Chapter Two (Book One: Dragonfly)

Parade
By Anonymous Author

I hear laughter of many.
Who laugh at me.
And only me.

I do not understand why.
Why do they laugh?
Do they not know?

That I am like them.
That I follow those,
Who choose to lead.

So, no more laughter.
At our little,
Parade...

ILLUSIONER FILE : SUNSHINE

As soon as I unlocked the front door, Chandler shoved right past me. Gripping my arm, he dragged me with him as he slammed the door shut.

“Where’s his lab?”

“Basement… The hatch is in the kitchen, by the backyard door.”

Leading the way, I started to think of various possibilities of what might happen when Chandler gets it.

My uncle doesn’t do tests on animals ever since Jaz, so how’s he going to test it?

‘On you, of course.’

What? You again?

‘You didn’t take the other medication.’

Other medication?

‘To keep me away…’

I must have been lost in thought when the sudden clank of metal hitting tile brought my attention.

There Chandler stood, holding a key that was supposed to be hidden on the backyard windowsill.

How did he find it?

‘Probably stole it.’

“Snuck it from your uncle, made a copy, snuck it back in.” He stated, “Get moving Joshie-boy.”

‘Called it.’

“I’ve never been in the basement.” I said, slowly starting to back out, “Please Chandler. You can steal it from the guards. It hasn’t been tested for sa-” I cut off with a gasp as Chandler grabbed my arm and dragged me with him down.

Why did I say yes? Oh God, uncle is going to kill me.

‘That’s if you survive with Chandler.’

Thanks for the support self.

I stayed silent, knowing that if I talked again then Chandler would take it as talking out of turn and try something.

I was pulled and dragged around the lab as Chandler looked around. He would play with some of the equipment while I was shoved away.

Sighing, I went to sit down at a nearby table by the file cabinet. As I sat in the chair, I noticed something peeking out from a folder that seemed familiar.

I shouldn’t…

‘You should. Isn’t your uncle begin a bit secretive? And that does look like your homework folder from illusioner studies.’

What?

‘What is right. What is your uncle doing with your notes? He’s a scientist at Alpinescape, why does he need these?’

Why is the voice in my head always telling me to snoop around? Just last week it tried to convince me to steal my uncle’s lab notes.

But, when I shifted some of the items from the folder, it really was my homework folder.

What?

‘Told you so.’

Looking up, I could see Chandler watching me out of the corner of his eye as he riffled through some boxes.

“See something you like?” He asked, turning to face me.

‘There’s should be something in the bottom left drawer. Get it and smack him.’

I’m not going to fight Chandler! Plus how did I- No. How do you know that?

‘Just a guess and if you won’t. I will…’

“No. Just stop.”

“What was that?” Chandler hissed, now making his way over.

Did I say that aloud?

I’m dead.

‘Nice knowing you.’

You’ll be dead too!

‘Nice knowing us then.’

Shutting my eyes tight, Chandler grabbed the front of my shirt and dragged me onto the desk. Some things crashing onto the ground.

“Gone quiet now, Joshi-” He cuts off and after hearing the shift of papers, I started to hear him laugh.

Slowly, I opened my eyes to see my notes in front of me.

“Let’s have a look,” Chandler said as he shifted me so I was sitting on the desk a bit more comfortably while an arm wrapped around my waist.

“Illusioners are known by risk levels and have inner-selves. But, risk zeros have a more active inner-self. Or at least those who contain the dragonfly strain.” He started, “There’s a note here with numbers. Hm…”

‘Hey…’

I’m not going to fight.

‘No one can hear you scream down here.’

There’s a landline.

‘With a cord that Chandler could cut and tie you up with.’

Chandler continued to read the notes as I continued to fight the voice in my head.

I have my cell phone.

‘Do you even have service here?’

‘That’s what I thought. Look, there’s a lot of things in here that he can sh-‘

“New tools are being created to find illusioners. The newest one is called, Dormant Illusioner Ability Detector, or DIAD for short. And look at that, there’s a note saying bottom left drawer.”

