A/N: To any new readers, welcome on the ride! I'm writing a series of Resident Evil fics, so if you want to know anymore about the characters/places I mention, just check out my other R/E fics or email me. (^_^)
Okay, with this piece I hope to explore via 1st person POV some of the things that happened between "A New Tide" and "Crimson Africa" This fic deals mainly with the Ashfords but other familiar characters do make appearances.
Disclaimer:I cannot stress enough how much I do NOT own the R/E franchise. :( Wish I did…
Today was a school day. You know the drill: get up before the chickens, shower to both get clean and avoid falling asleep where you stand, dress, and grab a quick piece of toast on the way out the door. Then you stand around freezing your butt off with the usual gang of geeks while you wait for the bus to slooowly roll by. Once aboard, it's nothing but bumps and jerky stops and starts that cause you to mess up on your homework due first period so it looks like a kindergartener wrote it. This is followed by the first forbidding sight of the school building, and oh, say, three minutes to get your stuff together before first period.
For me, first period was biology class. Not my favorite class. Not by a long shot.
Of all the teachers in the vastness of the infinite universe, the fates saw fit to stick me with Mr. Houlwer, the most boring, unimaginative teacher in history.
Does he try to be funny? No.
Does he try to spice the lessons up to the point where you can actually stay awake listening to them? Nope.
Does he ever do fun projects or engage the class in a debate? No again.
Does he even understand the concept of the word fun? Definitely not.
So is it my fault if I happen to fall asleep during one of his long, robotic lectures?
I'd like to think not.
" Miss Ashford! " Mr. Houlwer's less-than-patient voice bellowed like a foghorn, snapping me fully awake in less than two seconds flat.
" Huh? Wha…? " I jerked my head off my desk aware of half the class snickering in the background.
" This is a classroom, not a bedroom. Stay awake long enough and you might actually learn something." His beady eyes bore down on me, waiting for the right reply.
I yawned. " Sorry."
Satisfied, Mr. Houlwer turned back to the blackboard and gestured to some strange alien-looking diagrams and symbols--continuing his lecture as if it were never interrupted. You want to picture Mr. Houlwer, think of a short, gray-haired old man with a chiseled face fixed into a permanent frown. The Lecture King. He talks with all the feel and emotion of the Clear Eyes commercial guy on TV, the one who says 'For dry, red eyes, Clear Eyes is awesome. Wow.'
Isn't that exciting? Isn't that the kind of voice that really captures and holds your attention?
Oh, hi, by the way. My name is Alexis Ashford. I'm your typical down-to-earth fifteen year old with a not-so-typical past.
My parents are evil. Not evil as in they make me clean the house from top to bottom every night with a toothbrush, or go to bed too early, or even prevent me from hanging out with my friends at the mall on Saturdays. I mean evil as in killing-people evil. My mother more-or-less killed my grandfather. My father owned a prison island where he kept torture chambers and performed cruel and painful experiments on the less fortunate.
Sound too crazy to be true? Believe me, it is.
I wasn't raised by my parents. I'm not living with them now. Lucky me.
At the end of the period, Mr. Houlwer called me aside. I had a feeling this was going to be another one of those I-know-you-can-be-better-than-this speeches, and I wasn't disappointed.
" Alexis, have you been keeping a healthy sleep schedule? " He folded his hands on his desk and stared at me with a concerned frown. With Mr. Houlwer, every emotion is expressed by a frown.
I resisted the urge to frown back. " Of course not." It was a lie--horrible nightmares about my family had been cropping up lately and completely destroying any semblance I had of a healthy sleep schedule. Not that I could tell my teacher that. He would never understand.
" Problems at home, perhaps? " He was just trying to be helpful. It would be more helpful if he were less helpful.
I bit my tongue and resisted the urge to tell him that if I wanted to talk about my problems I would visit the counselor's office.
" No. Everything's fine." I am a pretty good liar when it suits me. Perhaps because my whole life has been built on lies.
I checked the clock, praying Mr. Houlwer would just end the talk here and let me go to second period. I was probably going to be late as it was--my locker is placed in the most inconvenient position in the building in relation to my classes. It's upstairs and the majority of my classes are downstairs. I guess they figured I'd enjoy the workout running up and down steps, arms loaded with heavy books, in a wild rush to beat the clock.
" No, everything's not fine." Mr. Houlwer droned, dashing my hopes of making it to class on time, " You're getting behind in your grades. Turning in half-completed assignments, flunking quizzes, zoning out in class…"
" Guilty as charged! " I put on a phony smile, " I know I've got to work on that. In fact, I can have chapter four Study Guide in by…"
" I know you can do better than this." He shook his head, not buying. Darn. I hate it when teachers can see right through you like that.
" I expect more from Alexia's niece. You're better than this. You can get A's. It's in your blood. All you have to do is…"
Mr. Houlwer continued into a long lecture about healthy habits, goal-setting, and self-motivation, and I'd add a word here or a nod there; you know--just so he'd think I was listening.
The truth was, he would never understand the true reason I was failing biology. It wasn't something a hang-in-there speech or even a counselor could fix.
