Monday, April 5, 2010

Problems

One right after another. Here you go folks! More to Ice Crystals:


          Crystal smiled, her eyes closed. Next to her, Cougar crouched, purring with anticipation. They didn’t know who I was, so they couldn’t see me. I sighed, resting on my heels as I watched them do their thing. Our parents programmed this into their systems. For Cougar it was the lust of blood that lured his predatory instincts of his cougar genes. For Crystal it was the OCD of neatness. If it was neat and orderly, it irked her. But me? Just laundry detergent that I had to down while they concentrated on honing Cougar’s hunting technique without him finding out that it was wrong for him to tear off heads. I shuddered to think of the sheep they brought in for his first live hunt.
            Faintly, I wondered if I should tell Crystal who I was. Then she could see me in these dreams and realize that this wasn’t just a dream - it was still part of the experiment. I had shrugged out of our scientists brain-washing long ago, and was trying to find a way to free Cougar and Crystal.
            The city shook, and Cougar leapt forward. I then thought of how I’ve never done anything to change these dreams. I was in control of myself after all. So, for the first time, I changed the course of this dream.
            With a cry, I leapt to intercept Cougar. Crystal snapped her head back as if my sound woke her up. Cougar twisted around, confusion and blood-lust mixing in his whole facial expression. A faint snarl of confusion escaped.
            “Stop,” I commanded. Crystal lowered her hands and the earth gave a sigh, crumpling back to a weary position. I knew I just looked like a shadow to them, but I still had a voice. Hopefully though they wouldn’t recognize me by my voice. I wasn’t ready for them to know yet.
            Cougar doubled over, holding his head. “Wh…what’s going on?” I withdrew my hand.
            “You’re remembering,” I explained simply, “remembering the screams of your victims. The fear. But this time,” I leaned closely, “it doesn’t feel good, does it?” Cougar moaned, and I straightened and turned to Crystal. She was swaying slightly.
            “You,” I pointed to her, “are remembering the nights your parents stayed up all night. They told you it was a scientist thing, but you know now they were tweaking your mind. Feel the moments you have forgotten.” Her wings drooped as she did. They quaked, feathers ruffled.
            “How do you know this?” Cougar clutched his stomach, and I knew he was feeling the blood he had drunk a long time ago. I smiled sadly, though the movement was wasted.
            “I was just like you.”
Crystal took this like a punch to the gut, bending over and panting. Her previously red hair returned to its streaked blonde. A feather floated from her wings. Cougar’s bushy tail hovered above the ground and shook much like Crystal’s wings. He moaned again.
Then, we all woke up. I quickly jumped out of my cot and raced to Crystal’s area. Once there I launched myself up onto our ledge just as she was coming out clutching her nightgown. I did this so she wouldn’t suspect me of being the shadow, and because she intrigued me like no one else.
 I casually glanced back to watch her fly up. It never ceased to amaze me the way she flew without and preparation. All she did was beat her wings and she was flying.
“Another bad dream?” I asked. She and I were always meeting up after these dreams. The only thing she knew though was that I couldn’t sleep so I perched here to look at the stars. If only she knew.
“I don’t want to go to Chef’s tonight, I feel sick,” she bent her head. I reached out and touched her forehead.
“You don’t look so hot,” I agreed.
“I-oh, wait,” she turned and threw up onto the ground. I glanced around. There was no one else but us.
“Chef might have something for you, she does medicine as well as food,” I picked her up in my arms. She shivered and moaned. I didn’t jump down to the ground, instead walking on the rooftops and ledges to Chef’s area. A couple times Crystal turned and threw up again, but other than that she remained curled to my chest.
“Hello, Shadow. What can I do fo-huh!” Chef gasped as she saw Crystal. “What’s wrong with her?” I gently lowered her onto a table. Crystal moaned for the millionth time, shivering. I had a pretty good idea that she was going into shock, but how could I explain that to Chef. I made myself look confused.