Bottom left, huh?

‘Hey, I’m not really an x-ray vision inner-self you know.’

As the arm disappeared from my waist, I heard the opening and slamming of a drawer. My eyes squeezed tight.

Should probably run. I can’t fight.

‘For once, I agree with you.’

“Joshie-boy.” Chandler purred just as I jumped off the desk and took off towards the stairs.

‘Don’t look back. Just keep running.’

I know! I know!

Just as I reached the stairs, I was yanked back and pinned to the ground. Wrists pinned above my head by a single hand.

Chandler was on top, his free hand holding the DIAD. It really did look like some big, novelty letter opener.

“Why run? Are you an illusioner? Some monster? I was going to test this on the fish, but since you ran, I’ll be testing it on you.”

I didn’t struggle. It’s worthless to even try. So I just let Chandler poke the tip of the DIAD into a vein and waited.

“Notes said that it’s a red blinking X for not, white flashing X for a dragonfly, five blinking green lights for a zero, then four for four, three for three, and so on…” Chandler’s eyes glanced towards my own before watching the device.

As soon as a small ding was heard, I was pulled up and a blow to my stomach caused me to fall down gasping.

“So you are one… How in the world were you able to get into Winchester High with you being some beast.” He hissed, dragging me up once more, “A damn zero dragonfly…”

But…

‘You never really questioned that medication did you?’

That was…

‘TAME. Your uncle just removed the label.’

Yet-

‘You idiot! Did you copy your notes? Did you not hear Chandler?’

All illusioners have an inner-self… But, only Dragonfly Potentials are really affected by it!

‘Bingo. Now get the fuck up and run before he drags you to his place and does whatever he pleases!’

What?

That was when I started to notice the lab moving as I felt the pain from my head and with hands shooting up to grab Chandler’s hands as he pulled my hair up towards him. As I stared into his eyes, I couldn’t look away.

“I wonder why your uncle never mentioned this. Or how no one seemed to notice anything…” Flashing me a smirk, his hands released my hair and before I even fell, he grabbed my waist and hoisted me over his shoulder.

That was when I struggled.

“Let me go! Please! Chandler, I didn’t know!”

“Too bad that you have to leave Winchester High, but least you’ll have me.”

“No! Please!” A kick near his crotch and now a hand on my ankles, stopping them from moving.

‘Are you really that stupid?’

What?

‘Illusioner. Figure it out yourself before I have to come out and end up getting you caught for murder. Self-defense or not.’

Illusioner… That’s right.

We were just about to reach the hallway when I tried to focus. I honestly had no clue on how to fight like an illusioner. I mean sure, we had self-defense classes at the school, but those were against illusioners and others.

‘Do I have to think of everything?’

What do you me-

I hit the ground with a thud. As I rubbed my head, I noticed Chandler holding his arm. The one that was holding me. It was covered in blood, a glowing gash dimming down.

When did-

‘Don’t think idiot. Get up and run!’

My feet were moving before I realized it, and I was out the front door and into the street. I was weaving between people.

“Wenkert!”

That shout made me freeze.

‘Don’t do that now! Move it.’

I can’t.

‘Seriously?!’

My feet began to move on their own once more and that was when I noticed I was making my way towards the train.

‘All aboard the train to Veskia!’

Jumping through an open train car door, I found it lucky that I never fell or missed.

‘Because I’m controlling you stupid. Here’s a fact… Inner-self’s come out when the mind is weak. Meaning I could -‘

“Don’t…” I interrupted, “Just, please. I just want to get used to this… And understand why my uncle was lying to me the entire time.”

ILLUSIONER FILE: ANGEL’S SHADOW

“One for a story from the book. Two for a song from the book.” I held up one finger then two as I watched Colver bury himself in the bed.

Three fingers were the reply.

“That wasn’t a choice… Are you sure?” I asked as I sat myself down on the edge of the bed.

One finger.