Mr. Houlwer was a big fan of Alexia Ashford; the child prodigy and master researcher of Umbrella Inc. in the field of bio-genetics who supposedly vanished--or died, depending on who's account you're hearing--when she was fifteen. Therefore, since I'm a blood relative, he automatically assumes I should be just as smart in biology as her, and holds me to a higher standard than everyone else because of it.
Unfortunately, Mr. Houlwer is one of the few people in this city who can rightfully claim to know much of anything at all about my family.
But there are things even the biology professor doesn't know: starting with the fact that Alexia isn't my aunt. Well, okay, she is but she isn't. She's my mother.
Confused? It gets weirder.
Ok, hold on and prepare for the twisted and insane truth--my parents are twin brother and sister.
I'm not proud of this. I'd be nuts to be proud of this. How, you may ask, is something like this possible?
To answer that, we need to go back in time a few decades to the heyday of my one and only grandfather, Alexander Ashford.
Now, I wasn't around back then obviously, so most of what I know comes from what Dad and the Redfields told me based on the information they gathered.
Alexander along with his buddy Spencer owned a pharmaceutical company by the name of Umbrella Inc. They studied viruses for use in bio-organic warfare. For some strange reason I shall never truly understand, Granddad was obsessed with our ancestor Mistress Veronica. I guess she was very smart. This gave Gramps an idea, something along the lines of 'Hey! I've always wanted children, why don't I use my science expertise to isolate the intelligence gene, then 'make' my own perfect child?'
And that's just what he did.
I suppose he thought he'd get some supergenius dreamchild who would help him in his studies since he had been messing up in his work lately. Instead he got twins: my parents, Alfred and Alexia Ashford.
Grandma…who was Grandma? I may never know. None of my family ever made mention of her, and for that I can only assume she died when my parents were very young.
Mom was indeed a genius. She graduated college at ten years of age, and, as Mr. Houlwer pointed out, became a top researcher for our company.
Dad had only above average intelligence and an unhealthy infatuation for my mother.
My whole family was extremely rich--nine out of every ten homes own Umbrella products--but it's true what they say about money not being able to buy love. My parents grew up despising their father. They viewed him as a failure unworthy to the Ashford name. They were especially upset when they learned the truth behind their birth. Not that I blame them--I'd be upset too learning that I was created as little more than an experiment.
However, I do believe they went overboard on how they handled the situation.
Around that time, my parents…Mom in particular, were obsessed with ants. She thought theirs was the perfect society--a single queen ruling over all other meaningless nothings.
I know something about ants myself: a worker ant's soul purpose is to serve it's queen. It is all they exist for. They have no dreams, goals, ambitions…no desire to be different, no desire to be individual creatures, no desire to be anything more than a tool. No fights, no arguments, no stealing or criticizing others. All they care about is the well-being of the queen.
Well, Mom thought this perfect utopian society would make humans a better race, and what better candidate for Queen Ant than herself? After all, she was the smart one. She knew better than nature or some all-powerful being how to solve the problems of mankind. It was her place…no, her destiny to become Queen and rule over all humans. Everyone would exist to serve her just as the ants in the anthill.
Mom had a slight superiority complex, in case you haven't already figured it out. And it's because of her that I dislike ants and everything associated with them.
You see, the fatal flaw with the ant society is that it leaves no room for free will or individuality. Being an ant wouldn't be too different from being a mindless machine, unable to think for yourself.
No thank you. I'd rather not be some mindless drone going around saying 'What is thy bidding, Master?' Or 'Can I bring you an extra pillow, my queen?' That would be a dreary, hopeless existence indeed. Nothing to look forward to. No future.
Mom couldn't see this. Or maybe she did. To this day, I don't know if her plan was brought about only to benefit her for her own selfish needs, or if she truly thought she could do some good for humankind by offering them a utopian society free of war, disease, hunger, and suffering. Evidence strongly points to the former, but I haven't given up hope that maybe she had good intentions.
Whatever the case, she found an ancient virus within the cell of a queen ant and experimented with it on Grandfather--mutating him into a nasty, hideous beast--a mere shell of his former self.
I don't know exactly when this happened, but I'm guessing around the same time I was born. Mom apparently deduced--correctly--that sleeping for fifteen years in a solution-filled tube would stabilize her virus and give it time to adjust to her cells, ergo not mutating onto a brainless monster like Grandfather.
In the meantime, my father went totally crackers without her and started cross-dressing and pretending he was her.
And here they were worried about Grandfather giving us Ashfords a bad name!
In my opinion they didn't need any help from him dragging our name through the mud. The fact that my father is a transvestite who can perfectly imitate my mother's voice is downright embarrassing! In fact, if I had to reveal one embarrassing truth about our family and was given a choice between that or admitting to being inbred, I think I'd chose the inbred.
Where was I? Oh yeah, Dad went nuts. He tortured and killed the prisoners of Rockfort for no obvious reason.
Months ago, the Redfield sibs Chris and Claire ended up at their facilities just as Mom conveniently woke from her snooze ready to rule the world.
Still with me? Good. Because I might lose you with this next part.