“I found her like this,” I explained. In that moment, Cougar stumbled in, clutching his stomach and looking very ill. Chef glanced at him and was at his side in an instant, guiding him to another table. Crystal looked over at him wearily.
“You too, huh?” she spat out, before she convulsed, throwing up over the edge of the table. Cougar grimaced back. Sympathy for them both hit me, but I knelt down to only Crystal’s eye level. She was ready, Cougar was not.
Crystal, listen closely to me.”
“Uh-ng,” she grunted.
“How long have you had dreams of destroying cities?” I asked. Crystal gasped, and the sudden clench of her stomach caused her to throw up again.
“How do you know about that?” she muttered after she was done. I glanced at Chef. She stared back at me with confused cocoa brown eyes.
            “Get some medicine ready,” I commanded her. She snapped out of her daze and nodded. I then turned back to Crystal.
            “There is a shadow person there that changed the dream cycle and revealed to you things you have forgotten,” I whispered to her. She convulsed once more, and this time she didn’t throw up.
            “How. Do. You. Know?” she spit out painfully. I smiled very sadly and leaned my head so close that our faces were almost touching.
            “I’m E-1, Crystal,” I whispered. She blinked, and then let out a very loud moan. Tears formed at the corners of her eyes. Chef quickly raced over to give her pain medicine. Chef hurriedly opened a book explaining all the compounds of different medicines and created it. She made Crystal swallow a pale white pill. Once it was downed, her expression softened, but only slightly.
            A burst of laughter, and Spark and Sugar entered the scene. Spark’s arm was draped over Sugar’s shoulder, and when Crystal saw them, her face twisted again into pain. She clenched again. Chef rushed at the newcomers, shooing them away.
            “Shoo! I have sick people, and you’re disturbing them,” she chided. Spark, eyes still glowing, glanced over her to see who it could be. His eyes fell on Crystal and he gasped.
            “Oh my goodness!” he raced to her, forgetting all about Sugar. She looked rejected, but at the sight of me, she swayed toward my direction. I glanced away, eyes burning. Flirting for her was never done. Spark was still agape at Crystal’s ill form. His whole body was pulsing with electricity, hair crackling madly. “Oh, Crystal, what’s wrong?” She only moaned. Cougar rasped.
            “Chef,” was all he could say. She spun around from Crystal and tended to him. Sensing that I was not needed here, I picked up Crystal’s hand, kissed it and whispered her luck, turned and left Chef’s area.
            Just as I thought, Sugar towed after me.
            “Hey,” she called out seductively. Luckily I was immune to such acts. I kept walking. Slightly put off by my cold shoulder, Sugar hung back a few steps before bouncing back up. I avoided looking at her, fearful of not liking what I might see.
            “So what’s with Crystal back there?” she tried to approach a topic that hit home. I clenched my jaw, and bravely waded through the assault without any effects. Sugar pouted and tried again.
            “Cougar seemed pretty bad too,” she commented, launching another attack. Nothing. Another try.
             “I wonder why Chef needs that book. Is she stupid or something? Can’t she just whip up the medicine without looking it up?”
            Anger exploded inside me. You can diss me, diss my actions, diss my lack of ability, but diss Chef and you’d better have a weapon. I whipped around at Sugar, all but spewing fire from my mouth.
            “Okay, you try mixing all the right ingredients to fit a mixture that might help someone. You try thinking of every part that would go into it! Now if you don’t shut up and stop prying at me, I’ll have to hurt you! And trust me,” I growled menacingly, “you do not want to do that.” Sugar looked baffled. Haughtily, I spun and couldn’t help but jump up into the night, releasing my own pair of wings. Below me I heard Sugar gasp, and I wheeled to face her.
            “There are many things you do not know about me, and things you don’t want to know, so just quit it,” I snarled. The night ate me up welcomingly, and I fell into the darkness like I was one of the shadows myself. That’s why I’m called Shadow.