“Made up story it is.” Smiling I reached over to the bookshelf at the end of the bed and grabbed Blinkey, “Does Blinkey want to listen too?”

This time, a nod.

“And Blinkey, the plush cat of patches, joins the adventure into dreamland!” I joked as I handed Blinkey to Colver’s outstretched hands, “Alright, this story is about a knight and a baker girl.”

Colver’s small smile assured me that this was a story that he never heard before.

“The knight and baker girl were friends long before they became lovers. Their love for one another made everyone’s heart swell.” I started, “And the parents of the baker girl were happy that she has found love and the friends of the knight teased him endlessly for they were happy for him.”

Using the shadows, I created small puppets to reenact the story as I continued.

“But, underneath this love laid a dark lie. The knight abused the baker girl emotionally. Telling her that she should be thankful that he’s her lover, for no one would love her for who she was.” Sighing, I continued, “The baker girl feared the knight. Feared that one day he may harm her. Feared that she may never break the chains that bound her to him.”

The shadow puppet of the baker girl was now kneeling as the shadow puppet of the knight acted as if he was yelling at her.

“Then that day came. The two fought viciously and soon their forced love shattered. Now walking separate paths, the knight moved on while the baker girl still holds a single piece of their love with her.”

Colver whined.

“The baker girl’s parents were heartbroken, but did everything they could to make her smile again.”

I created more puppets out of shadows.

“She made new friends. Those who would never harm her with the intention to break her. She, despite her broken heart, smiled and began the steps to move on. She had friends who helped her and kept her love true. And she continued to make her life have a happily ever after.”

Patting the blanket, I got up and bent down to kiss Colver’s forehead, “Sweet dreams. Maybe the baker girl will be in your dream and you two will have a party filled with sweets.” Giving two more last kisses; one to Colver and one to Blinkey, I got up and walked out of the room, letting the shadow puppets slowly disappear and the lights dim into darkness.

I only made it past my own room down the hall when it started.

‘That story sounded very familiar. I mean some parts must have been true.’

“Shut it.” I snapped in a hushed tone, making my way to the stairs that led to the roof.

‘Hm? But, didn’t you miss me?’

“I’d wish you leave me alone.”

‘Aw… Well, who’s fault is it that they forgot to take a tiny dose of TAME to keep me away?’

“You’re lucky that you’re nothing, but a voice in my head,” I replied sharply, as I made my way up.

The voice was silent. Maybe I finally made it shut up.

With a smile, I opened the door to the roof and made my way towards my normal spot by the corner.

‘A voice in your head? Sweetheart, I’m not just that. I’m you. All of you. Your heart, your hands, your head, your brain, your mind… And your shadow.’

“Stop.”

‘You want him back…’

“N- I don’t.”

‘I sense hesitation… Just like when you saw him at the Quicksand Bar on Harold street before you took off running.’

“I didn’t.”

‘Stop lying to yourself. You know that’s a lie.’

“It’s not.”

‘I’m your inner-‘beast’. I know you.’

“Shut it.”

‘You hate it here. You wish that you could just leave it all… Why don’t you go for that councilman son’s offer?’

“Stop.”

‘But that means you can’t see your family as often. And it means that you’ll be putting others at risk if the public finds out…’

“I said stop.”

My hand slowly started to reach for the pistol, Queen, that was in my thigh holster.

‘Waste your ammo on some voice. Do it… It’s not going to stop me. As said, I know you. Every single fact about you.’

“Shut up.”

‘I know that you will do anything to protect your family… Your friends… And that kid and prevent him from becoming just… like… you.’

“I said shut up.”

‘I know that you still hold feelings for that mutt. And maybe just maybe have feelings for -‘

“Please…”

‘You absolutely fear abandonment and isolation. But you refuse any help from others when it gets rough.’

“Knock it off.” Queen now out of its holster.

‘Why don’t you ask for help? I mean it’s just words… Just like how you can never seem to say this simple word out loud and that little word is, n-‘

“I said shut up!” Blindly shooting, I heard the thud of something hard hitting the roof with a grunt to follow.

