Angela trying to convince me I needed to eat and drink even though swallowing was the last thing I felt like doing.
My head pounded. I rolled and looked up at the ceiling, trying to calm myself down. My eyes slid closed on their own. Images from my nightmare flashed back into my thoughts and I forced them open again.
The bomb. I didn’t save them.
The ceiling above me in the dark moved downwards menacingly. I looked away, but the walls were moving in too.
I choked on my own breath. I have to get out of here . . . get out of the room . . .
It was too small. Just like the bomb housing. I’d suffocate.
Shoving aside the sheets, I pushed myself into a sitting position, swinging my feet off the edge of the bed. My vision tunneled. Another cough pushed up in my throat and I muffled it in the crook of my elbow.
“Just stay in your room, okay?” More of Angela’s worries and advice from earlier echoed in my mind.
But I needed to get out. This room . . .
The walls and ceiling bent in towards me further.
I got to my feet, starting towards the partially open door. A chill went over me and I shivered. Maybe I shouldn’t have left those blankets . . . but my leather jacket was hanging by the door. I grabbed it off after a couple of tries. My hand shook and it kept grabbing at the wrong spot.
I pulled it on, sticking my arms through as I stumbled out the door. Well, that was a bit warmer. But why was I still shivering? My legs barely wanted to hold me up.
A lamp sat on the table in the hall, glowing dimly. I wondered how it stayed upright. The hall kept tilting like a ship in a storm.
I took in a shaky breath and looked up at the ceiling. Panic gripped my chest again. The hall got smaller by the second. I needed to get outside . . . get somewhere where there was air . . .
Forcing my shaky limbs to move, I got myself down the stairs and over to the door. It was locked.
I struggled for breath as I fumbled the lock open. Funny, I felt too hot now . . . wasn’t I just cold?
The door swung open finally. I staggered out onto the dark porch, gulping in the cold, night air. The sudden rush of air made me cough again. I steadied myself on one of the porch posts.
I heard my heartbeat in my ears for a few more seconds. It slowed a little as the adrenaline went down. I took in a few slow breaths, looking out over the yard.
The moon cast shadows down through the trees. A distant hoot came from somewhere. A breeze ruffled my hair. It made me shiver harder, but it felt good. My tense muscles relaxed a little.
Heavenly fresh air . . .
With hardly meaning to, I slid down and sat on the steps. I’m not sure how long I sat there . . . just watching the trees and letting my thoughts drift. As time dragged on, they started making less and less sense. I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or not. I was tired enough.
Stifling a yawn, I leaned my head sideways onto the porch rail. A cough jolted in my chest, but I barely noticed it.
Mom always liked nights like this. Cold and moonlit. They were nice. And felt like home.
This is home.
Had I traveled back in time? Maybe this was an alternate universe or something. One where I’d saved them. Maybe that had all been a bad dream.
They were all inside, asleep. Ellie had stayed up late writing poems . . . Mom had made cookies for desert . . . Leif and Peter had their Legos all over the floor of their room . . . Dad and I had blown the evening tinkering on some hunk-of-junk motorbike he’d dragged home . . .
My mind’s image got clearer as I thought on it, bursting with color and life.
I let out my breath contentedly and smiled. I couldn’t believe I’d actually thought that awful dream was real. This was real . . . what was supposed to happen. That other stuff? Pfft. Ridiculous. I just needed some fresh air.
My head felt weird. I flicked at the zipper of my jacket. I felt too hot again and thought about taking it off.
I leaned my head back against the porch rail, laughing a little, though I wasn’t sure what was funny. It turned into another cough that felt like something clawing at the inside of my chest.
I winced, directing my mind back to the beautiful image of my family inside, letting that dull the pain. I shivered a little. My eyelids felt heavy and I started to let them fall shut.
My jacket was warm around me and the porch rail felt almost soft.
Any minute now, Mom would come out. She’d tell me I should come inside and . . . something else. She’d . . .
“Wolfy?” a quiet voice broke into my thoughts, dimming the warm memory bubble I’d created around myself. Footsteps . . . bare feet . . . scuffed across the wood towards me. The door squeaked shut.
I dragged my eyes open again, but didn’t turn. “Few more minutes, Mom . . .”
