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. I don’t think those overpowered fools exist…’

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.

We waited for what seemed like hours, but it was only five minutes. I felt like the universe was screwing with me entirely.

But maybe this will answer some questions…

Another minute passed and I was pulled up and a blow to my stomach caused me to fall down gasping, clutching my stomach in agony as I fought to hold down the bile rising up my throat.

“This was an entire fucking bust.” He hissed, dragging me up once more, “I guess we can always try again…”

I watched as he shoved the device in the pocket of his jacket.

But…

‘Prototype?’

What about-

‘Maybe it’s just mental medication… I don’t know, don’t ask me.’

Yet-

‘Did you not hear Chandler?’

I just- Just thought maybe it’ll work. Answer some questions…

‘Whatever… 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 device.” 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!”

“Too bad… I think after this, I’ll chat up my aunt to have you removed from Winchester High… I doubt your uncle is going to care too much. Maybe you’ll stay at my place, I do live alone…”

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

‘Are you really that stupid?’

What?

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

I don’t even know what to do!

‘You’ll think of something…’

We were just about to reach the hallway when I tried to focus. I honestly had no clue on how to fight. P.E wasn’t really my best class.

‘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- What?!

‘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 your ass!’

I can’t.

‘Seriously?!’

Before I knew it, I was going through alleyways, with Chandler hot on my heels. I didn’t make it very far as Chandler grabbed the back of my shirt and pulled me back.

“Don’t act like this, Joshie-Boy… I just want to be friends.” He said as he slid his arms around me, holding me to his side.

I couldn’t respond as I was not only scared but also the fact that his phone went off preventing me from begging.

He grumbled as he went to answer, “Fuck you guys want?”

I could hear the other person on the phone just barely.

“Really? We’ll be on our way.”

Confused mumbling from the other end.

“I got a friend with me.” And with that, I heard him hang up and myself being dragged out of the alleyway and down the street.

“Wh-Where are we g-going?” I hesitantly asked.

“Back to Cruoso… We’re having a little hang-out session.”

ILLUSIONER FILE: ANGEL’S SHADOW

“One if you want to be up there with me. Two if you want to stay here.”

Three-fingered reply.

Frowning, I only shook my head, “Sorry baby, but you know the legal rules. We’re going out on this last legal visit day of the month with a bang. We’ll be able to visit legally next month.”

Colver’s lip started to tremble, but he perked up when I started to tickle him.

“I can tell you a quick story though before I go to change.”

He instantly nodded.

“Okay, so this starts out with a baker’s daughter. She’s very sweet and everyone just loves her. So much that they were disappointed when someone stole her heart and mind. The knight was an absolute angel to her, he was her everything. Yet, that was just a mask to get close to her. She realized far too late and her world was torn in two, with him controlling the two sides.”

Colver leaned over to hug me, knowing that I only ever tell this story when I’m nervous.

“The girl was terrified to speak out, in fear of getting hurt even more. It was only one of her closest friends who cut the ties between her and the knight, but only after the knight managed to break the girl in the worst of ways… Not so long after, she managed to continue on, despite her wishing for death. Her closest friends and family were always there for her, even if it never seemed like it…”

I planted a kiss on Colver’s forehead, “I’m going to go change.”

Colver nodded and kissed my cheek before I went ahead to leave the room.

‘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 an empty room where I placed all the outfits in.

‘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 into the room.

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

With a smile, I opened the case the other side of the room and pulled out some clothes.

‘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 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.”

It was beginning to get difficult to breathe, I had to sit down.

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

“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 one simple word is-‘

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

“Watch it,” Devyn mumbled as he got up, dusting himself off. The bullet caused a tear in 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 having you work on the guard list? And where’s Corbin and Mr. Snowman?”

“Corbin is trying to perfect his melee attacks since his abilities are still a bit haywire. Mr. Snowman is taking a kip in a bathroom sink and Ashton is doing the list cause I fucked it up somehow. I just came in to see how you were doing.” He said, a hand reaching out to rub my shoulder.

Sighing, I only leaned into his touch. I cocked an eyebrow as Devyn chuckled and pulled me closer. Rolling my eyes, I kicked his foot playfully.

“Rude, much?”

“Get out so I can change.”

“Alright…” He said as he got up and made his way towards the 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. See you out there, Devyn.”

“See you out there.” And with that, he left.

ILLUSIONER FILE: DEVIL’S LIGHT

It didn’t take me long to get ready for the riot.

We’ve been planning this riot for days in Cruoso’s capital center. It’s been difficult to get everyone set up and with half of us being unavailable for it, it was pretty fucking hard.

I had Mr. Snowman in a crate that I hid away in this building. He didn’t seem very happy but was pleased when I snuck him a treat.

Smiling, I decided that it might be best to check on Ashton. I left the room and made my way towards where Ashton was changing.

Reaching out to knock, I was somewhat surprised to find the door open to reveal, basically a shirtless Ashton.

“Uh…”

Instantly the door slammed right in my face.

I chuckled and knocked on the door while trying the handle, “Need some help, Ashton?”

“N-No!”

“Not even a little bit?” I teased.

“I’m fi-fine!”

“Well remember not to use bandages!” I said, “See you out there!”

Shaking my head, I decided to wait out in the alleyway. Corbin ended up joining me while I was reaching into my pocket to get a cigarette.

“Didn’t you promise Ashton that you wouldn’t smoke for the week?” He asked once I brought the cigarette to my lips.

“Nothin’ bout chewing it.” I said, nibbling on the cigarette, “Don’t tell him though. I’ll get an ear-bashing. Anyways, are you excited?”

Corbin paused to think, but turned to give me a huge smile, “Yes, absolutely!”

“Good, that kind of energy is what we all need.”

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