“Watch it,” Devyn mumbled as he got up, dusting himself off. The bullet caused a tear on the shoulder of his jacket.

“Devyn…” With clouded eyes, I watched as Devyn went to sit down next to me, “Sorry. Just bad timing.”

“Bad timing my arse.” He stated, pulling out a cigarette from his back pocket and lit it.

“What are you doing here? Isn’t Ashy at your place by Lime Beach? And isn’t Corbin and Mr. Snowman there? Don’t mix a fifteen-year-old with a twelve-year-old when the beach is a walk away.”

“Cory is asleep. Mr. Snowman is taking a kip in my kitchen sink and Ashton is watching a movie. I just came by to drop off your part of the win from that bet.” He said as he handed me a couple fives and some tens and a twenty.

Sighing, I took the money and counted it, “You’re two off. It’s supposed to be a hundred and twenty-two.”

I cocked an eyebrow as Devyn chuckled and pulled out two ones. Rolling my eyes, I took the ones and shoved the cash into my front pocket.

Watching as he got up, he faced me.

“Going to stay here all night?”

“No. I’ll be going back in later.”

“Alright…” Making his way towards the roof door, he paused. His head slightly turned to me. I could only see the bottom of his face.

“Don’t listen to it.” He started, “It doesn’t know what it’s talking about. Just don’t let it get to you.”

With a dim smile, I gave a small nod, “I know. Goodnight, Devyn.”

“Don’t forget that tomorrow you’re doing the orphanage thing. Night. Try to get some sleep.” And with that, he left.

ILLUSIONER FILE: DEVIL’S LIGHT

It didn’t take me long to get back to Lime Beach. And as soon as I reached my place by the water, I could see, through the open window, that Ashton was curled up on the couch with Mr. Snowman licking his head.

Shaking my head, I unlocked the door, opening it and managed to catch Mr. Snowman mid-jump as he took off towards me.

Ruffling his fur, I set him down and watched as he walked down the hallway to Corbin’s room.

Smiling, I made my way over to Ashton and poked his cheek.

I’ve gotten used to him being here since until his place gets fixed, he’s staying at mine until then.

We even made a routine. If I went out for the night, he would watch a movie and end up falling asleep on the couch with the window open. If I didn’t, he would still end up asleep, but in the guest room.

Poking his cheek again, I huffed in amusement as he mumbled and swatted my hand away.

‘He looks pretty f-‘

Don’t put thoughts into my head, mate.

‘Well aren’t you a fun guy.’

Didn’t I take TAME earlier so I won’t have to listen to you?

‘Nope.’

Bollocks.

Sighing, I knelt down and blew into Ashton’s face, “Wake up already. I don’t want you sleeping in your binder. Either you wake up and take it off, or I do.”

The response? A simple groan.

‘Hm? Now that sounds e-‘

Finish that and I’ll finish you.

‘But, then you’ll finish yourself…’

That sounds bloody wrong.

‘Yeah… I’ll shut up now.’

With the voice now quiet, I lifted Ashton up and started to carry him to the guest room. I could feel his heart beating, but it felt off. So did his breathing.

Gently placing him on the bed, I knew what was wrong.

Carefully, I took his shirt off to see bandages binding his chest instead of a binder.

Bloody hell. I told him a thousand times not to bind with bandages. I got him binders for a reason.

‘Maybe he’s more comfortable with them?’

Comfortable my ass. He’s going to hurt himself. And didn’t you say that you were going to shut your trap?

Reaching over, I grabbed a discarded sweater and started to undo the bandages. Making sure not to make them tighter or not to leave any marks. He was always insecure of himself, so I already had a plan to lie to him saying that one of the girls did that.

Once they were off, I sat him up and stared at the burn scar on his right shoulder.

He never did tell me how he got it.

After a bit, I placed the sweater on. Laying him back down, I covered him with a blanket and walked out.

‘Nothing? Not even a good night kiss? Rude.’