Whoa, that was my voice? It sounded like a toad. A toad that smoked.
A soft cloth sound next to me and someone sat down. Moonlight shone off the messy, turquoise dyed hair that was brought up into a messy bun. Her giant hoodie hung in loose folds around her, the right sleeve hanging totally empty.
I blinked. “L-Liza?” my teeth were chattering and I stuttered as I spoke. “Wh-when d-did you . . .?” Did she come into this world with me too? She wasn’t part of the bad dream . . . she was one of the only nice parts.
“Came earlier this evening when I heard you were sick.”
Liza’s small hand came up and rested on my forehead. Her fingers felt like icecicles. I shivered violently and tried to pull back.
Her brown furrowed up in concern. “You’re burning up, Wolfy. You really shouldn’t be out here like this.”
I shook my head and pushed her hand away, noticing my hand was shaking. “I’m f-fine, really. It’s . . . t-too small . . . inside.”
Liza tilted her head and her bun slouched to the side. “Too . . . small?” she asked, her words slow and echo-y in my ears.
I nodded for a second, then forgot what I was nodding about.
I rubbed a hand over my face and up through my hair. “It’s nice out here . . . isn’t it?” I looked back to the yard. The moon drifted back out from behind a cloud. I gestured to it. “The moon and everything . . . there were some owls too . . .”
Liza took my hand in hers and I looked back down at her. She was pretty like that . . . with the bun and the hoodie.
I made my scratchy voice work again. “D-did you come with me . . . from the . . . bad dream thing?”
Worry shadowed her face deeper and she put her cold hand on my forehead again. “You need to go inside, mate. This isn’t good.”
Well . . . my family was inside . . . it might not be so bad. I could have one of Mom’s cookies or something . . .
I opened my mouth to respond, but was cut off by the sound of the door opening and closing again behind us. Probably Dad . . . I turned to see who it was and stiffened.
Charles Fernsby. Amazing Man.
The happy world I’d built back up around myself came crashing down. The nightmare that had woken me up in the first place flooded back into my mind.
They were dead. All dead. Because of him. He didn’t save them.
The weak, tired feeling in my limbs went away and I clenched my fists.
Charles came closer, pulling his coat around him. He shook his head, his face looking more worried than Liza’s. “Wolfgang, if you want to stay out of the hospital . . .”
I tightened my jaw and gripped the porch rail to push to my feet. He was right here. I could finally get him . . . make things right.
Liza shot up next to me. “What. . .?”
I didn’t give her a response, closing the distance between Fernsby and myself in a few steps. I brought one of my fists up, smashing it into the side of his face. Not as hard as I would have liked, since the porch tipped and I almost missed.
Charles stumbled backwards, holding his jaw. Shock overtook the worry on his face as he stared at me. “What on earth?”
I was shaking again . . . my whole body. Though I wasn’t sure if it was from cold or rage. I clenched my fists tighter as I met Charles’s eyes.
“You . . . killed them. They’re all gone because of you. Mom and Dad . . . Ellie . . . Peter . . .” my voice trembled. I marched towards him again, grabbing his shoulders and pinning him against the wall. Anger smoldered inside me, fueling the ridiculous amount of strength it was taking for each movement.
“Wolfgang . . .” his voice held worry . . . and more sadness than I would expect. He grabbed one of my wrists, trying to get my hand off. “You’re out of your head, buddy . . . we need to get you back to bed . . .”
Out of my head? He was out of his head if he thought I was just going to let my family die like that. I brought my fist back again, ready to smash it into his face.
A small, cold hand grabbed mine before I could. I turned to meet Liza’s blue eyes. They pierced mine, almost forcing me to hold still.
“We got past this, remember?” her words were quiet and soothing. “Charles is a good man. He did nothing wrong.”
“H-he . . . k-killed my family.”
“No, there was the bomb from Mansley,” she corrected. “None of us could have done anything. Mansley’s dead now.”
Slowly, her words sunk in and the anger started draining out of me. I looked back at Charles.
“Your family wouldn’t have wanted the whole revenge thing,” Liza stepped closer. “You forgave, Wolfy. You moved on in your life. That’s what would have made them proud.” She slowly let go of my hand
They were still gone.