Mom and Dad were stopped. Stopped as in killed. Dad died of a gunshot wound he received while trying to kill Claire, and Mom mutated into a horrible ant-dragonfly monster Chris had to kill with a linear launcher. Then the whole Antarctic base blew up.
Don't ask me how they managed to come back to life given those circumstances. It is a mystery that would baffle Einstein himself.
Anyway, thinking about it now, I don't really suppose how they came back is all that important. The important thing is they did.
I had a brief encounter with them at an HCF base only weeks ago. They were out for revenge, and they wanted me to join them. Only, in the final seconds when it really counted and the bomb was about to explode, they abandoned me. It worked out pretty well though--now I live with the Redfields in good 'ol Bayview Oregon, and I haven't seen or heard from them since. It's just as well, I don't think I could live with them being evil and all.
So where do I fit into all of this? I'm not sure. I'm not sure why I exist. I have an older brother named Ash, and I'm not sure why he exists either.
Our parents were only fourteen when he was born, and fifteen when I was. It'd be like me having kids. What's more, they shifted us immediately onto established caretakers--Ash got a different set than me--and seemed content to pretty much stay out of our lives save the once-in-a-blue-moon visits from Dad. There were two, I think. Visits. Can't you just feel the love?
Which begs the question, what did they want with us? Did they ever really love us?
Mom probably didn't. She went off to hibernate in her tube not giving a rat's butt what became of her own children.
I think that Dad did though: he went to great lengths to ensure we were well provided for and fought to keep mine and Ash's last names even to the extent of publicly admitting he was our father.
It goes without saying that Ash and I weren't born in a hospital. I think we were born in Mom's room…but that's just a guess. Could've been on an alter at a church for all I know.
Think of it--the blessed babies! Children of the ant goddess to be worshipped forever! Not bloody likely.
My ' birth certificate ' correctly states Alfred as my biological father, but lists my mother as ' Linda? ' I have no idea what line of bull my dad fed investigators to get that work of fiction accepted as legal. Even if she had died, how could he not remember her last name?
Not that I blame him for lying about it. Twin incest is rare, and for good reason.
I could never in a hundred bajillion years even imagine imagining my brother Ash that way, and we're not even twins!
Beyond gross, it's downright sick.
So only a handful of people know the truth, Chris and Claire being among them. Though frankly, I'm surprised more people haven't put it together by now…I resemble my parents enough to be their triplet sister. Like my mother, I also posses the icy blue eyes and long blonde hair. I even inherited a fine widow's peak hairline from my father.
Not to say Mom's my mirror image--she's not. There are a few notable differences in our jawlines and the slant of our faces. I have a more youthful, innocent look about me: at least that's what Claire and Steve say.
If there's anything at all I can thank my parents for, it's my looks. I've never been ashamed of that. Just the whole killing people and trying to take over the world bit.
Perhaps the weirdest thing of all is--despite the fact that they are evil socio-paths, and despite the fact that I have spent very little actual time around them, I still love my parents. I hope that one day maybe I can help them. I don't know if it will work: making people see the error of their ways may sound easy on paper, but in reality it is a hard, slow healing process that requires a lot of time, work, and patience for everyone involved.
There is also the scary fact that not everyone can be changed. Not everyone wants to change. It is a grim truth, but one I have to accept. Mom and Dad may be perfectly happy living the way they are.
I don't really believe that. And that's one of the reasons I will never give up on them or my misguided brother. Someday I'm going to try to help them whether they like it or not.
I'm not ready to confront them right now. Maybe a few years down the road I will be.
So…yeah. That's my family situation. Look up Dysfunctional and you'll find our picture.
It was ten minutes past the next bell before Mr. Houwler finally allowed me to to go to my next class with one of those signed permission slips.
Mrs. Sauder, my history teacher, was a little upset when I showed up late. She just kinda frowned and gestured to the only vacant seat in the classroom. Which just happened to be behind Jim, a.k.a. the biggest jerk in the whole school.
Oh brother. Quietly as I could, I made my way over and plunked down in the empty seat, hoping I wouldn't catch his attention.
Unfortunately, I did.
He turned and flashed me a smile.
Not wanting trouble, I just kinda smiled back. What else could I do?
Jim is well-feared by the guys in our school, and with good reason. He tips the scale at over two hundred pounds, but only about two percent of that is fat. He is very muscular and bench-presses weights heavier than me every day. The result of this, of course, is that he is very strong. He plays a lot of different sports, including football, and a lot of the girls like him. He's decent-looking. Not handsome, but decent.
However, the fact that he likes to pick on people he deems geeks, nerds, or losers--which, by the way, is just about everyone--kinda takes the shine off of his potential to be a really great guy. He really believes he is the all-time greatest person to walk the halls of Bayview Highschool.
For a blessed moment, the teacher looked our way and he turned back around. I settled down and opened my book to the said page number, trying to concentrate on the lesson.
But Jim wasn't through with me. The second the teacher dimmed the lights and started the video on ancient Egyptian life, he turned back and leaned over his seat until his face was only inches from mine.
" Hey there."
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