Crystal

            Systems…faltering. Mind….in pain. Physical body….intact, but felt horrible. Skin…clammy. Emotions….nonexistent.
            I heard another groan. Possibly me. My brain did another systems check. It was like the time where I had taken the pill, but this was a slow burning fire. Eventually, the pain trickled away, and I opened my eyes.
            “Oh!” Spark’s concerned face appeared above me. His hair was sparkling wildly. “Crystal, how are you feeling?”
            “Like a dead man,” I grit my teeth as a wave of last minute pain swept through me. Spark’s face saddened.
            “Chef said you might feel like that, she gave you a lot of medicine. Cougar isn’t doing much better,” he moved slightly so I could see my brother-experiment. He was very still and ghostly. I looked away and sat up.
            Instantly, blood rushed to my head, making me dizzy. I reeled, and Spark held out a hand to steady me. But as soon as he touched me, I was shocked. He pulled away.
            “Sorry,” he muttered, downcast. I giggled, now fully awake, and rested my head on his shoulder. He smiled, and stroked my hair. His hand was slightly buzzed with electricity.
            “Morning!” a chirpy voice pierced our precious moment. I bolted upright, only to see Sugar bouncing in. She was dressing in a sparkly, tight fitting shirt and black skinny jeans. Sunlight flowed in from behind her, creating a halo of gold around her head.
            She swung up to Spark. “Hey, you seem tired,” she commented. I inwardly sighed and leaned away from them. Spark glanced at me, and then shrugged out of her grip.
            “Er, yeah. I stayed up all night,” he inched in my direction. I took this as an invitation to rest my head again, so I did. To my satisfaction, Sugar seemed irked. 
            “You didn’t sleep at all?” she cooed. “Do you want to come at my area to rest up?” Spark stiffened visibly. Happy that Sugar was getting blown off, I let my gaze wander while her and Spark spat it out.
            Cougar was arousing, tail twitching violently. He saw me, and nodded at me. I blinked, and continued my survey. Chef was folded nicely into a chair. There were bangs under her eyes and she was fast asleep. Silently, I thanked her for nursing me back to health.
            Then I remembered Shadow. His experiment name sent shivers down my spine, though I had no idea why. Part of me raged that he revealed that, part of me was confused. What was so important about his name? It meant he was my experiment-brother like Cougar, but was he my blood-brother? Did my parents just call themselves my parents, but didn’t really give birth to me?
            A shriek burst into my bubble. I glanced back at Sugar. She was red in the face, tears welling in her eyes. Chef bolted awake, brown eyes shot. I growled softly to myself for Sugar’s overreaction, and raise my wings in a threat.
            “Why her? What is so special about her?” Sugar wailed. “Shadow likes her, Cougar likes her, you like her? Why?” She drew out the last word into a long cry. Cougar snarled from where he was, Spark electrified fully, and I leapt to my feet.
            “Maybe because I’m not such a whimp and a ditz!” I shouted angrily. “And what the heck do you mean by ‘like’?”
            Sugar glared at me through red, puffy eyes. “They all are obsessed with you!” At this, Cougar snarled ever louder. It resembled much like a real cougar’s growl. His eyes blazed.
            “Get this straight,” he warned, “Shadow nor am I obsessed with Crystal. She’s my freaking sister, and Shadow likes her as a friend. Spark, if you want my opinion, like her because she won’t scream if she finds out that he doesn’t like her.”
            “I don’t know about that,” I muttered to soft for anyone to hear. Spark managed to catch it, because he turned away from Sugar and stared into my eyes adoringly. I smiled quickly, not used to such looks, and looked back at Sugar.
            “She’s not perfect either,” she cried at me, jabbing a finger. Then, with a cry of frustration, she lunged at me.
            I just leaned to one side. She shot past me, and I grabbed her by her tiny wings. She cried out with the pain. I gave them a slight tug, bringing her to my eye level.
            “Get out,” I growled softly to her. Then, with a snort of contempt and a flick of my wrist, I set her tumbling through the air and she hit the stone wall next to the door with her back. Tears streamed down her eyes and she gasped when her wings were crushed. I flinched, thinking of how my own wings would do with the same situation.
            Sugar stumbled to her feet, and staggered out of Chef’s area.