The last of the rage left and my arm dropped from holding Charles. Sadness so sharp it hurt rushed in to take its place.
It felt like they were alive just a couple of minutes ago . . . just a little ways away from me . . . like it should have been. Now I was just back in the bad dream.
My throat and nose felt even worse and my vision blurred. I put my hands up to cover my face and rubbed at my eyes. My knees buckled under me and I sat hard on the wood porch. A sob rose in my throat. It came out half as a strangled cough that stabbed my chest.
I doubled over, unable stop the choking sobs, shivering and holding my jacket closer around me. Everything hurt.
I felt Charles’s strong, warm hands lifting me up. Helping me like I was a little kid. Liza’s icy hand brushed against my forehead again.
My eyes were too watery to make out much. I coughed hard and it turned into another whimper.
The door squeaked open. One of my arms was put up over Charles’s shoulders and one over Liza’s as they helped me inside. I didn’t mind the warmness as much now. I was colder than I’d realized.
I thought they’d bring me back upstairs, but we simply went over to the living room and sat on the couch. Well, that was a lot closer, so it made sense.
I swallowed hard, blinking away the tears even though my eyes just wanted to close.
“It’s okay, Wolfy.” Liza’s arm came around me in as much of a hug as she could manage. I leaned into her warmth, closing my eyes and letting out all the shaky sobs dammed up in my chest.
After a while, they were all gone and I didn’t move, utterly drained of energy. Liza ran a hand up through my hair.
“Just rest. Go to sleep.”
“Shhh . . . Leif, he’s still asleep. Be quiet, honey.” Angela’s soft voice came from somewhere across the room.
Leif’s stage whisper responded. “Is he better?”
I took in a breath, my mouth and throat feeling dry, and opened my eyes slowly. Rays of morning sun shone across the ceiling of the living room.
The living room?
I blinked hard a couple of times.
A cool hand rested on my forehead. “Hey, Wolfy. Feeling more like yourself?” Liza’s face came into focus in my vision.
I swallowed my spit, trying to force my voice through the sandpaper feeling in my throat. “Um . . . a little.” My voice was hoarse. Moving my arms down, I rolled sideways and pushed myself up into more of a sitting position on the couch.
Angela sat in a chair across from the couch, watching me carefully. She gave me a small smile and raised an eyebrow. “I thought I told you not to leave your room.”
I ran a hand up through my hair weakly and shrugged. My memories of the night before and how I got down here were too hazy to make out many details. “I . . . wanted some air.”
I couldn’t remember what I’d dreamed and what was real. Something about my family . . . the bomb . . . Liza telling me to stop doing something . . .
The joys of fevers.
Leif hopped up onto the couch next to me. “Is your throat better?”
“Kind of.” I swallowed again and let my head fall back against the cushions.
“You sound like Darth Vader.”
Liza laughed, poking me in the ribs. “It’s true, actually.”
I chuckled a little, even though it hurt. Taking a couple of rasping breaths, I turned to look at Leif and stretched out my hand. “Leif . . . I am your brother.”
Leif giggled. “Nooo . . .” he jumped off the couch, falling dramatically to the carpet.
Angela smiled and stood. “I’m going to go get some breakfast ready. Glad you’re feeling better, Wolfgang.”
I sat there watching Leif’s dramatic performance for another minute and trying to sort out my thoughts. I glanced over at Liza. “I was a out of my head last night, I’m guessing.”
Liza returned my look and smiled sideways. She shrugged. “Yeah, a little.”
Footsteps sounded on the stairs and Charles came around the corner. There were dark circles under his eyes, but he gave a tight smile and nodded to me. “Glad you’re feeling better.”
I nodded back. “Me too . . .” my gaze rested on Charles’s jaw. The beginnings of a dark purple bruise showed, swollen slightly. He rubbed at it as he sat down.
I blinked. “What . . . what happened to your jaw?”
He shook his head. “Nothing.”
I looked down at my hands and noticed slight bruising on my right hand knuckles. I felt my cheeks redden. “Sorry.”
Charles smiled a little. “Well, I will say you can still pack quite a punch when you’re sick.”
Aaand that’s all for this week folks. We’ll see you next time, and I’m taking suggestions for anything you guys wanna see in the comments. -fingerguns-
Have a great day, everyone. ❤