“I don’t want him uncomfortable. And I don’t want him to hate me.”

‘But, isn’t he adorable.’

“I’ll admit that, but he’s two or three years younger than me.”

‘Four. But, that’s just a number.’

“Thanks for that surprisingly gross point and you are one-“

‘I’m your other half, you bloody idiot. I’m more violent, more dangerous, more deadly, and more-‘

“Perverted?”

‘I was going to say sexy, but whatever floats your boat ya wanker.’

Sighing, I made my way towards my room and walking out onto the porch. Reaching into my back pocket and taking a cigarette. Yet instead of lighting it, I just chewed on the end a bit while my mind goes blank for a bit.

‘Hm? De-stressing are we?’

Yeah. So what? Can you let me do so, please?

‘I suppose so. Your mind isn’t in a weak state, so I can’t take over.’

Like I’ll let you.

‘Sure… I’ll be ‘sleeping’.’

Like the inner-beast ever sleeps. Bloody hell, it says that it’s going to shut up, then it doesn’t. I’d wish for myself to be a risk four or lower, but nope. Stuck being a risk zero… a dragonfly potential.

As I was lost in thought, arms wrapped around my waist and I could feel the weight of someone leaning on my back.

“Weren’t you just asleep?” I asked, not bothering to turn around since I already knew it was Ashton.

“You should be asleep.”

“I’m fine.”

“You only got an hour last night.”

“You try stopping some gangs from fighting each other.”

“And you promised that you wouldn’t smoke.”

“Chewing on it isn’t smoking, birdie.”

Silence.

“Ash?” Turning around I could see the faint flushing of his cheeks as he watched me with soft eyes, “You okay?”

“Yeah, I’m f-” A cough, “- fine.”

“Why didn’t you wear your binder today?”

“I… I guess that it’s o-out of habit.”

“Well break it. It’s not healthy.”

“I’ll t-try,” Ashton nodded, “but ca-can you at least get some sleep?”

“Sure thing birdie.” I watched as blood flushed Ashton’s cheek, turning pink before he took off.

‘Why do you call him birdie? And what happened to shagging ’em back then?’

Glancing around, it looked like that Ashton wasn’t here. And I couldn’t sense him either.

“That was only a thing to keep Désiré from touching ’em.”

‘Okay then. You are oblivious to his actions.’

“No, I’m not.”

‘Whatever you say, mate.’

Rolling my eyes, I went to walk back in and to my room.

Dropping the chewed up cigarette in a smoke tray, I went over to my landline.

I tried to think of who would be awake. And I dialed the number.

“Dude… It’s late. What in the world do you want?” Nathaniel hissed through the phone, yawning a few seconds after.

“Just wanted to talk mate.”

“Jeez, you lonely or somethin’? Like can’t you talk to Py or Rav? Log into your porn account and watch something.”

“They’re asleep. And really dude?”

“Like every other damn human being in the world. Can this wait just like how I wait for a good time to jerk it?”

“Fine. I’ll give you a ring tomorrow if I don’t see you at the place. Also, please shut up.”

“Sure… Night.” Dial tone echoed in my ear as I placed the landline down.

Slumping down onto my bed, I felt a weight land on my stomach. The said weight was Mr. Snowman.

He circled on my stomach, kneaded his paws, then curled up once he was done. His head was looking right at me as he purred like an engine.

Placing my hand on him, I sighed.

“You know just what to do, bud.”

A meow.

“Yeah. I should sleep, but I have to see my dad soon… I can’t think.”

A hiss.

“Heh.” I huffed in amusement, “You’re right.”

‘You’re talking to a moggy.’

“He’s smarter than you.”

‘So eating out of the trash is considered smart?’

“Being able to keep you from taking over my mind is,” I explained, scratching behind Mr. Snowman’s ears.

‘I do… not stand corrected. He still eats out of the trash.’

“A guy needs to eat.”

‘Alright… Well, we should be getting a move on. Take a kip or something.’

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